Every week tensions seem to escalate between the United States and North Korea. As dictator Kim Jong Un ratchets up his quest for nuclear weapons and President Donald Trump threatens war via Twitter, Americans are left with an existential doubt of thermonuclear annihilation. Weren’t we supposed to have put all this radiating-the-Earth business behind us with the collapse of the Berlin Wall?
It can be an overwhelming thing to contemplate the utter destruction of humanity - and when the stakes are this high it’s hard to contextualize what anyone can do on a person level.
Fear not, we have you covered with this list of actionable items.
1. TRY TO EMPHASIZE THE HUMAN COST
What often gets lost in the debate with the obliterate-first-ask-questions-later camp is just how many people will die in an armed conflict with the North Koreans. Even if you operate under the assumption that the Kim Jong Un regime doesn’t have a nuclear tipped warhead capable of reaching the continental United States, there are still millions of lives in the crosshairs.
The South Korean capital of Seoul is 35 miles from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the North Korean’s have artillery stationed up and down the DMZ that can reach said capital. Estimates for the number of South Korean’s that will die during the initial assault range anywhere from 30,000 to 300,000.
North Korea’s missiles can also reach Japan (with a population of 126 million), the U.S. territories of Guam (160 thousand), and if some reports are to be believed, large swaths of the continental United States (320 million). And let’s not forget that there are 25 million people in North Korea as well.
Those that are advocating for a preemptive strike of the Korean peninsula - the most clinical way to describe bombing an entire region back to the Stone Age - often lose sight of the number of lives at stake. Whether raging about this on Twitter or arguing IRL, try to focus on just how many people will be lost.
2. CALL YOUR LEADERS
Did we mention thermonuclear annihilation?
The stakes for this are really high. The good news is that political resistance is high as well. Many Americans are not too keen on the idea that we could be starting yet another prolonged military engagement. I urge you to join many of your fellow Americans in calling your leaders and demanding that they speak out against the possibility of a preemptive strike.
The switchboard for the U.S. Capital is (202) 224-3121.
If you don’t know what to say, try using the call script below:
Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [INSERT STATE].
I’m calling to let [INSERT FIRST NAME OF REPRESENTATIVE] that I do not support a preemptive strike against North Korea. Any military engagement in the Korean peninsula could cost millions of lives, and potentially destabilize the entire region.
Thank you so much for your time.
3. DONATE TO ORGANIZATIONS FIGHTING N. KOREA
The situation in North Korea has been devolving for decades. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of existing nonprofits that have been founded with the sole purpose of bringing down Kim Jong Un’s regime, and they need your help. Consider donating to any of the wonderful entities listed below:
Liberty in North Korea: is an organization devoted to resettling North Korean refugees so they are not forcefully repatriated. The safeguarding of refugees is extremely important because they provide counterexamples to state-run propaganda, as well as give the rest of the world a sense of what’s happening there.
Flash Drives For Freedom: is a nonprofit that attempts to smuggle in censored information into the DPRK. The theory is that exposing North Korean citizens to non-state created media will force the receivers of the information to question their government. Flash Drive for Freedom accepts money or used flash drives.
The Committee for Human Rights In North Korea: is an organization that attempts to lobby the US government to consider the human cost of the North Korean dilemma.
North Korea Freedom Coalition: is a nonprofit that focuses on a myriad of functions from lobbying to providing school supplies for resettled refugees to sending information to people in the DPRK.