November 10, 2017

Poll Finds That Most Students at Golda Och Academy are Not Worried About North Korean Threats

Samantha Rigante ‘21

Despite increasingly frightening rhetoric by President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, most Golda Och Academy students say they are not afraid of a North Korean threat to bomb the U.S. mainland.
The majority of students at GOA disagree with President Trump's handling of the North Korean situation and most are not worried about North Korean threats to bomb the United States, a new poll finds. More than 50 percent of the students – 62 percent – believe that North Korea will not follow through on its threats to send nuclear missiles over to the U.S. mainland if so prompted.
The United States’s relationship with North Korea was never good, and the conflict became worse when President Trump took office. Trump’s language has been harsher than past presidents regarding the conflict and he has issued many more threats to them. On January 2, 18  days before his inauguration, he stated that “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!”
On February 11, North Korea tested their first Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile under the Trump administration. This brought harsh reactions from Trump and his administration, with their threats getting more dangerous as the missile tests increased.
This poll comes in the midst of fiery new tensions between North Korea and the United States. On October 7, President Trump tweeted that “Only one thing will work!” with North Korea and that “Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years.. Sorry, but only one thing will work!”
Two days after that, on October 9, the President again took to Twitter to voice his opinion, claiming that “Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars and getting nothing. Policy didn’t work!”
Out of 16 students interviewed – of which ten identified as Democrat, four Independent and two Republican – the poll found that feelings on the issue were not partisan, with GOA Independents, Democrats and Republicans expressing a lack of fear regarding the threats.
“It’s really not that scary to me,” freshman Aaron Gutterman. “North Korea is far away and Kim-Jong Un is just trying to scare Americans because he doesn’t like them.”
The poll, taken by students ranging from grades nine to 12, also shows a large majority disagree with the President’s handling of the issue. Again, party lines were not evident here, with both Independents, Democrats and Republicans disapproving of the President’s handling of the situation.  

“I think that the President doesn’t have a good understanding of the situation,” freshman Marin Gold said. “I also think he doesn’t really understand the consequences of his actions.”
Ninety one percent of the students believed that a diplomatic solution was the correct response to the North Korean threats. No one prefered a military solution, and only one student had no opinion on the subject. On all issues, every grade felt similarly.
Trump’s feud extends to his cabinet, top military generals and Congress. On September 26, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – a board of senior generals who advise the President, the Military Department and Homeland Security on issues pertaining to the military – told Congress that his views on the North Korean issue are the same as the State Department’s and Congress’ rather than the President’s.

Rex Tillerson, Trump’s Secretary of State, is attempting to start talks with North Korean diplomats in hopes of finding a peaceful solution to the issue.

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