“Locked and loaded”? This macho shit is insane. I don’t even know what that means.
LATE UPDATE FROM AN AFTERNOON PRESS CONFERENCE:
Trump says "it's pretty obvious" what "locked and loaded" means. "Those words are very very easy to understand."
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) August 11, 2017
Look, giving Trump credit which he doesn’t deserve, he COULD be acting that madman. Nixon and Kissinger did that with Vietnam — Kissinger would go to the North Vietnamese and say “Hey, you better back down because I can’t control the President and how knows what the fuck he’ll do” or words to that effect. So some have speculated that Trump is playing that game.
The problem is… we don’t have a Kissinger. In fact, we don’t have that much of a diplomatic corps at all. Trump has gutted it, or plans to.
Also, Trump, whether he intends it or not, is drawing a red line in the sand. And he might have to back up his words with action someday — a situation he is not accustomed to.
Past presidents have sent warnings to Kim Jong Un, just not through Twitter. Between them and the UN (which just passed huge sanctions), that has avoided war. I’m not sure Trump is interested in avoiding war.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Defense accused the United States of stirring regional conflict and suggested that such operations bolstered China’s case for building military facilities across the sea to defend its claimed territory. Vietnam, the Philippines and other governments also claim islands and adjacent waters in the sea.
“We strongly urge the United States to immediately mend its ways and end illegal provocations in the name of so-called freedom of navigation,” Senior Col. Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defense, said on its website on Friday. “The American military provocation will only induce the Chinese military to further build up various defensive capacities.”
But in an editorial, The Global Times said China should make it clear to both sides: “when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand.”
“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” it added. “If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”
And Homeland Security in Guam sent out this disturbing bulletin to civilians. The advice includes tips such as: “Do not look at the flash or fireball – It can blind you” and “Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.”
Is there anyone DE-escalating this thing? Apparently so….
WASHINGTON (AP) — Beyond the bluster, the Trump administration has been quietly engaged in back channel diplomacy with North Korea for several months, addressing Americans imprisoned in the communist country and deteriorating relations between the long-time foes, The Associated Press has learned.
It had been known the two sides had discussions to secure the June release of an American university student. But it wasn’t known until now that the contacts have continued, or that they have broached matters other than U.S. detainees.
People familiar with the contacts say the interactions have done nothing thus far to quell tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile advances, which are now fueling fears of military confrontation. But they say the behind-the-scenes discussions could still be a foundation for more serious negotiation, including on North Korea’s nuclear weapons, should President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un put aside the bellicose rhetoric of recent days and endorse a dialogue.
… but I wish I had more confidence on who they are and where they are getting their marching orders from.