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Trump Continues His Dangerous North Korea Rhetoric

The efforts of Trump’s Cabinet officials to do damage control after his “fire and fury” rhetoric were wasted [1]:

“Frankly, the people who were questioning that statement — was it too tough? Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said. “They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So, if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”

Since Trump is preoccupied with the appearance of strength and “toughness,” it is not surprising that this is how he judges his own statements. It doesn’t register with him that many people were “questioning” his previous threat because it was wildly irresponsible and reckless, but only because it was “too tough.” So he made another threat that “things will happen to them like they never thought possible.” Of course, the more that Trump makes public threats, the more he boxes himself in and blocks himself off from being able to accept a diplomatic compromise. Given Trump’s disdain for diplomacy, that may be on purpose, or it may simply be another example of his ineptitude, but with each new episode of posturing he makes a negotiated solution less likely.

Perhaps the most dangerous part of Trump’s latest statement is his assumption that “it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries,” as if North Korea has been running roughshod over all of us until now. He doesn’t see that he has taken a dangerous situation and made it even more so, but imagines that he is “sticking up” for everyone against a bully by issuing alarming threats that do nothing but worry most Americans and our allies.

Update: Trump compounded his errors earlier this morning:

17 Comments (Open | Close)

17 Comments To "Trump Continues His Dangerous North Korea Rhetoric"

#1 Comment By Joe F On August 11, 2017 @ 8:34 am

Someone please tackle this clown and put a sock in his mouth. I seriously question his mental faculties at this point. He can’t even speak in full sentences and just spews dangerous nonsense. How can this be stopped?

#2 Comment By Xenia Grant On August 11, 2017 @ 8:39 am

God help us all. I never in my life would thought that the most dangerous country in the world is the USA. North Korea is dangerous, but now the USA is even more so.

#3 Comment By icarusr On August 11, 2017 @ 8:44 am

All of this is a feature, not a bug, for his supporters (read Dreher’s comments). Variously, Hillary would have been worse, and the destruction of the American empire (deep state, etc.) led by those Georgetown elites you are evidently so enamoured of is the whole point of the Trump presidency.

More to the point, so much for the “adult” supervision that the generals were going to bring to bear.

Now, the one positive thing about all of this is that the Imperium is going down not in a Samsonian fury, but in an Elagabalan farce; not even Mencken could have conjured up this farrago of a Presidency. Trump is the very embodiment of Boobus Americanus, then as now:

“There, where the cows low through the still night, and the jug of Peruna stands behind the stove, and bathing begins, as at Biarritz, with the vernal equinox—there is the reservoir of all the nonsensical legislation which now makes the United States a buffoon among the great nations.”

#4 Comment By Chris Chuba On August 11, 2017 @ 9:20 am

If developing a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the U.S. mainland is our red line then we should be willing to offer something big in exchange to stop it before military action. We can’t have it all.

Here is a post by Col Lang on his analysis of how a military conflict would be initiated by us, “Reviewing the Unthinkable”
[3]

He believes that military conflict is quite possible and he addresses the ‘rational actor’ theory. This is his analysis as he stipulates, ‘analysis is not advocacy’. He was in the DIA with a specialty in HUMINT.

#5 Comment By John K Sharpe On August 11, 2017 @ 9:59 am

Since the war of rhetoric seems to annoy a large portion of the country perhaps we should just move onto the endgame: paying N.Korea a heavy ransom so they will promise not to point their nuclear strapped rockets toward the US or our allies. Extortion was always the end game here because it always was during every negotiating period before. Ever since N.Korea discovered that the US was willing to pay for “security”, real or imagined. Now that N.Korea has the ultimate leverage the asking price will be high indeed.

#6 Comment By KevinS On August 11, 2017 @ 11:28 am

25th Amendment! This man is unstable danger to the republic.

#7 Comment By collin On August 11, 2017 @ 12:12 pm

This is significantly frightening because it completely fits into Daniel Drezner “Treat him (Trump) as a toddler” twitter feed. So we are getting his administration, Mattis and Tillerson, significantly contradicting the President while Trump makes really aggressive statements. It seems the problem is we can take the President at his word and prepare for war…Or

Ignore him but increase the chances he will make even more aggressive statements against NK and thus forcing a war with them.

#8 Comment By clairence On August 11, 2017 @ 12:28 pm

“They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries.”

Besides talking smack, what have they done to our country – or any country – for a long time that requires sticking up to?
This doesn’t seem to be about nuclear weapons for Trump. It’s just more ego reactionism. Ego has a hard time with reason.

#9 Comment By Fran Macadam On August 11, 2017 @ 1:18 pm

When ya go looking for bar fights on the other side of the world, you will eventually get one! Time has passed to where the guys you want to beat up on after more than a few shots of jingoism ain’t so easy anymore. Why not call it a day and go home and sleep it off?

Foreign entanglements … Dragons to destroy … We’re further away from home in more ways than we can imagine.

#10 Comment By Enoughalready On August 11, 2017 @ 2:24 pm

Yep, Chris. We really don’t have anything to offer up in exchange. No one does. Korean soap operas? Yeah, I watch em, but the chance for North Koreans to watch TV isn’t going to move a lot of buttons. There is nothing we could offer economically that China couldn’t offer if it wanted to, and offers from the Chinese don’t come with the condescending “this is just a gift we’re offering up until your regime collapses and you’re out of power.”

Just stop making reunification a goal. We may get further if we stop believing that a new system of govenment and a new elite to rule over that state is just what the doctor ordered. If we order them to stop with the nuclear weapons, they’ll just build more nuclear weapons. If we order them to start holding elections and open their markets, they’ll just close their markets.

We’d be better off berating them for being an imperfect communist dictatorship and respecting human rights too much and hoping that they’ll respond by respecting human rights more. Maybe we’d be better off trying to prop the regime up and whining loudly that they aren’t persecuting their people with sufficient efficiency.

#11 Comment By Clay On August 11, 2017 @ 2:31 pm

With his domestic agenda dead, especially with the coming debt ceiling debate lingering which he will be forced to cross the aisle and call on democrats for support in order to protect the credit rating of the US and the economy, Trump has transitioned into neocon war president. God help us!

The lack of leadership to get Obamacare repealed, tax cuts, etc, now has this unpredictable man needing a huge victory to gain reelection. Since Congress with republican majorities aren’t going along, war is all he has.

#12 Comment By dee On August 11, 2017 @ 2:34 pm

Trump needs a war to deflect from Russiagate and legislative failures. Iran certification does come uo until october again so he is trying to provoke NK with his bluster. Consequences of this war secondary to positive ratings he believes he will get.

#13 Comment By c matt On August 11, 2017 @ 2:40 pm

The USA has been the most dangerous country in the world for quite some time now – at least to other countries. Only now that its foreign adventures risk strikes close to home, might it wake ‘muricans up to the havoc their foreign policy wreaks. Blowback . . . hmm . . . who was it that mentioned that a long time ago? Oh yeah, the guy everyone thought was crazy.

#14 Comment By DP On August 11, 2017 @ 3:05 pm

The problem remains the same. If this is just bluster, we look silly and weak, which undermines our leverage for negotiations with North Korea and the rest of the world. If it’s not just bluster, we’re egging North Korea on to do something rash while not putting in place the military posture we’ll need.

As horrible as it would be, a military conflict is imaginable. But we are by no means “locked and loaded” at present.

#15 Comment By sherparick On August 11, 2017 @ 3:39 pm

icarusr says: I disagree because Mencken, did make this very accurate prophecy: “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

#16 Comment By ScottA On August 11, 2017 @ 4:21 pm

Scary.

#17 Comment By Just Dropping By On August 11, 2017 @ 4:21 pm

@ Joe F: The sock solution would be insufficient since part of the threats are coming via Twitter and Trump presumably types those rather than dictating them.