Tuesday was marked by a series of events that moved the United States drastically closer to the possibility of direct military conflict with North Korea, largely in part due to the ill-conceived and shortsighted statements and actions of Donald Trump on social media. News broke Wednesday afternoon, however, that the President’s statement was completely improvised and had not been run by any of his advisers, signaling a complete and total disconnect between Trump and his staff. In fact, the piece of paper in front of Trump when he made the announcement had nothing to do with the North Korean situation, and was actually about the opiod epidemic that he was originally supposed to be speaking about.
The administration’s hawkish stance on the issue of the Korean Peninsula has been alarming since Vice President Mike Pence was sent there in April in order to issue a statement that the era of diplomacy under the Obama administration was over.
Since then, tensions between American and North Korean leadership has only gotten more pronounced as North Korea has continued to conduct weapons testing with the stated goal of being able to strike the United States. Despite multiple statements by the United States and a series of sanctions issued by the United Nations in response to this testing, leadership in Pyongyang has pushed ahead, infuriating the Trump administration.
Tuesday, however, marked a new escalation of tensions between the two nations. Early Tuesday, Trump retweeted a Fox News story that had already been specifically denounced by United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, as classified information.
Haley said that reports of American satellites picking up North Korean movements of anti-ship cruise missiles to a patrol boat contained information that should not have been leaked to the press, and creates an incredibly dangerous situation.
Instead of removing the Tweet or apologizing, however, Trump doubled down and issued the following statement:
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States; they will be met with the fire and the fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said. “[Kim] has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with the fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
There’s only one way to interpret that statement. Donald Trump is threatening all out war against the North Korean state, despite the fact that to do so would require traversing a complicated web of international red tape due to North Korea’s close relationship to China. This is a statement that completely betrays Trump’s lack of understanding of the nuances of international affairs, and puts American lives at risk.
The more shocking aspect of his statement, however, only came out on Wednesday, when the New York Times reported that none of Trump’s advisers had been in favor of such harsh language. Nationals security adviser General H.R. McMaster and strategist Steve Bannon, who have disagreed with one another in the past, were apparently both against this type of statement. Additionally, it came as a complete shock to General John Kelly, Trump’s new chief of staff. This will likely lead to chaos in the White House, proving that Kelly’s goal of reigning in Trump and bringing order to the West Wing will be much more difficult than he had anticipated.
If you agree that this administration needs to stop its warlike and dangerous blustering about North Korea, please like and share this message. The United States military cannot become a political pawn for Trump’s war-hungry supporters.