Donald Trump's aggressive and "childlike" tweets in response to North Korea's missile tests could have actual and deadly consequences.
Donald Trump decided to respond to North Korea’s latest provocative missile test with a tweet, highlighting his aggressive approach to the foreign policy issue that could lead to a dangerous and deadly fallout.
Trump tweeted ironically, “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” He added, “Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”
The flippant and militant tone is a departure from the Obama administration, which criticized the regime but did not push for military conflict. Former President Barack Obama warned Trump during the presidential transition that North Korea would be the most urgent problem he faced.
Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” described the tweets from Trump as “childlike,” noting, “They can’t be thought out.”
Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at both the Department of Defense and the CIA, said that Trump’s comment on China’s role “could be read in Pyongyang as, ‘We’re coming after you in terms of regime change.'”
BASH: One of the phrases from the tweet really stuck out at me, which is he wants China to, quote, “end this nonsense once and for all.” I think that could be read in Pyongyang as, “We’re coming after you in terms of regime change.” I think Kim Jong-un probably has calculated that Donald Trump wants him removed from power, and so he’s going to accelerate his missile capability. They’ve learned so much, not just from their launches, but also from their failures, and they are going to continue to accelerate it and miniaturize that nuclear weapon. They’ve now shown that they can put a missile on America’s doorsteps, so this is a dangerous cycle.
Despite Trump’s bellicose language toward North Korea, the real world consequences of military action would be enormous and dangerous. Trump’s own secretary of Defense, James Mattis, said a North Korean response to military action on the peninsula “would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.”
Former Defense Secretary William J. Perry pulled away from plans for a surgical strike on North Korea because he concluded such an action would trigger warfare that could lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
Trump continues to bang the war drums on North Korea, and his Twitter tirades show he hasn’t put much thought into the possible fallout and consequences.