Who will be downwind from North Korea fall out? Daily Bullshit, August 8-11, 2017

Updates

  1. August 10, 2:46 am:
    • Donald Trump appeared to make his apparent threat to use nuclear weapons against North Korea a little less implicit[1] and Defense Secretary James Mattis joined in.[2]
  2. August 11, 1:15 am:
    • Donald Trump sought to tamp down any reassurances from his own administration that he might not launch nuclear war against North Korea, “saying his warning of ‘fire and fury’ against the rogue nation ‘may not be tough enough,’”[3] and I think the word ‘maybe’ might never have quite the same meaning ever again after his presidency.
  3. August 11, 11:57 am:
    • Donald Trump now says that “that ‘military solutions’ [are] ‘in place, locked and loaded’ should Pyongyang ‘act unwisely,’”[4] as if he was one to speak of wisdom. (North Korea)
    • Sami Karam argues that ‘cronyism,’ by which I think he refers to neoliberalism, was the true victor of the Cold War.[5] (Berlin Wall)

North Korea

I’ve had little to say on North Korea. I’ve tended to think the wisest course of action would be to ignore it, to (I probably need to be more careful with this metaphor) ignore the toddler throwing a temper tantrum, to recognize that strategy deployed so far has failed to mitigate the threat—assuming there is indeed a threat that actually amounts to more than some particularly over-the-top posturing that I guess serves some obscure purpose.

But then Donald Trump threatens to—I think this is a reasonable interpretation—turn the place into a nuclear puddle.[6] And North Korea promptly responds with—you guessed it—another threat, albeit one that may have been written the previous day.[7] So, ummm, yeah, I’m scared now.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump dismissed the idea he would broadly signal his intentions, telling reporters who had asked him about the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on North Korea: “I’m not like the other administration that would say we’re going into Mosul in four months. I don’t talk about it. We’ll see what happens. But I can tell you that what they’ve been doing and what they’ve been getting away with is a tragedy, and it can’t be allowed.”[8]

But scary as all these threats and counter-threats are, the whole situation still looks to me like a pissing contest.

Jordan Fabian, “Trump: North Korea ‘will be met with fire and fury’ if it threatens US,” Hill, August 8, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/345777-trump-warnsth-korea-it-will-be-met-with-fire-and-fury-if-it

Zachary Cohen and Euan McKirdy, “North Korea threatens strike on Guam,” CNN, August 9, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/08/politics/north-korea-considering-guam-strike-trump/index.html

Ellen Mitchell, “Mattis warns North Korea of ‘destruction of its people,'” Hill, August 9, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/defense/345908-mattis-warnsth-korea-of-destruction-of-its-people

Rebecca Savransky, “Trump intensifies rhetoric against North Korea,” Hill, August 9, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/345847-trump-nuclear-arsenal-far-stronger-and-more-powerful-than-ever-before

Jordan Fabian and Max Greenwood, “Trump: Maybe threat on North Korea wasn’t ‘tough enough,’” Hill, August 10, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/346087-trump-maybe-threat-onth-korea-wasnt-tough-enough

Ben Kesling and Louise Radnofsky, “Trump Warns North Korea ‘Military Solutions’ Are ‘In Place, Locked and Loaded,’” Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-warnsth-korea-military-solutions-are-in-place-locked-and-loaded-1502453110


Berlin Wall

Sami J. Karam, “Capitalism Did Not Win the Cold War,” Foreign Affairs, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2017-07-19/capitalism-did-not-win-cold-war” target=”_blank”>https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2017-07-19/capitalism-did-not-win-cold-war

  1. [1]Rebecca Savransky, “Trump intensifies rhetoric against North Korea,” Hill, August 9, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/345847-trump-nuclear-arsenal-far-stronger-and-more-powerful-than-ever-before
  2. [2]Ellen Mitchell, “Mattis warns North Korea of ‘destruction of its people,'” Hill, August 9, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/defense/345908-mattis-warnsth-korea-of-destruction-of-its-people
  3. [3]Jordan Fabian and Max Greenwood, “Trump: Maybe threat on North Korea wasn’t ‘tough enough,’” Hill, August 10, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/346087-trump-maybe-threat-onth-korea-wasnt-tough-enough
  4. [4]
  5. [5]Sami J. Karam, “Capitalism Did Not Win the Cold War,” Foreign Affairs, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2017-07-19/capitalism-did-not-win-cold-war” target=”_blank”>https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2017-07-19/capitalism-did-not-win-cold-war
  6. [6]Specifically, Trump said further North Korean threats “will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before,” which would seem to threaten something more severe than any of the horrific bombings of World War II. Quoted in Jordan Fabian, “Trump: North Korea ‘will be met with fire and fury’ if it threatens US,” Hill, August 8, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/345777-trump-warnsth-korea-it-will-be-met-with-fire-and-fury-if-it
  7. [7]Zachary Cohen and Euan McKirdy, “North Korea threatens strike on Guam,” CNN, August 9, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/08/politics/north-korea-considering-guam-strike-trump/index.html
  8. [8]Ben Kesling and Louise Radnofsky, “Trump Warns North Korea ‘Military Solutions’ Are ‘In Place, Locked and Loaded,’” Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-warnsth-korea-military-solutions-are-in-place-locked-and-loaded-1502453110

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