A recent poll shows that there is a vast difference between how Americans would deal with the authoritarian regimes in North Korea and Syria. The poll indicates that a majority of American voters are in agreement that something must be done about the Kim Jong-Un regime in North Korea, and that something includes all possible options being available under an umbrella that covers preemptive military strikes and/or nuclear strikes. However, the same poll finds that the same respondents were far less likely to support actual military intervention to depose the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.
A recent Zogby Analytics poll has revealed that while nearly 52 percent of “likely voters” backed a strong military response (where “all options are on the table”) to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and their increasingly aggressive ballistic missile testing (often accompanied by inflammatory rhetoric with regard to the United States and various allies; at times littered with threats of using said nuclear weapons), they are far more reluctant to agree that the U.S. should send military troops into war-torn Syria to “topple the Assad regime.” Only 21.1 percent of the respondents “strongly” agreed or “somewhat” agreed that the U.S. should put boots on the ground in Syria.
Voters clearly see North Korea as a nuclear threat and are willing to contemplate some type of military preemption to gain some control over the nuclear threat that the Asian country presents. Only 36 percent of the poll’s respondents disagreed. Nearly 12 percent said they were “not sure” what should be done.
There is a clear partisan divide on the North Korea issue. Whereas 48 percent of Democratic voters disagreed that doing something with regard to North Korea should also include military preemptive strikes, Republican voters overwhelmingly agreed (68 percent) that such measures should be employed.
The Trump administration has taken a hard line with North Korea since January and warned the country in March that it was taking a “new approach,” as reported by Reuters at the time, with the rogue nation; an approach it considered as a departure from what the administration called two decades of a “failed approach.” The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea’s official name) has responded with threats (diplomatic, political speeches, and belligerent ballistic missile tests) not only against the U.S. but also its neighbors, South Korea and Japan, allies of the U.S. in the region. Although the last two missile tests by North Korea have been spectacular failures, the tests have been accompanied with political posturing, and threats of nuclear retaliation against its enemies should relations devolve into war.