Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Mother of All Unnecessary Wars

There is no end to the evil this White House regime attempts.  Some of it has frustrated by the courts, by Congress and fellow Rs, and by its own incompetence.

But even an apprentice dictator holds one outlet for his wounded ego: the military.  And even when North Korea is not so much in the headlines, the acute dangers of disastrous war continue to grow.

American ships are nearing its shores-- (this time for real, apparently), including a submarine docking in South Korea, as the North Koreans conduct massive "live fire exercises" in the vicinity.

While Newsweek graphically describes what a Korean war would look like (at least a million dead--even if nukes are not used), Fred Kaplan in Slate provides perspective: "North Korea is a knotty problem, but there’s no cause for the hysteria that President Trump and his aides have been pumping up in recent days, and it’s time to turn down the heat and the noise, before someone gets hurt."

Kaplan isolates the most incendiary threat of the week:

Retired Gen. John Kelly, secretary of homeland security, said this week that “the minute” North Korea gets a single nuclear-armed missile with the range to hit the United States, “we are at grave risk as a nation.” Really? The United States survived three decades of Cold War when the Soviet Union had more than 1,000 such missiles; and while Kim—like his father and grandfather, who reigned in Pyongyang before him—seems more voluble and risk-prone than the commissars who ruled the Kremlin, his prime imperative is to preserve his regime. There is no evidence that he renders the basic principles of nuclear deterrence obsolete."

Kaplan concludes:

"Finally, for better or for worse, we have no choice but to deal with North Korea diplomatically. South Korea is probably about to elect a president who is far more disposed to engagement with North Korea and far more resistant to confrontation; China—the country most capable of pressuring Kim—is not going to apply so much pressure that the regime collapses suddenly, setting off a refugee crisis and a South Korean (which is to say, U.S.–backed) takeover of the entire peninsula. So there is no alternative to diplomacy. It should be a complex diplomacy, consisting of coercion as well as concessions. But one thing the mix should not include—the thing that’s most likely to set back desired progress—is a threat of military force that no one wants to see carried out and can’t be carried out without catastrophic consequences. That’s the path that Trump seems to be treading now, and the grown-ups around him need to pry him off."

Kaplan thinks it's "unlikely" that the bluffer in chief will actually attack North Korea.  But "unlikely" is a pretty weak word to describe what he is and has already done.

Today a new head of the Secret Service was appointed, a retired Marine general.  The New York Times story suggests it's a good appointment, and the Secret Service could certainly use some reorganizing.  But the man's current job is a huge red flag for me: he's acting deputy commissioner for Customs and Border Protection.  This is an agency that has shown enthusiasm for Homemade Hitler's authoritarian and xenophobic tendencies.  If our dictator apprentice wanted to create his own Gestapo, it could very well begin by turning the Secret Service into his Praetorian Guard.

Far-fetched?  Maybe.  But there is no end to the evil he attempts.

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