Given that North Korea has set off another ICBM test and President Trump, in response, told reporters that he will take care of things, here is a sobering thought from Daniel Ellsberg in a recent interview with Richard Perlstein for Esquire:
Daniel Ellsberg became a household name—and, according to Henry Kissinger, “the most dangerous man in America”—in 1971, when he leaked the Pentagon Papers, a massive study of how the U. S. blundered in Vietnam that Ellsberg himself had helped compile as a RAND Corporation analyst. But before he was a disillusioned expert on Vietnam, he was a disillusioned expert on America’s “command and control” structure for nuclear war. He tells the story in his new book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner (Bloomsbury), a groundbreaking and nightmare-inducing account of how the whole mad system works. Esquire spoke to him this fall, just after Donald Trump began tweeting threats to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and just before Senator Bob Corker warned that the president might be leading us toward World War III...And here is Ellsberg on the problem with Trump's response:
: The war games we run against North Korea, which have been leaked, are always described as involving “decapitation.” And there have been news stories about the South Koreans developing a special “decapitation team.” Now, what can we expect? First, we can be virtually certain that Kim Jong Un has made provisions so that it would not paralyze his system just to kill him. That’s true of every nuclear state. But now let me add something that’s much less obvious. I’m pretty convinced—this is speculation, but it’s based on history and experience—that Kim has, in fact, also made provisions for massive retaliation if he is killed. A “dead hand” system.
: The American people are being led to believe that they have to fear a surprise attack from Kim, which is crazy. It would be an act of self- annihilation if he did that. What he wants is a deterrent. Trump is threatening to do something crazy. Now, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that it’s totally incredible. Both sides are cultivating an image of impulsivity and backing it up with a readiness to use massive force. It really does have a chance of blowing up, and that’s the theme of my book. We should not be talking about or threatening or preparing to go to war against Kim Jong Un any more than he should be preparing to go to war against us. What does that leave? Negotiation.Trump is going to get us all killed. If Defense Secretary James Mattis is to be believed, this test shows that Kim can hit any spot on the planet.