Truthseekers, we are LIVE tonight 7/5, then please join Bob Kincaid Thursday and Friday and Mike will return Monday the 10th to review the G20 summit. We predict it will be huuuuuuuge.
Tonight, the N. Korean missile launch and what can be done to stop a madman. Trump and/or Kim Jung Un – your choice. Trump’s itchy twitter finger might have dire global consequences if his tiny hands aren’t restrained, as the Washington Post reports:
North Korea’s apparent test of an intercontinental ballistic missile puts it closer to having the ability to hit the United States with a nuclear warhead. This is an extraordinarily dangerous development.
I worked on North Korea policy in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, at the State Department and on the National Security Council, so I know firsthand just how difficult the challenges posed by North Korea are to deal with. I know how constrained the policy options are, and I’m familiar with the many difficult choices involved in selecting from a menu of bad options. And I know the incredibly complicated coordination — both within our own government, and with our allies and partners — that is necessary to implement a strategy to handle it.
But President Trump’s reaction to North Korea’s missile test was to immediately reach for his phone and sound off with chest-thumping statements on Twitter. This is a very reckless reaction, and one that risks miscalculation by adversary and ally alike.
North Korea will parse every word of Trump’s Twitter statements to try to understand what they mean. That’s because North Korea uses its own propaganda mouthpieces in an intricate way to signal its intentions to both internal and external audiences. As a government official working on North Korea, I spent hours working with analysts poring over North Korean statements to understand Pyongyang’s thinking — whether and how it differs from past statements — and cutting through the bluster to identify the core point it was communicating. Its words are carefully chosen, and it uses different formulas to send different signals.
We know from watching Pyongyang’s reactions to previous U.S. statements that it read our words in a similar way. North Korean officials will look for clear signals of intention in Trump’s tweets. The problem is, it’s not clear that Trump has any idea what his intentions are. He is sending signals that foreign officials will attach meanings to — meanings he may not have intended and might not even realize he’s sending.
Trump urged China to “put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all.” It’s not clear that he has any idea of what a “heavy move” by China would mean — but Kim Jong Un may well read that to be a call for military action, which in a worst-case scenario could prompt him to take preemptive action. It’s not clear what Trump would do to back up whatever a “heavy move” might be, either.
In fact, it’s not clear that Trump has any sense of what our strategy toward North Korea is. And despite attempts by members of his Cabinet to articulate a strategy through clearer messaging, such as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’s speech on North Korea at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June, Trump’s words effectively nullify them in Pyongyang — where the idea that the president’s statements would matter less than those of his subordinates simply would not compute. The remarks of his Cabinet officials become less credible in foreign capitals when the commander in chief conveys a different message in 140 characters.
Pray for us all.