Donald Trump beats the drums of war at the United Nations

Remember when Trump supporters believed that his “America First” rhetoric meant retreating from America’s role as the world’s policeman engaging in endless wars to a non-interventionist foreign policy and withdrawing behind the walls of a “fortress America”? Suckers, that’s not what Trump meant at all. America First Foreign Policy. This is an aggressive “nationalism” policy litte different from the policy Russia ad China pursue.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday the U.N. Security Council has run out of options on containing North Korea’s nuclear program and the United States may have to turn the matter over to the Pentagon. U.S. Ambassador Haley: U.N. has exhausted options on North Korea:

“We have pretty much exhausted all the things that we can do at the Security Council at this point,” Haley told CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that she was perfectly happy to hand the North Korea problem over to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

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China has urged the United States to refrain from making threats to North Korea. Asked about President Donald Trump’s warning last month that the North Korean threat to the United States will be met with “fire and fury,” Haley said, “It was not an empty threat.”

“If North Korea keeps on with this reckless behavior, if the United States has to defend itself or defend its allies in any way, North Korea will be destroyed. And we all know that. And none of us want that. None of us want war,” she said on CNN.

“We’re trying every other possibility that we have, but there’s a whole lot of military options on the table,” she said.

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said on Friday, after the latest North Korean missile launch, that the United States was running out of patience: “We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road.”

On Sunday, he warned of imminent danger from Pyongyang.

“This regime is so close now to threatening the United States and others with a nuclear weapon, that we really have to move with a great sense of urgency on sanctions, on diplomacy and preparing, if necessary, a military option,” McMaster told the “Fox News Sunday” program.

Our bellicose man-child Twitter-troll-in-chief tweeted on Sunday: “I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!

“Rocket Man” is not a reference to Elton John but to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. And there ar no long gas lines in North Korea because there are not that many cars.

Our bellicose man-child addressed the United Nations today and upped the ante by threatening to “totally destroy North Korea.” Trump Vows to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea if It Threatens U.S.:

President Trump’s bellicose speech to the United Nations on Tuesday drew a series of good-versus-evil lines that forecast confrontations to come as he vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatened the United States and denounced the nuclear agreement with Iran as “an embarrassment” that he may abandon.

From the dais of an organization meant to bring the nations of the world together, the president defended his America First policy and argued that nationalism can be reconciled with common causes. He repeatedly used the word “sovereignty” to describe his approach in a setting where the term traditionally has been brandished by nations like Russia and China to deflect criticism of their actions.

But it was his sharp-edged condemnations of international outliers like North Korea, Iran and Venezuela that drew the most attention in the room as he framed the conflicts over their actions as a test of the international system. With typical Trumpian flourishes like vowing to crush “loser terrorists” and labeling North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, “Rocket Man,” Mr. Trump at times dispensed with the restrained rhetoric many American presidents use at the United Nations.

Oh hell, just say it, Trump dispensed with sanity. We have a madman for president about to take us to war to prove how manly he is (maybe he should have served in the U.S. military when he had the chance instead of dodging the draft with five deferments during Vietnam, the key deferment for “bone spurs in his heels” … poor baby).

Mr. Trump singled out North Korea for his harshest words, broadening his indictment of the Pyongyang government beyond just its pursuit of nuclear weapons to its treatment of its own people and captured foreigners like the American college student who died shortly after being released and sent back to the United States.

“No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles,” Mr. Trump said. “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

Without mentioning it by name, Mr. Trump also chastised China for continuing to deal with its rogue neighbor. “It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict,” the president said.

He went on to assail the Iran agreement, which was negotiated by President Barack Obama and leaders of five other powers and ratified by the United Nations Security Council to curb Tehran’s nuclear program for a decade in exchange for lifting international sanctions. Under American law, Mr. Trump has until Oct. 15 to certify whether Iran is complying with the agreement, which he has done twice so far since taking office. But he has made clear that he would prefer not to do so again, which could result in the unraveling of the accord.

“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” Mr. Trump told the United Nations audience. “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”

The tough words cheered the delegation from Israel, whose prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and advisers applauded. (They happen to be Neocons, where Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle developed their ideas for PNAC and the Bush Doctrine working for Netanyahu).

Others called his speech over-the-top and counterproductive.

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Aaron David Miller, a former American peace negotiator now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, said Mr. Trump “awkwardly tried to reconcile” his nationalist approach with the international orientation of the United Nations. “President Trump’s speech was a confusing hodgepodge of tropes, themes and threats that made one unmistakable point: there is no coherent Trump Doctrine,” he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hinted on Monday about the existence of military options on North Korea that might spare Seoul from a brutal counterattack but declined to say what kind of options he was talking about or whether they involved the use of lethal force. Mattis hints at military options on North Korea but offers no details:

Any conflict on the Korean peninsula could easily result in a degree of bloodshed unseen since the 1950-53 Korean War, which claimed the lives of more than 50,000 Americans and millions of Koreans and ended in an armed truce, not a peace treaty.

Seoul is within artillery range of North Korea, which beyond nuclear and conventional weapons is also believed to have a sizable chemical and biological arsenal.

Asked whether there were any military options the United States could take with North Korea that would not put Seoul at grave risk, Mattis said: “Yes there are. But I will not go into details.”

Pressed on whether that might include so-called “kinetic” options that use lethal force, Mattis said: “I don’t want to go into that.”

“Kinetic action” is a euphemism to describe lethal military force.

Military options available to Trump range from non-lethal actions like a naval blockade aimed at enforcing sanctions to waging cyber attacks and positioning new U.S. weaponry in South Korea, where the United States has 28,500 troops.

South Korea has raised the possibility of reintroducing nuclear weapons to the peninsula. Mattis acknowledged discussing that with his South Korean counterpart but declined to say whether that option was under consideration.

* * *

Still, despite heated rhetoric and posturing in the United States and North Korea, there has been no positioning of U.S. military assets to suggest a military conflict is imminent.

* * *

[Unlike U.N.Ambassador Nikki Haley], Mattis told reporters that he believed diplomacy and sanctions were so far succeeding in putting more pressure on Pyongyang.

“So, yes, it’s working,” he said.

Even as tensions rise, the United States and its allies have stuck to a hands-off policy when North Korea test-fires its missiles. Mattis confirmed that policy on Monday, saying it would not shoot down a North Korean missile unless it poses a direct threat to the United States or its allies.

He said Pyongyang’s calculus appeared to be designed to race forward with its missile program, “without going over some kind of a line in their minds that would make them vulnerable.”

North Korea has an estimated population of over 24 million inhabitants … just so you know how many people Trump considers acceptable casualties when he threatens to “totally destroy North Korea.” And this does not include the casualties that are certain to occur in South Korea –where  over 10 million reside in Seoul alone — and possibly Japan and Guam. Any military action may draw bordering countries China and Russia into the conflict. Russia and China are holding joint naval drills amid North Korea tensions.

11 Responses to Donald Trump beats the drums of war at the United Nations

  1. For Sure Not Tom

    While Trump reads whatever the White Nationalists put in front of him, SoS Tillerson has been busy decimating the State Department.

    You know what America’s generals call the State Department?

    Cheap peace.

    Threatening the DPRK and Venezuela at the UN is stupid on an epic scale.

    • “Threatening the DPRK and Venezuela at the UN is stupid on an epic scale.”

      Why? What makes it “stupid on an epic acale”?

      • For Sure Not Tom

        I don’t know, Steve, I thought you posted something similar a month or so ago.

        This is why you are a hated troll, you just ask stupid questions for the sake of getting people riled up.

        After you gave me the lecture the other day about being nicer, it’s disappointing.

        • “I don’t know, Steve, I thought you posted something similar a month or so ago.”

          No, I don’t think so, Tom, and certainly not in terms of his mentioning it in a speech before the United Nations. In all honesty, I think it is a little silly for Trump to continue going around threatening North Korea all the time. It is an excessive amount of bluster since I think Trump has gotten his point across. But I think Trump specifically mentioning these rogue countries in his UN speech was actually a good thing.

          “…you just ask stupid questions for the sake of getting people riled up.”

          No, that isn’t what I was doing. I was genuinely curious why you thought Trump mentioning North Korea and Venezuela (and Iran, I assume) was “stupid on an epic scale”. I wasn’t trying to embarrass you or being provocative, I wanted to know why you thought it was a mistake? We may not get along, Tom, but you have a sharp mind and a keen eye for detail. I thought there might something I was overlooking that could make me see things differently.

          “After you gave me the lecture the other day about being nicer, it’s disappointing.”

          I suspect I will disappoint you a lot. It won’t be intentional, but I think simply disagreeing on some subjects can cause that sort of intellectual friction. But as I continue to go back to the person I once was, I am finding it is much more pleasant to post messages. I am not looking for that nastiest jab or insult and that is really refreshing. I prefer discussing the content and arguing. Perhaps nothing is learned, but there is always a chance I will learn something new or see things from a different perspective. There are some smart people on this blog and it would be foolish to ignore them just to score a point or hurt their feelings.

          Besides, I thought I phrased the question in a very polite and respectful manner. Am I wrong? Did it come across as mean or nasty?

  2. Trump is just a Vietnam era draft dodging coward who want to play at being a warlord.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      He’s also a guy who likes to hit back twice as hard.

      In a Twitter battle with Rosie O’Donnell, I think that’s childish, from the White House it’s reckless.

      • “He’s also a guy who likes to hit back twice as hard.”

        I think that is a rather good idea. Playing tit for tat in armed conflict is pointless and only prolongs the conflict. A hard counterpunch, with readiness to administer more such punches, is a much better response.

        • You haven’t been watching the documentary on Vietnam, have you!?

          • “You haven’t been watching the documentary on Vietnam, have you!?”

            No, I have DVRing them for a marathon session later. However, I am rather familiar with the Viet Nam story and feel any comparison between it and North Korea is seriously flawed. There are several reasons I say this, among which are:
            • One was a war of defense (Viet Nam) and the other would be a war of offense (North Korea);
            • The tactics used would very different because North Korea has nukes;
            • We tried fighting in Viet Nam by World War Two standards which is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Today, the military has changed it’s entire focus from large scale, set piece battles, to smaller, rapid, more fluid actions using troops specifically trained in the use of combined arms tactics;
            • I believe the provocation required to start a war in North Korea would quickly, if not immediately, call for the use of nukes (both tactical and strategic)
            • The technological aspects of war fighting has changed completely in the 40+ years since Viet Nam; and,
            • The “defeatist” attitude that plagued our military after Viet Nam is long gone. Today we have a disciplined, well equipped, well trained, and formidable force that is probably the best in the world.

            For some reason, since we “lost” the war in Viet Nam, many Americans assume that we cannot fight wars anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our ability to fight a war and remain flexible in doing so is astounding. No, we didn’t lose the War, we simply chose to walk away and betray an Ally.

    • “Trump is just a Vietnam era draft dodging coward…

      That is an accusation that can be made of many people in my generation, on both sides of the political spectrum. Many of them went on to become chicken hawks and see nothing wrong with waging war after they went to such extremes to avoid “their war”. You can use it as an attack point but it applies to so many people that it just doesn’t carry the weight I think it should. The truth is that the only time it seems to matter is when a person from the other side of the aisle is being attacked, then we all become ardent armchair warriors and defenders of the flag. I guess that is human nature…

  3. There should not be any surprise at Trump taking a hard stance in his UN speech. As is the case with all of his speeches, he said what was on his mind and told the bad guys in the world that they are bad guys, which is why so many people are expressing surprise at the speech. Presidents are not supposed to speak plainly. They are supposed to couch their terms in soothing phrases that hide the real meaning of what they were saying. That isn’t Trump’s method or his preference.

    Does his speech mean we are teetering on the edge of war? I don’t think so because I really don’t think Trump wants war. He talks freely about it, but I just don’t think it is in his heart. By the same token, I don’t think he is a President that should be trifled with. Just as he speaks his mind, I think he means what he says.

    We live in interesting times.