We are living in an incredibly dangerous world. In fact, this may be the most dangerous period since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Think about these two real-life situations:
The North Koreans reportedly stole hundreds of gigabytes of important military information in a cyberattack on South Korea last September – including information about potential U.S.-South Korean wartime plans. At the same time, the rogue nation appears to be moving forward with its nuclear weapons program – even celebrating the anniversary of its first nuclear weapon test on Monday.
In the Middle East, Iran has aggressively worked to bolster and spread its influence, all the while reportedly supporting North Korea’s nuclear program as well as radical Islamic terrorist groups across the globe. According to the State Department, Iran remains the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
Now, imagine what a fully nuclear-armed North Korea would mean for the world. The rogue nation already reportedly has intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach its traditional foes in the region, and possibly a U.S. city. This alone puts millions of lives at risk, but even more would be at risk if the North Koreans are able to build a nuclear-armed ICBM and nuclear conflict breaks out.
Setting aside North Korea’s launch capabilities, consider how perilous things could get if Pyongyang started to more actively work with terrorists and the nations that support them. Nuclear weapons, or even nuclear material, in the hands of international terrorists creates an entirely new, very different threat.
That is exactly the possibility I explore in my new book, Vengeance, the third volume in the bestselling Brooke Grant series I write with former Washington Post reporter Pete Earley.
Vengeance was released this week, along with Callista’s new children’s book, Remember the Ladies, in which Ellis the Elephant returns to the White House to teach four-to eight-year-olds about our nation’s first ladies.
In Vengeance, the North Koreans provide nuclear material to radical jihadists in exchange for two supertankers filled with oil. In turn, the terrorists plan to destroy U.S. cities. While the book is a work of fiction, the threat we explore is very real.
The United States and our allies in the region must see to it that North Korea is disarmed not only to protect South Korea, Guam, Japan, and our West Coast, but also to eliminate the rogue nation’s capability to provide devastating weapons to groups that will use them more readily, and with less regard for even their own survival.
Kim Jong Un is a dangerous dictator, but a nuclear weapon in the hands of radical Islamic terrorists, who believe they will be richly rewarded in the afterlife for destroying a Western city, is a very different type of threat and a potential reality that the United States and all of our allies must prepare for and defend against.
I hope the novels I write with Pete Earley remain pure works of fiction. Sadly however, real danger is becoming too easy to imagine.
Newt Gingrich is the author of Understanding Trump and is a former Speaker of the House.