In a nail-biting horror show of North Korean doomsday bluster, Pyongyang’s missile launches met with U.S. resolve. While President Donald Trump promised fire and fury, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that the United States would shoot down North Korean missiles of launched at Guam.
Yet, as the U.S.-South Korean Ulchi-Freedom Guardian joint military exercises got underway Monday, Kim Jong-un’s threats to attack Guam is a clear sign that the storm is not over, and nothing has been resolved.
A key question that remains on the table is—how can the United States shoot Pyongyang’s missiles down? Since China and Russia are quite happy to tie Washington in knots over North Korean threats, and since Trump will be loathe to capitulate to Kim, a diplomatic solution is unlikely any time soon.
Over the months and years to come, the U.S. military will need every arrow in its quiver—including missile shields—to protect Guam, Hawaii, Alaska and eventually the continental United States from the North Korean missile arsenal.
And that arsenal is growing: since 2014, North Korea has tested an ever-increasing number of missiles, with a couple of dozen launches in 2016, and possibly more to come this year. These missiles include the medium range, liquid-fuel Hwansong-12 and Musudan,