I’ve listened to the experts reassure us that a war with North Korea is unlikely. I’m not at certain as they are. The mistake the experts make is analyzing this crisis from a rational perspective. That all goes out the window with a president who is irrational.
Experts try to pacify us by suggesting that adults will likely intervene and save the world from a president who governs by mood swing. Somebody will stop him, they say – the Generals or Congress.
But isn’t that what we heard during the campaign. “Let the crazy man-child rant and rave,” said the Republican establishment, the donors, the Republican National Committee, the Bush cartel, Paul Ryan, the Koch Brothers.
But, in the end, there was nobody to save us. Nobody spanked Trump and put him in his room. And now, he sits in the oval office, tweeting insults, with his hand on a nuclear suitcase that controls 6,800 nuclear bombs.
If you want to get inside the president’s head, to figure out what he might do with North Korea, go out, get drunk, and quickly spin around five times. That’s probably a better way to do it, than the normal way we usually assess these matters.
Trump’s poll numbers are dismal, he’s failed to pass meaningful legislation, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller pursues him like a bloodhound approaching a steakhouse.
Trump is an egomaniac and the biggest narcissist, since, well, the actual Narcissus of Greek mythology. He is in love with himself and will do anything to ensure his personal survival. Even if this means letting Kim Jong-un destroy Seoul, South Korea, Tokyo, or Guam.
Trump is desperate to change the subject or Russia, and saber rattling will only last so long. He’ll soon need an actual war, so he can accuse the media or anyone else who asks questions about the Russia investigation of being unpatriotic. This may be his way of attempting to silence his critics.
Today, Trump said his original threat to North Korea of “fire and fury,” wasn’t “tough enough” and that the U.S. military was locked and loaded. Which made it sound like Trump should be locked up, and made the statement while he was loaded.
Like his puppet master, Vladimir Putin, Trump’s power and appeal to his base is that he is tough. That’s why this, um, “hand measuring contest” with Kim Jong-un, could end in a mushroom cloud. Trump is a lousy negotiator who has painted himself into a corner, and like a corned rat, he may feel compelled to strike out, to salvage his tough guy reputation.
The consequences could not be greater. A fight with North Korea could lead to a Great Depression. North Korea would likely retaliate by destroying Seoul, which is the same distance as Washington, DC is to Baltimore. A second strike would likely be aimed at Tokyo.
Japan is our fourth largest trading partner and South Korea is our 6th largest trading partner. If these major cities are badly damaged or destroyed, this would have an immediate impact on our economy. Not to mention the tragic loss of tens of thousands of lives.
There is also the risk of World War 3. If we dropped a nuclear bomb on North Korea, the fallout could potentially kill citizens of South Korea, Japan, Russia, or China. Would China or Russia sit by idly if we killed their citizens or made major cities uninhabitable?
Here’s a thought experiment. How would the United States respond, if Russia nuked Tijuana, and the fallout killed 25,000 people in San Diego, and made the city unlivable for decades? You could easily imagine the overwhelming political pressure at home to retaliate – which could spiral into World War 3.
If the fallout from an American bomb floats over Vladivostok or Beijing, all bets are off on what happens next. Kim Jong-un knows that the location of North Korea makes the consequences of attacking it – especially with nuclear bombs – unthinkable. That is his leverage and why he makes his radical threats.
Unfortunately, he is directing these warnings at an American president who might not fully comprehend the situation. Yes, we can and will beat North Korea in a war. The question is, at what cost, in blood and treasure. This is a calculation, I’m not sure Donald Trump is capable of making. And that’s why we are living in dangerous times.
This is Wayne Besen, with your Daily Reality Check.