KEVIN LEVY, PUSHING FORWARD
International relations is hard. Balancing American national priorities against nearly 200 foreign focuses is un-shockingly difficult. That’s why, at any given point, the President of the United States is surrounded by dozens of knowledgeable foreign policy officials who have the bona fides to deal with international crises as they fester. The President needs sound advice as no one person can be an expert in all subjects, and the stakes of foreign policy can be extremely high.
But President Trump hasn’t actually surrounded himself with the storied individuals of foreign policy renown. Aside from John Kelly, his latest Chief of Staff who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a four star General, most of President Trump’s confidants are political sycophants who thrive in their bickering fiefdoms. Recently, President Trump hasn’t shown that he’s willing to change with a new chief of staff in town. Aside from firing Anthony Scaramucci, the latest to go in this episode of Celebrity Appresident, ostensibly nothing has changed in the Trump White House.
Last Wednesday, President Trump began his morning saber rattling with an ominous tweet: “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before….”
Nothing was truncated in the above tweet. The President of the United States finished a tweet about nuclear weapons in the midst of the modern Cuban Missile Crisis with an elongated ellipses. Who knew what he was going to tweet next?
“….and that’s why I’m going to nuke North Korea to demonstrate our power.”
No one knew. For seven minutes, the world waited, some (including myself), in horror of what the President might gruffly tweet. He finally finished his thought with: “…Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”
Luckily for us (and the world writ large), the President of the United States and leader of the free world acknowledged that nuclear war was a big deal and noted that nuclear weapons are built to never be used (although Trump reportedly previously asked why the United States built nukes if we didn’t want to use them and Trump subsequently denied that report). But this isn’t the first time that President Trump left the world on a cliff hanger. When the President tweeted that he would cruelly ban all transgender troops from serving in the military regardless of whether they sought reassignment surgery, he left out what the White House policy would be until the second tweet.
President Trump has demonstrated that he is a street fighter who is willing to trade punches with whomever steps into the ring with him (except….). Trump has also shown his willingness to engage in all-out twitter wars with his political opponents, be they comedienne Rosie O’Donnell, all Democrats generically, or Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. At what point will Donald Trump respond to a threat over Twitter with actual military force?
For over a year now, Americans have appreciated that Donald Trump says what he means. But his bluster and recent callous statements (see “fire and fury”) regarding the ongoing crisis with North Korea calls into question his seriousness and competence to facedown a nuclear threat. Is the President going to tweet us into a war with North Korea? Honestly, who knows. But one thing is certain: He will retweet Fox & Friends several times before he does.
[Editor’s Note]: On the morning of Friday, August 11, 2017, @realDonaldTrump tweeted: “Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” He’s definitely going to tweet us into a war.