Will ‘Mother of All Bombs’ scare North Korea?


(FILE) A handout photo made available by the US Department of Defense (DoD) shows a GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb being prepared for testing at the Eglin Air Force Armament Center, Florida, USA, on 11 March 2003. Photo: Department of Defense/EPA

The US on Thursday dropped the "Mother of All Bombs" - the most powerful nonnuclear bomb used by the US so far - on an Islamic State cave complex in Afghanistan. 

Trump said Thursday that the mission was "very successful" and that he does not know whether the bomb will send a message to North Korea.

In less than three months since Trump's inauguration, the US military has launched at least two strikes that grabbed the world's attention, the first being the airstrike on a Syrian airfield, and the second being the use of "Mother of All Bombs" in Afghanistan. Trump uses military force more aggressively than Barack Obama. He has demonstrated a certain level of obsession and pride toward US military prowess. 

Even for George W. Bush, who fought two wars during his presidency, every attack had to go through lengthy procedures, and starts of war had been widely expected. However, the two recent attacks came rather abruptly. With this frequency and speed in use of force, Trump may go down in history as the "war president."

"Mother of All Bombs" is a vicious weapon that consumes a large amount of oxygen during explosion. Because of its devastative capability, the actual probability of hurting the civilians is very high. The US in the past has killed and injured civilians in its attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. The use of "Mother of All Bombs" showed Washington is turning a blind eye on civilian casualties. 

This bombing is clearly aimed at testing the weapon in real combat and provides a new gimmick in US military deterrence. North Korea must have felt the shock wave traveling all the way from Afghanistan. It would be nice if the bomb could frighten Pyongyang but its actual impact may just be the opposite. 

Pyongyang's logic in the recent years has been that, without nuclear weapons, what happened to Saddam and Gaddafi would befall its own administration. The "Mother of All Bombs" may once again misguide Pyongyang, leading it to believe that it is crucial to upgrade its explosives. 

It's been widely speculated that North Korea is preparing for its sixth nuclear test and its leader Kim Jong-un is weighing his options. The message sent by the US military is not conducive to helping Pyongyang make a reasonable decision.  

It has been reported that Russia owns a similar device called the "father of all bombs." Imagine how the US and the West would react if Russia drops that bomb on the Islamic State during its Syrian airstrikes. 

The US seems to enjoy a privilege to do whatever it likes. To the world, this could bring more danger than security.

Courtesy of Global Times. The editorial reflects the views of the editors of the China-based Global Times.

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