President Trump warned Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly in New York that America would “totally destroy” North Korea should it ever attack the U.S. or its allies.
Unsurprisingly, his remarks left many in media and political circles feeling queasy.
After all, they suggested, it’s unprecedented that a U.S. president would speak publicly like this about another country. It’s also unconscionable that a world leader would say something like this about a U.N. member.
On both accounts, this is not quite true.
Though Trump’s comments are indeed remarkable considering the context and setting in which they were delivered, he’s hardly the first president to remind everyone of America’s ability to wipe the Hermit Kingdom off the map.
In 2016, for example, President Barack Obama remarked casually that the U.S. could, in fact, turn North Korea into a memory.
“We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals,” he said in an interview with CBS News.
He added this careful qualifier, “But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, [South] Korea.”
That same year, in his final speech before the U.N. General Assembly, Obama referred to North Korea as a “wasteland,” and said it would have to face “consequences” if it continued to pursue its nuclear program.
Years prior, during a press conference in 1993, President Bill Clinton warned that the U.S. would wage total war against North Korea should it get out of line.
“I know of no one who seriously believes that the United States and [South Korea] would be defeated in a war of aggression by North Korea if they were to attack,” he said. “And I made it as clear as I could that if they were to do that, they would pay a price so great that the nation would probably not survive as it is known today.”
And as far as world leaders hanging the threat of overwhelming force over the heads of certain U.N. members is concerned, Trump is definitely not a first.
Read the rest at: North Korean aggression