by William Teach | August 9, 2017 8:10 am
Perhaps they’d prefer the pajama boy, mom jeans, coddling and bowing version one typically saw from Barack Obama when it came to threats from foreign nations. Or, perhaps they’d approve of signing a deal that would simply push North Korea’s nuclear ambitions off for 10 years while giving them oodles of cash and access to more by removing sanctions
Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ threat is a rhetorical grenade
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S unsettling threat Tuesday aimed at North Korea was reckless and unnecessary. In its bombast, it resembled nothing so much as Kim Jong Un’s regular denunciations of the United States, frantic and hyperbolic. Why would the president of the world’s most powerful nation want to descend to that level?
At an event at his New Jersey golf club, Mr. Trump declared, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” To raise the specter of nuclear war — and to do so to ward off mere threats, at that — is to draw a red line in the most foolish and destabilizing manner.
Au contraire, drawing a red line against a nation using chemical weapons against its citizens, then backing off that red line while saying “I didn’t set the red line, the international community did”, then ignoring more uses of chemical weapons, and watching a nation turn into a hell hole, well, now, that seems to be “in the most foolish and destabilizing manner.” Good thing no one did that, eh?
Since nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki seven decades ago, they have not been used in combat. Still, the danger that they will be used again has never disappeared; the years since the end of World War II have been filled with false alarms and close calls, which could easily recur. The United States and Russia keep thousands of nuclear missiles on launch-ready alert, meaning they are ready to launch within minutes of a president giving the order. Adversaries know this. Mr. Trump’s threat of “fire and fury” may sound like hype to American ears, but the words could be heard quite differently by others, such as Mr. Kim, the belligerent leader of a nuclear North Korea. Mr. Trump’s language could easily be misunderstood — he didn’t say precisely what would lead to “fire and fury” except for North Korea’s “threats”— and the upshot could be miscalculation or, heaven forbid, the kind of accidental entry into conflict that has haunted the globe since the dawn of the atomic age.
So, instead of taking Nutjob Kim to task, the Washington Post Editorial Board…..Blaming Trump. Who’s surprised?
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The U.S. nuclear arsenal is kept in harness for one purpose only: deterrence. The definition of deterrence is a credible threat of retaliation that would prevent an adversary from attacking. Credibility, the essence of deterrence, means the other side has to believe the threat is real.
I’m pretty sure Trump has put North Korea on notice that the threat is real when he talks about “fire and fury”. He won’t be responding to North Korean provocations by giving them a nuclear reactor.
North Korea’s steadily advancing nuclear weapons and missile programs are serious; The Post reported Tuesday that intelligence officials believe the Pyongyang regime has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit on a missile, the next step in a weapons system that could hit the United States. Dealing with that will require patient pressure and skilled diplomacy, perhaps for years. Instead, Mr. Trump has strut into the arena with a jarring rhetorical grenade.
That’s what we’ve been doing for decades. Clinton tried his thing, and that didn’t work. Bush 43 tried engagement and sanctions. Nope. Obama tried to simply ignore the nutters along with sanctions, till that reared up even worse.
And, of course, the WP had to use a nasty looking photo of Trump. Because #Resist.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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