Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Charlottesville and North Korea

Donald Trump's first comment about Charlottesville was that despicable comment about "many sides," in which he refused to call out white supremacist terrorism for what it is.  He needed two days of prodding for that to happen.  We all know why, and now he's sulking about the negative press he has been getting over it, because as we know, press coverage is the only thing that truly matters to Trump.

But did you notice something?  While this has been happening, did you notice what Trump hasn't been doing?  He hasn't been talking about "fire and fury" with North Korea.

To be sure, the North Korea situation is not resolved.  That will take time and diplomacy.  However, diplomacy can't happen as long as Trump keeps trying to out-crazy the North Koreans.

North Korea understands the logic of Thomas Schelling.  I keep writing about The Strategy of Conflict, and they get it.  You need to act like you might just be crazy enough to carry out a threat that would be self-destructive to carry out.  But, the benefit comes from being sane and acting crazy.  I keep hammering this point in because it is critical, and it was central to the "Political science and craziness" series.  So, what North Korea always does is rattle its sabre, and act like just maybe, they might launch a crazy attack, leaving just enough doubt that other countries give them food, fuel, etc., because they are dirt poor, and since they have nukes, nobody sane would dare attack them.  We've seen this before.  Anyone with a brain knows how North Korean sabre-rattling plays out.  That's why Guam shouldn't really be worried.

The problem is Trump.  Is Trump smart enough to understand this?  No.  Trump can't think himself out of a paper bag.  He'll just yell at the paper bag, call it a "loser," and, "third rate."  Any bag with any self-respect is plastic!  You're a loser, bag!  And low energy!

Then, he'll sob in the corner about his inability to get out of the bag, and probably blame some Mexicans.  Or, maybe the "fake news" is only pretending that the bag exists.  He's not in the bag!  You're in the bag!  It's a big bag, reversed!  And everyone's in the bag but Trump!

OK, that metaphor went on longer than I expected.  Point being, Trump is... not smart.  The "fire and fury" stuff was not smart.  There is nothing to be gained by escalating rhetoric with North Korea.  They aren't going to fire a missile at Guam first.  Why?  Because Kim Jong Un doesn't want to be wiped off the map, and if he shot that missile, he'd be signing his own death warrant.

The question has been whether or not Trump was psyching himself up for a pre-emptive strike.

And now he's distracted!

I'm going to be blunt and crass about this because I'm me.  There is a silver lining to Charlottesville.  It has distracted Trump from North Korea.  The more he shifts his attention away from North Korea and towards how persecuted he feels by the media over his connections to the white supremacist movement (e.g. Bannon, Gorka) and his history of cozying up to racists, the more he, by necessity, shifts his limited cognitive capacity away from North Korea and lets the grown-ups handle that situation.

That's a good thing.  Comparatively.

Charlottesville was vile.  The KKK, neo-nazis and other white supremacists are feeling free to come out of the woodwork because they are emboldened by Donald Trump.  Just ask David Duke.  He's quite open about it.  More people are probably going to die.

At least Trump is distracted from North Korea, though.  This is how this world doesn't end.  Yay?


  1. A preemptive strike preempts something.

    Trump attacking North Korea would just be lashing out.

    1. If he believes he is pre-empting something, wrongly or not, the logic holds. At this point, we are debating how to interpret the inner-workings of the defective cluster of cells known as the Trump-brain.