Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr rex tillerson...
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson provided one of those statements that was probably meant to be a lot more comforting than it came out.

Tillerson downplayed messages that President Trump had previously posted on Twitter suggesting Tillerson was wasting his time trying to negotiate with “Little Rocket Man,” a derogatory nickname Trump has coined for North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump “has made it clear to me to continue my diplomatic efforts,” Tillerson said.

Continue them until …

… Tillerson said Sunday that President Donald Trump had instructed him to continue diplomatic efforts to calm rising tensions with North Korea, saying “those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops.”

For Tillerson, this seems to be just another in a series of clumsily-worded responses, which is somewhat understandable given that Trump keeps cutting diplomatic efforts off at the knees and sending out messages that Tillerson is “wasting his time” in attempting to negotiate a solution.

But given Trump’s insistence that diplomacy is pointless, that there is only one way to remedy the situation, and his announcement that last week’s meeting with high-ranking military officers and their wives was the “calm before the storm,” the implication that it’s only a matter of when the bombs fall … is less than reassuring.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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