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Mr. Trump Meets Dr. Strangelove

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This is the President of the United States trash-talking and trolling an insane dictator who is armed with nuclear weaponry.

Will we reach a point when Congress acts to remove Trump to prevent his big fat mouth from starting a nuclear war? Will there even be time? What on earth is the reason for this childish display, especially with the lives of tens of millions of people potentially at stake?

What must the Joint Chiefs be thinking tonight? What must the people of Seoul?

This is exactly the thing I feared most from a Trump presidency: that the egomaniac would stumble into war.

72 Comments (Open | Close)

72 Comments To "Mr. Trump Meets Dr. Strangelove"

#1 Comment By wygrif On September 25, 2017 @ 9:16 am

Dennis Crane – Why on earth do you think they’ve stopped threatening to destroy the united states? They haven’t. For god’s sake, Jong-Un just publicly did it last week! I know your Trumpkin eyes have a habit of editing out things that are not consistent with your politics, but this was not a small story. Seriously, do you think “taming the US dotard with fire” means that he would launch precision munitions at the white house or something?

#2 Comment By Philly guy On September 25, 2017 @ 9:26 am

Trump going after the NFL is a bigger story.

#3 Comment By Adamant On September 25, 2017 @ 9:30 am

‘Once they started firing they would be extremely easy to locate. They can only remain hidden as long as they do nothing.’

The DMZ is 250 km long. Locating them and conducting a series of air strikes to destroy them would take days, even assuming ideal operational tempo and a combined US/ROK response. Seoul would be destroyed in hours.

#4 Comment By Jeremy 2 On September 25, 2017 @ 10:21 am

@charles cosimano
I guess you forgot about the few thousand nukes Russia and China have as well.
By the way, you’re nowhere near as tough and hard as you make yourself out to be on the Internet and you know it.

@Old West
Trump is threatening war with Iran, too.

#5 Comment By Carl Eric Scott On September 25, 2017 @ 10:50 am

This is what the kind of executive power secured by our system means, in an era of nuclear warheads. (And especially in an era in which Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama kicked the can down the road unnecessarily allowing a madhouse totalitarian regime to acquire such warheads.) What good men and women do is either stand up now for impeachment, adding “use of ‘neener-neener’ rhetoric” to the thin bill of present particulars, or, they say their prayers and offer only tentative “but I don’t know the intel” criticism of Trump’s needling and “make ’em guess” approach, and implicitly pledge to back the president in the immediate aftermath if a horrible war is unleashed by his decision about how to handle this tough situation. Impeachment can come afterwards if deemed necessary. As for right now, I would be among those vociferously opposing efforts to try impeachment for this, since it would have to be on the mere basis of supposition.

One thing good men and women do NOT do now is make any suggestion whatsoever that our military officers or top brass might disobey Trump, unless in the case of some blindingly irrational strike order–and almost no strike order against NK would fit that category. Even men as previously serious as Bill Kristol have made halting steps in that direction, and I hope Rod keeps his head enough not to follow suit.

If, God forbid, we awake to a day when the news is telling us of nuclear clouds and the likely deaths of tens of millions in NK, SK, and Japan, our initial public reaction must be one that assumes that President Trump made a horribly hard decision, in a careful, non-enraged, and mentally sound manner, partly on the basis of intel about NK actions that most of us do not know about, and then wait to hear out his case for his decision. After a suitable pause, we can debate impeachment for starting an unnecessary war, if we think a case like this exists and can be assembled from what info Congress will be given access to.

I wrote and voted to the very end against giving this man the kind of power our system gives to any of our presidents, but my fellow citizens disagreed. I accept their decision, as all good citizens must. Donald Trump is my president. Were I in the military he would be my commander. My fellow citizen Rod Dreher is free to criticize the way his and my president employs rhetoric in this ongoing crisis, and maybe such criticism can do some good.

But the topic is too serious for quickie recitations yet again of Trump’s many faults and vices.

#6 Comment By Json On September 25, 2017 @ 10:51 am

Rod . . . you’re still surprised by Trump’s tweets? I think you should have learned not to be shocked anymore.

#7 Comment By Tom S. On September 25, 2017 @ 11:03 am

To add to Siarlys’ recommendations, it might also be a useful exercise to see if our ABM systems work in an operational context. Could THAADs stationed in Japan shoot down a missile transiting Japanese territory? Are boost-phase ABM systems in AEGIS cruisers–in international waters off Korea–effective? Inquiring minds want to know.

#8 Comment By Shelley On September 25, 2017 @ 12:52 pm

One of the few things Bannon said correctly was, “we have no solution to NK unless you can Show me how Soeul doesn’t get nuked. “

#9 Comment By Polichinello On September 25, 2017 @ 1:27 pm

[NFR: Yeah, but we’ve ignored that for decades. Trump is the president of the United States. What is the point of this?! — RD]

Yes, we’ve ignored it for decades, and the problem has grown progressively worse. In the 90s, when Bill Clinton made the first deal, we were dealing with a conventional military power, then, after him, Bush and Obama, we’re now dealing with a nuclear power who can (theoretically) deliver those warheads.

We either confront them, or we rip up the post-WWII modus vivendi and let the Japanese off their leash and tell the South Koreans to get over their issues with the Japanese. I’m sure the Chinese will react really well to that.

#10 Comment By Will Harrington On September 25, 2017 @ 1:32 pm

[NFR: Yeah, but we’ve ignored that for decades. Trump is the president of the United States. What is the point of this?! — RD]

I would have thought that was obvious. If you are faced with a mediocre threat like North Korea that can hurt you but can come nowhere near to destroying you but you have it in your power to destroy them, and negotiation has proven to be pointless, then you do not walk on eggshells. You remind them of what the balance of power actually is. Be clear, if Kim Jung Uhn really is insane enough to actually launch a nuclear war (something I really doubt) then that is not Trumps fault.
We are seeing the collapse of decades of incompetent diplomacy (what you call years of ignoring North Korea’s provocations). They would rattle the sabre, we would rush to multilateral negotiations which resulted in the world giving North Korea stuff. The result is the same as suspending a troublesome student. What do they learn? If they behave badly they get to stay home and play videogames. We got here, not because of Trump, but because for too long our diplomats have been incompetent.

#11 Comment By John On September 25, 2017 @ 2:11 pm

I think folks are underestimating how often countries have blundered into wars that no one wanted.

#12 Comment By Donald (the left leaning one) On September 25, 2017 @ 3:23 pm

“Get a grip, people. Watch what Trump does, not what he says.”

This is stupid. The point is that the insults could lead to, for instance, N Korea shooting down a plane. Then we will respond. Then Kim will respond. These simian displays of chestpounding mean that one or both may feel compelled to react in extremely stupid ways or else be seen as gasbags.

It is literally true that nothing this idiot does will change the minds of his supporters. If we have a nuclear war then they will blame North Korea and of course they will be responsible, but only an idiot goes out of his way to provoke such a thing. If we don’t have a war, it will demonstrate Trump’s brilliance. You can’t ridicule this guy. I don’t bother watching any satire on TV for various reasons, but one is that nothing could top the reality of this moron and his diehard supporters.

And yes, Uncle Chuckles, it will be hilarious if millions of people die, so long as you are entertained.

#13 Comment By Fran Macadam On September 25, 2017 @ 4:34 pm

I hope the DHS doesn’t get its hands on our precious, bodily fluids over this.

#14 Comment By Json On September 25, 2017 @ 6:50 pm

why do you approve the comments for “Sir” who says: “Get a grip, Dreher.” and “Wes” who says “Oh good grief RD!”? Surely my comments were a little more worthy than those.

#15 Comment By MichaelGC On September 25, 2017 @ 7:39 pm

Potato says on September 24, 2017 at 4:55 pm:

“Well, with a few thousand warheads against a couple, we can be certain it will be a quick and entertaining war.

Trump is doing exactly what I hired him to do when I voted for him.”

Are there some sort of obscenity standards for this blog?

Yeh, I know, I get tired of it too, and I suspect a lot of people do, but cosimano can say anything, including exult at the prospect of the deaths of millions of people, and get only an indulgent nod. It’s probably better to ignore him if you can manage it.

You would better appreciate Cosimano’s posts if you read some Lovecraft and looked at them in that light.

#16 Comment By JONF On September 25, 2017 @ 9:12 pm

Re: Rod, I don’t quite get your stance on Trump. On one hand, you see the world and our present society for what it is: hedonistic, materialistic, consumerist, obsessed with sexual gratification above all, narcissistic, vain, and thoroughly gripped by incoherent postmodernism.

Rod’s view makes eminently good sense when you realize that Trump stands in opposition to none of that– he is rather the very apotheosis of it.

#17 Comment By Stefan On September 27, 2017 @ 5:07 pm

Conservative hand-wringing over Trump’s handling of North Korea proves that when it comes to foreign policy they are really no different from the left, which is to say they both come down on the side of keeping policy elite talk shops going. Lesson 1 for those who were dismissive of Trump electoral prospects: talking, in the present hyper-paranoid age, is understood to be something engaged in by those who don’t mind getting your head kicked in. Otto Warmbier’s parents’ description of their violently shaking and groaning brain-damaged son should really prove to everyone with a brain and a heart that North Korea is a limit case that compells the rest of the world to return to pre-modern modes of international conflict resolution, i.e. large-scale slaughter without any humanistic hang-ups, which are ultimately just inventions of the little conference water bottle industry, the real “globalists/reptillians/nwo/whatever” bankrolling liberalism, Respectable Conservatism, and frankly everyone other than Trump. Concerns over the feasibility of nuking North Korea likewise cannot be taken seriously because behind the stated concerns over South Korean casualties, one immediately senses that the real reluctance to use 90% of the U.S.’s nuclear capacity against North Korea lies in ultimis in fear of challenges to the primacy of policy talk shops. The outcome will be the nuking of North Korea, and no one will see it coming for the same reason no one other than me saw The Chairman’s victory coming: wilful lack of political imagination out of a desire to be taken seriously by intellectual cathedrals that have lost their hegemony.

#18 Comment By Mike Schilling On October 1, 2017 @ 3:20 pm

Kim’s not insane. He’s very focused on preserving his regime’s power, and everything he does and says has that as its goal. Which is the only thing that makes me optimistic that war between the US and NK can be avoided: *one* of the parties isn’t crazy.

#19 Comment By Mike Schilling On October 1, 2017 @ 3:22 pm

> I think folks are underestimating how often countries have blundered into wars that no one wanted.

Say, if people paid attention to what was happening exactly 100 years ago.

#20 Comment By Dennis Crane On October 4, 2017 @ 2:49 am

[NFR: Yeah, but we’ve ignored that for decades. Trump is the president of the United States. What is the point of this?! — RD]

The point, my dear Rodney, is that North Korea has been working on nuclear technology and the capacity to deliver it for two decades. The North Koreans not only want to humiliate the United States but re-unify the Korean Peninsula under Communist rule (which was the whole reason for the Korean War in the first place). North Korea reached a technological turning point just as Trump took office. The North Koreans would have reached that turning point had Hillary Clinton won the election. North Korea’s technological development has nothing to do with Trump, Clinton, you, me or the Man in the Moon.

#21 Comment By Dennis Crane On October 4, 2017 @ 2:54 am

Dennis Crane – Why on earth do you think they’ve stopped threatening to destroy the united states? They haven’t. For god’s sake, Jong-Un just publicly did it last week! I know your Trumpkin eyes have a habit of editing out things that are not consistent with your politics, but this was not a small story. Seriously, do you think “taming the US dotard with fire” means that he would launch precision munitions at the white house or something?

W.T.F?

Did you actually read my post, wygrif? I’m saying that North Korea’s desire to destroy or humiliate the United States is a function of that nation’s propaganda, which reflects its values, and not on the White House occupant, whomever that might be.

#22 Comment By JG On October 10, 2017 @ 9:12 pm

This is a perspective at the American Conservative I don’t understand. You’re conservatives who sound like appeasement people from the 1930’s. The result of that was WWII, because Germany built its army while the rest of Europe dithered. Are we going to do exactly the same thing with Nth Korea? Dither, while they amass a nuclear arsenal?

I don’t think the analogy is strained: Both Nth Korea and Germany hated how they’d been treated by other nations, and incompetent diplomacy and onerous sanctions etc exacerbated the problem. But that is no excuse for Nth Korea’s (or Germany’s) aggressive behaviour. To respond with diplomacy would be nice – but is it actually going to do anything? At this point, I don’t know that it will.

There comes a point where indulging aggressive behaviour is dangerous, a perspective TAC website doesn’t seem to acknowledge (at least, I haven’t come across it). I have hunch this comes from an unspoken assumption, that Nth Korea is just trying to get recognition as a legitimate country, instead of the tinpot jailhouse it is. But, before the war, Hitler was just trying to get recognition for the German people, wasn’t he?