At least the Pentagon is rational and reasonable when it comes to Donald Trump’s obsession with North Korea.
For months, Trump has been escalating his rhetoric against North Korea and Kim Jong-Un, even going so far as to brag about the size of his nuclear button and promising to rain down “fire and fury” upon the authoritarian country and its population.
As the military prepares for a possible war with North Korea, Trump continues to put pressure on the Pentagon for more military options and is growing more and more impatient because he isn’t getting those options fast enough.
Reports confirm that Pentagon is purposefully holding off due to fears that Trump will use those options.
The White House has grown frustrated in recent weeks by what it considers the Pentagon’s reluctance to provide President Trump with options for a military strike against North Korea, according to officials, the latest sign of a deepening split in the administration over how to confront the nuclear-armed regime of Kim Jong-un.
The national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, believes that for Mr. Trump’s warnings to North Korea to be credible, the United States must have well-developed military plans, according to those officials.
But the Pentagon, they say, is worried that the White House is moving too hastily toward military action on the Korean Peninsula that could escalate catastrophically. Giving the president too many options, the officials said, could increase the odds that he will act.
It certainly feels like Trump is trying to march America into another costly and bloody war. And the 10 million South Koreans who live in Seoul would be the first casualties of any counter-strike North Korea launches in retaliation. Up to 8,000 artillery pieces are embedded along the demilitarized zone and are aimed directly at Seoul. Tens of thousands of people could die within minutes if Trump orders a strike against the North.
American troops would then be necessary, which means thousands of our soldiers would be killed as well.
And the cost of such a war would add a tremendous amount to the deficit, especially considering that Trump created a $1.5 trillion deficit with his tax plan. America would not only suffer the loss of lives, but we’d go further into debt doing it.
This is why the American president usually does not go around making threats of “fire and fury.” Trump is writing a check that the American people can’t cash.
But Trump, so far, has refused to see reason on this issue. When Korea expert Victor Cha was nominated to be ambassador to South Korea, he warned against a military strike against North Korea, resulting in Trump rescinding the nomination. Trump does not want to hear anything that isn’t pro-war.
“If we believe that Kim is undeterrable without such a strike, how can we also believe that a strike will deter him from responding in kind?” Cha wrote in the Washington Post. “And if Kim is unpredictable, impulsive and bordering on irrational, how can we control the escalation ladder, which is premised on an adversary’s rational understanding of signals and deterrence?”
Indeed, someone has to be the adult in the room, and it’s not Trump right now. In fact, Kim Jong-Un is acting more responsible and rational than Trump and has even reached out to South Korea, a rare moment that led to an agreement for the two nations to walk together as one during the upcoming Winter Olympic Games.
The Pentagon is hoping that cooler heads prevail, but Trump has repeatedly made it clear that he wants war in any way he can get it. He’s been laying the groundwork for war with North Korea for months now. And like a toddler who didn’t get his way, Trump will likely throw a temper tantrum if he doesn’t get to start one. And that could even involve using nuclear weapons, which Trump is also obsessed with doing.
For the moment, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are doing what they can to delay war. But Trump can order a military strike at any time. It’s just a matter of when he is desperate enough to do. And that could be soon, especially as the Russia investigation closes in on him.
Featured Image: Wikimedia