“The calm before the storm”

The last time I checked, government is supposed to be transparent, not cryptic. 

Since Trump was installed in the White House, the news coming out of it is embedded in the music you hear when you turn the crank of a jack-in-the-box. You know it’s going to pop, but you don’t know when, so you always flinch when it does.

I’m not sure that anyone looks for cliffhanger statements by the president. When it comes to what the government is doing, no one is looking to be surprised. For the past week, I’ve been turning on the news after I get up with a great deal of dread, wondering if we’ve gone to war with North Korea. Did millions of people die while I was asleep?

The president’s Twitter assault on North Korea is supremely dangerous. The president either doesn’t understand the weight of the words the president utters, or he doesn’t care. The North Koreans have proven time and again that they’re not wrapped too tight, and they increasingly feel like they’ve got their backs to the wall. Millions of people could die in a matter of hours. The eventual body count would be something Adolph Hitler would envy.

We’re assuming the other nuclear powers won’t get involved. That’s a big assumption, given how Russia and China are both stakeholders in the North Korean geopolitical issue.

Regional wars have a way of expanding beyond their original scope. The Vietnam War spread to the countries surrounding Vietnam. You could make an argument that it spread to the streets of America in a social anti-establishment revolution. Things were pretty chaotic until Ronald Reagan was elected president, and the national dialogue was turned toward the Soviet Union. ISIS is a regional conflict, but now they’re doing their very best to export and expand their war with terror attacks.

Can there really be something like a limited nuclear exchange? If the Japanese had had the bomb, would they have hesitated to use it in response to the bombing of Hiroshima? Would they have hesitated to use it on Pearl Harbor, an attack that was designed as a surgical strike to destroy the Pacific fleet and America’s ability to make war?

No one believes that the continental United States is in danger of being nuked. We’re not seeing nearly the urgency that the Cuban missile crisis generated. That doesn’t necessarily make us safe. Let’s say there is a limited nuclear exchange on the Korean peninsula. There will be radiation, and as long as the wind blows, it will be a global issue. There is no one born after the first nuclear test who doesn’t have strontium-90 in their bones. This was an unintended consequence. It’s probably safe to assume that a nuclear conflict, no matter how contained, will have unintended consequences of more import than strontium-90.

The president needs to be straight and direct with the American people and the world.

 

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