It’s tempting to view everything in our time as meaningful and unprecedented. That leaves us prone to hyperbole about everything from sports achievements to rainy summers. But as scary and alarming as North Korea’s nuclear threat is, it’s not the greatest crisis in human history.
It’s deeply concerning that the two principles in this storyline are volatile and unpredictable. It’s frightening that a rogue nation like North Korea can develop a nuclear program and there’s not much we can do about it. The consequences are significant and far-reaching and the more nuclear weapons there are in the world, the more dangerous it is.
But this is not the Cuban Missile Crisis. Nor is it the moment in 1983, when a faulty missile detection system almost led a Soviet military official to retaliate against a non-existent American attack. North Korea is for now a threat that can be contained with the right tactics. The hands of the doomsday clock are still a few minutes from midnight. At least, for now.