As tensions with North Korea reach their peak, Donald Trump’s trigger finger gets itchier.
Two days ago, Donald Trump hinted at nuclear war.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” the president told reporters at his golf club retreat in Bedminster, N.J. “They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
Trump’s impromptu “fire and fury” comment was met with sharp criticism from national security and foreign policy experts, who are now reaping the fallout of the commander-in-chief’s loud mouth. The threat was not scripted as part of his prepared statement, which contained notes on the opioid epidemic—not North Korea.
But Trump seems relatively oblivious that his words and actions affect others. The following day, Trump doubled down on his threats toward the foreign regime as he readies the U.S. military for catastrophic warfare.
“It’s the first time they’ve heard it like they heard it,” Trump said of the North Korean government. “And frankly, the people that were questioning that statement, ‘Was it too tough?’ Maybe it wasn’t tough enough.”
Nonetheless, top-level U.S. government officials were quick to dismantle Trump’s comments.
“I take exception to the President’s comments because you’ve got to be sure that you can do what you say you’re going to do,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in an interview with Phoenix radio station KTAR. “The great leaders I’ve seen don’t threaten unless they’re ready to act and I’m not sure President Trump is ready to act.”
But if Trump’s most recent actions are any indicator, he’s ready to push the nation into nuclear warfare overseas.
What’s Happening Now:
The past week has been a series of heated exchanges between Trump and the North Korean media, who recently characterized the U.S. as “no more than a lump which we can beat to a jelly any time.”
As per usual, Trump aired his grievances on Twitter.
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017
The tweet addressed North Korea’s recent threat to attack Guam should the U.S. choose to preemptively strike.
“We’re backed 100 percent by our military. We’re backed by everybody,” Trump assured reporters Wednesday.
Spoiler alert: We’re not.
On Friday, Chinese state media warned that it would defend North Korea if the U.S. strikes first. To put that threat into perspective, bear in mind that China has the second-largest defense budget in the world.
Instead of heeding the warning, Trump retweeted the U.S. Pacific Command, who showed off pictures of B-1B Lancer bombers and expressed their readiness to fight.
— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) August 11, 2017
The threat of war is so imminent, even Russia is worried. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the risks of military confrontation are “very high, especially given this rhetoric, [when] direct threats of using force are being made.”
“When it actually comes to a fight, the [country] that is stronger and smarter should take the first step away from the dangerous line,” said Lavrov.
The president clearly draws joy from taunting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. But Trump is poking a bear who’s arguably more volatile than himself—and he’s doing so at our expense.