Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fire and Fury; Sound and Fury

There is an argument to be made for talking tough with North Korea--I don't have the expertise to say whether it is a good argument. But if there was an argument, it would sound something like "We tried diplomacy, we gave relying on China a whirl, and if war with the US is what Kim Jong Un is hoping for, he needs to know he just might get it." Which is what I think is the message Trump et als are putting out there. North Korea has had the understanding that war wasn't a possibility because of diplomatic efforts, talks both multilateral and unilateral, and so on.  Trump's shocking articulation that war--especially a promise of "fire and fury like the world has never seen"--is a definite possibility, would be sobering to a rational person (hell--it scares me, and I'm on the coast that's not liable to be hit by the Norkulatron Bomb).

It's a kind of "Mad man theory" of Nixon, isn't it? Try to let the bad actors think that a desperate and nuclear-armed US is capable of anything, and nukes are a possibility, and see if they are willing to live with that possibility (how did Vietnam go, anyhow?)

The thing of it is, North Korea is the result of that thinking never working. I'm not sure you can pretend to out-crazy a third generation tyrannical dictator propped up with a populace conditioned by decades of propaganda and possibly no concept of "acceptable risk" at all. This is a place where droughts have forced people to eat grass, where malnutrition has created a height gap between North and South Korea of between 1-3 inches, because North Koreans babies don't get as much to eat.

And the response by North Korea to the US is--"Well, we might attack Guam." That's not a cooling-off at all. That's 160,000+ US citizens. And that would demand retaliation--because of course it does. We would be sucked into a costly and bloody war, because why? Because Trump has an inconsistent and possibly fantastical notion about how nuclear warfare would pan out, and because he is stuck with military-based solutions to North Korea's boundary-testing because he surrounded himself with generals, and lacks any good diplomatic advisors concerning this region?

This isn't sitting well with US lawmakers, and it obviously can't be sitting well with our allies. And consider the grimmest possibility--this reaction by Trump isn't even a risky strategy, but just something he's saying because his poll numbers are low and war-talk might boost them a little?

I can't even discount that as being a possible thing in the mind of this President. I wish it was not, but, well. I think it could be.

1 comment:

Fiddlin Bill said...

Well, you could look at Guam as sort of like the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, but far far away, and then you could recall what the US did in reaction to that event.