Tillerson Backtracks Trump

-->
Trump Maladministration

Yesterday the so-called president threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” if it made any more threats against the U.S. A few hours later, North Korea responded by saying it was considering a strike (one assumes a nuclear one) on Guam, which is overrun with U.S. military bases. Trump hasn’t directly responded to that, I don’t think, proving once again that what he’s not a man of his word.

Greg Sargent writes that Max Tillerson has more or less pulled back Trump’s “red line.”

Tillerson also sought to reassure Americans by saying this:

“I think what the president was just reaffirming is that the United States has the capability to fully defend itself from any attack, and our allies, and we will do so. So the American people should sleep well at night.”

Tillerson also said “the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime that the U.S. has the unquestionable ability to defend itself … and its allies.” But that subtly — and meaningfully — shifts the red line Trump drew.

Other reactions to Trump’s “fire and fury” talk:

John Cassidy:

Within minutes, news of Trump’s words had gone around the world. They were met with a mixture of astonishment, alarm, and gallows humor. “Look on the bright side: compared to the coming thermonuclear inferno, global warming will seem quite pleasant,” Paul Begala, the Democratic strategist, said on Twitter. In a similar vein, Ross Douthat, the Times columnist, tweeted, “Nuclear war Twitter will be the best Twitter.” Psychologists tell us that laughing is often a way to deal with stress and to downplay dangerous situations. Indeed, the neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran has theorized that laughter developed as a way for early humans to signal to their kin, “Don’t waste your precious resources on this situation; it’s a false alarm.” Hopefully, Trump’s use of this bellicose rhetoric was such an instance, but it’s hard to be sure. It’s not even clear what he was trying to say. …

…In light of Tillerson’s stance, a charitable interpretation of Trump words is that the Secretary of State and the President are doing a good-cop, bad-cop routine, and that Trump’s statement was part of a coördinated effort to persuade the North Korean dictator to change course. On Tuesday, the North Korean Foreign Minister said that his government would never agree to negotiate about its nuclear weapons. And a North Korean news agency responded to the United Nations’ recent imposition of new economic sanctions by saying, “Strategic steps accompanied by physical action will be taken mercilessly.”

Threats are the only way Trump knows how to relate to people. But threatening someone like Kim Jong Un is counterproductive; it just makes him less likely to cooperate. KJU and DJT are like two little boys taunting each other; neither will back down. The adults have to step in and stop them, if there are any adults.

Josh Marshall reminds us that much of the difficulty we’re having with North Korea now is the fault of George W. Bush, who unnecessarily inflamed relations with North Korea to score political points at home. I wrote about this back in 2005; see “Blame Bush for North Korea’s Nukes.” Dubya also tried talking tough about North Korea, and this made a dicey situation much worse.

As Josh Marshall points out, North Korea has a pattern of using “menacing or destabilizing actions to extract aid from great powers.” Four days ago the UN hit North Korea with a bunch of new sanctions. Kim John Un has tantrums and makes threats; like Trump, that seems to be his only foreign relations tool. I don’t see any solution here, other than hoping the boys get tired of taunting and go take naps.

Share Button
10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Ten Bears  •  Aug 9, 2017 @5:03 pm

    Actually, frying in a thermonuclear conflagration would be far less discomforting than suffocating in our own flatulence.

  2. Swami  •  Aug 9, 2017 @5:59 pm

    I don’t think, proving once again that what he’s not a man of his word.

    He’s a big bag of shit… one of the major indentifying characteristics of being a big bag of shit is having no substance behind your words. I think Trumpty Dumpty is going to have a great fall.
    The bigger they think they are the harder they fall!

  3. Swami  •  Aug 9, 2017 @7:26 pm

    As Josh Marshall points out, North Korea has a pattern of using “menacing or destabilizing actions to extract aid from great powers.”

    Sorta like the Mouse that Roared?

  4. aj  •  Aug 9, 2017 @7:28 pm

    male hormone problem

  5. Swami  •  Aug 9, 2017 @8:26 pm

    …In light of Tillerson’s stance, a charitable interpretation of Trump words is that the Secretary of State and the President are doing a good-cop, bad-cop routine, and that Trump’s statement was part of a coördinated effort to persuade the North Korean dictator to change course.

    That’s way way too charitable of an interpretation. A better interpretation would be that Tillerson is tasked with cleaning up the mess after the man-baby shits all over the world stage. The groom of the stool.
    I’m no psychologist, but I know the hallmarks of an immature and frustrated man – baby when he’s confronted with dealing with his powerlessness.
    I know from my own childhood experience of dealing with powerlessness the utterly stupid things you say in order to effect some degree of power and control over a situation..For me it was: “I’m going to hold my breath until I die if I don’t get what I want, and then you’ll sorry that you didn’t give in to me!” It will be your fault that I died.
    Look at the situation in Afghanistan…Trump says we’re not winning so he want to fire the General who is currently sitting in the hot seat. If Trump was doing his job he’d assess the situation and accept the responsibility of deciding what course of action to take to make winning possible. Maybe he would even realize it’s not a winnable situation or come to understand the objective that winning would entail.
    Trump is just a big bag of shit numskull. And the sooner he’s out of office the better off we’re gonna be.

  6. Ed  •  Aug 9, 2017 @8:59 pm

    The White House later explained that the president was not speaking for the Trump administration.

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 9, 2017 @9:01 pm

    At this point, I’m thinking of praying to Ctulhu and the FSM for that thermo-nuclear war, just so that I don’t have to hear-RUMPLE-THIN-sKKKin’s voice anymore!

    Well, this is the drama-queen and assKKKlown you fucking stupid, ignorant, bigoted nit/half/dim/fuck-witted White “Christian” crackers picked to replace the nice, calm, super-smart, family-oriented black guy instead of the nice, calm, super-smart, family-oriented (yes,she was and is all of these things – after all, she ‘Stood By Her Man’).
    So my message to you, is to go fuck yourself in every orifice with white-hot fishing lures!

  8. Lynne  •  Aug 9, 2017 @10:39 pm

    Apparently, the “fire and fury” speechlet was off the cuff – people attending (including Presidential staff) had expected a statement on the opiod problem. God help us.

  9. Dennis  •  Aug 10, 2017 @9:30 am

    His staff is trying to reassure everyone and downplay the “fire and fury” statement by telling us, “It was impromptu, and hadn’t been thought out.” That’s reassuring? Hell, THAT’S the scary part!

  10. elkern  •  Aug 10, 2017 @10:26 am

    Perversely, Trump is uniquely qualified to negotiate with Kim Jong Un.

    The “Adults in the Room” (ie, at Foreign Policy mag) have long understood the problem with NK: finding a way to give NK’s leaders/elite a better option than…
    1. Maintaining power in a failing State (big fish in little puddle)
    2. Death

    So, just give KJU a contract for a new Pyongyang Trump Tower, a Reality Show (co-starring Dennis Rodman!), and some Ukrainian “bodyguards”.

    Who but Trump could close THAT deal?

Leave a Reply

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



    About this blog

    About Maha
    Comment Policy

    Vintage Mahablog
    Email Me
















    eXTReMe Tracker













      Technorati Profile