Charlie Pierce over at Esquire alerts us as to how Trump’s thought processes and instability continue to bring the world must too close to World War III than justified or that can be forgiven.
At issue is the nomination of a man named Victor Cha for ambassador to South Korea (we still do not have an ambassador to South Korea. It’s not that South Korea is unusual, there are a shocking number of ambassadorships left unfilled due to people resigning in protest and Trump slow-walking replacements because Putin wants them slow-walked). Apparently, Mr. Cha has run into some resistance in the administration due to Cha voicing some objections to … wait for it, objections to the United States unilaterally bombing the North Koreans, objecting to bombing the North Koreans without warning!:
From the Washington Post:
Victor D. Cha, an academic who served in the George W. Bush administration, raised his concerns with National Security Council officials over their consideration of a limited strike on the North aimed at sending a message without sparking a wider war — a risky concept known as a “bloody nose” strategy. Cha also objected to the administration’s threats to tear up a bilateral trade deal with Seoul that Trump has called unfair to American companies. The administration last week imposed new tariffs on imports on washing machines and solar energy panels, a move criticized by the South Korean government.
I have seldom heard that being an unpredictable violent bully is the best way to deal with unpredictable violent bullies. As Charlie notes, if “having concerns” about the strike is a problem, it is worthwhile to ask how far are we down the road to seeing those strikes launched? The answer, at least the answer hinted about in the State of the Union, isn’t comforting:
But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea. North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening. Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.
“Mistakes of past administrations?”
Perhaps someone need tell Trump that the past administrations have succeeded in getting precisely “0” Americans killed in a war with North Korea since the 1950s, and we are not sure what “success” we’re willing to consider under Trump.
Pierce sums it up well, and with appropriate fear:
This is empty bluster, unless the administration is foolhardy enough to launch a strike. The withdrawal of Cha’s nomination gives one pause in this regard. If they’re not willing to put in place in Seoul someone with a sensibleview of the realities on the ground in Korea, who are they actually listening to.
It is horrific to accept that Trump has persistently demonstrated that he thinks of his fate first and last in any situation. Should it appear that the Mueller walls are closing in on Trump, or if Trump perceives political danger from some other direction, it is horrific to think that we must worry about possible escalation of conflict with a now armed nuclear power in North Korea.