Rep. Kinzinger: N. Korean threat is real but 'the hysteria is entirely unnecessary'

Following North Korea's threats to launch missiles at the U.S territory of Guam -- a move that President Trump warned would be met with "fire and fury" -- there has been an elevated sense of concern that's bordering on hysteria.

But Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is urging Americans to bring it down a notch.

"The threat from North Korea is very real, but the hysteria is entirely unnecessary and a disservice to our national defense," Kinzinger, who served in the Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote Friday in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner.

"To underestimate our enemies is foolish, but to underestimate our own military strength and capability is detrimental and will cause long-term damage," he adds.

Kinzinger, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, draws parallels to the "hysteria" now and during the Cold War -- but points out some stark differences.

"During the height of the Cold War, we saw the hysteria that came with the threat of annihilation from the Soviet Union," he writes. "Rather than cower in the corner, we saw the best of American leadership under Presidents Truman, Kennedy, and Reagan, who stared down the Soviet threat. Through diplomacy and strong leadership, our successful efforts led to a new birth of freedom and opportunity across Europe, in countries that so longed for it."

According to Kinzinger, the instability and chaos of the global world order during the Cold War "pushed our leaders to stand up with the full arsenal of our military, the likes of which the world had never seen before. When diplomacy failed, our strength and resolve spoke volumes."

While Kinzinger says that the U.S. remains a global force, he says Trump's predecessor is responsible for some of the current woes.

"Our actions during the course of the past eight years has allowed our enemies to take advantage of the power vacuum we have created," he writes. "That is what we see today with Russia running rampant over the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and the Kim regime advancing the lethality of its nuclear program."

Taking at former President Barack Obama, Kinzinger writes, "Sadly, the failed Obama policies of 'leading from behind' and 'strategic patience' have led us to this frightening prospect of nuclear war. Our inability to remind our adversaries of the military capabilities we have has led to a weakened position for us internationally. I am confident this has started to change recently, but the reality is, and always will be, that the U.S. must be ready and able to thwart attacks and defend ourselves when diplomacy fails."
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