Trump’s Threats

Rather than citing any particular story, I’m just going to comment on President Trump’s threats against North Korea overall. As I presume you’re aware on Wednesday President Trump threatened North Korea with a severe U. S. response if North Korea were to attack Guam. He used the phrase “fire and fury as the world has never seen”. Yesterday he reiterated the threat, suggesting that if anything he’d understated the U. S. response.

Reactions to President Trump’s statements have largely been along Trump supporter-“never Trump” lines. Trump supporters have lauded Trump’s language and assertiveness (particularly by comparison with President Obama) while NeverTrumpers have condemned them as part of a pattern of hollow threats, war-mongering, etc.

Contrary to what some of his supporters have claimed, President Trump clearly has drawn a “red line” and not following through with it will further weaken U. S. deterrence.

As I’ve said before, I don’t believe in threats, especially by the United States. Threats are for the weak. The U. S. military’s overwhelming power is such that if the fact of that power is not enough, threats are extraneous. If potential enemies don’t believe the power, they won’t believe the threats, either.

2 comments… add one
  • Guarneri

    I’m not sure who is claiming its not a red line. That’s exactly what it is. If NK lobs missiles at Guam, Japan, or the US what, exactly, would anyone expect, a stern expression of disappointment?

    As for threats, I don’t profess to be an expert in international diplomacy, but I doubt silence followed by a first action of incinerating NK would be looked at favorably. In any negotiation I’ve been involved with, after the initial posturing, the parties usually get serious and indicate their boundaries. All parties of course know their relative capabilities, strengths and weaknesses going in, they are just communicating their limits, which are situational.

  • Andy

    I’m not worried about the rhetoric per se, it’s the opportunity for miscalculation and escalation that concerns me.

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