Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Trump's Very Dangerous Infatuation with the Military

The Hill  in an article titled, Trump needs to stop taking all of his advice from the military, is correct when it writes:
 [T]here is a danger in this “Trumpian” reliance on military advice...
As I have previously pointed out, President Trump has military men at the top of the State Department and the Defense Department and his chief of staff is a military man. This is alarming. It should send a chill up your spine.

The Hill correctly comments:
When you have a hammer, as the old canard says, everything begins to look like a nail — and the United States military is the largest, most capable, and most expensive hammer in the world. If Trump continues to prioritize and indeed defer the military as the guidepost of his foreign policy, he will tend to receive military answers to problems that demand more varied solutions. Herein lies real danger to American security interests.

This dynamic was on display last week in comments from Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who on Saturday publicly pushed for serious consideration of U.S. military intervention in North Korea. “Many people have talked about military options with words like ‘unimaginable,’” Dunford said. "I would probably shift that slightly and say it would be horrific, and it would be a loss of life unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes, and I mean anyone who's been alive since World War II has never seen the loss of life that could occur if there's a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.”

"But as I've told my counterparts, both friend and foe," he continued, "it is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability. What's unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colorado. That's unimaginable to me. So my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn't happen.”

It is important to realize what Dunford is saying here. He is not describing military readiness to defend the United States in the event Pyongyang shoots a nuke at Denver. He is talking about preventive war, a military intervention of the United States’ initiation.

The only wisdom in these remarks is Dunford’s admission that such a war would be “horrific.” Mattis has rightly predicted a "catastrophic" outcome in a preventive attack on North Korea with "the worst kind of fighting in most people's lifetimes." These descriptions are, if anything, an understatement of the risks — nuclear strikes, chemical and biological warfare, major power conflict with China, and more — associated with following Dunford’s advice.
And to think this sits as an option when "dealmaker" Trump hasn't even invited Kim Jong un to the White House to attempt to talk him down.


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