President Trump threatened North Korea with fire and fury such as the world has never seen. This was a response to what Trump, and many Americans, construe as North Korean threats. However, this is completely upside down. It is not North Korea that is threatening the US, but the US that is threatening North Korea. The statements that Trump and others are construing as threats are defensive responses to US threats.
Trump's threat of fire and fury such as the world has never seen should be a cause for concern. Such threats can only have the effect of reinforcing North Korea's fear of a US invasion. North Korea is surrounded by US military might. And the US has a history of attacking foreign countries, seeing itself as being above international law (or even its own domestic laws).
From the perspective of North Korea, an unstable, impulsive sociopath has control of a massive nuclear arsenal, which could destroy it. As the rhetoric mounts, and as Trump vows death and destruction on an unprecedented scale for the "crime" of forcefully stating a commitment to use all means of self defence, so inevitably the calculation in North Korea will be that its only hope of survival is a first strike. This would be an act of desperation.
The US seems to be incapable of seeing the conflict from North Korea's point of view. From Washington, the build up of a massive US military force on North Korea's borders is not an act of aggression, so it is unreasonable to characterise it as such. From the point of view of the US, North Korea's fear is simply not recognised. Rather the fear is interpreted as aggression. The North Koreans are the aggressors because they have their country next to America's military. This is insanity.
Unfortunately, one cannot reason with delusional. Simply pointing out that US arms are massed on North Korea's border has no effect. Pointing out that the US conducts military exercises to practise the invasion of North Korea makes no dent in the delusion. Pointing that regime change in North Korea is the long standing US policy has no effect. There are no facts that can alter delusional thinking: for they can all be spun as defensive measures against the aggressor. In this way of thinking, there is only one outcome: the constant ratcheting up of tension and hostility and mistrust until one side makes the first move that results inevitably in all out war and fire and fury. That is how the First World War, which no one wanted, started.
Such a war in North Korea would result in millions of deaths. The majority of the dead would be Koreans, something that the American political-media elite would doubtless find easy to justify. However, the death toll would also inevitably include tens of thousands of American citizens. The Americans living in South Korea would be in the front line. They would be vulnerable to the might of North Korea's conventional weapons. Thus even if the US could target North Korea's missiles, taking them out before they could be launched, it would not save the tens of thousands of Americans in Seoul. Indeed, as I write, South Korea is stepping up its preparations for a North Korean invasion. But such defences could not prevent the destruction of the city. The fire and the fury would devastate both the north and the south of the peninsula.
Every sane and sensible person (and even some out and out loons) recognises that there are no good military options. Yet the president of the US, who has at his command more than a thousand nuclear weapons, each of which make the bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like toys, asserts that any words from North Korea that he sees as threatening will be met by fire and fury such as the world as never seen. And we have already seen terrible fire and fury.