Well. My vacation begins on Friday evening at 6:01PM PDT. And it looks like it's going to be one fraught with peril.
First, we were greeted with the news that US analysts believe North Korea has achieved the technology to miniaturize nuclear warheads so as to put them on the tip of ICBMs.
This is frightening enough. Even if the analysis is off, there's not doubt that the Kim regime is accelerating both its nuclear and missile programs. Any president, whether Barack Obama or an imagined Hillary Clinton, would have a tough nugget to crack with a paranoiac regime.
However, we have neither former Pres. Obama nor Secretary Clinton at the helm today. Instead we have someone who responded to North Korea's threats with this:
Needless to say, this is beyond terrifying. The "leader" of the world's most powerful nuclear state threatens nuclear war on another country not as a retaliatory measure, but as a preemptive one to "more threats". He is basically promising to use nuclear weapons first.
This is bigger than North Korea. This upends decades of nuclear policy. The United States has always averred that it won't be the first to employ nuclear weapons in a conflict, that the US nuclear arsenal was a deterrent and a retaliatory force. Now, in a show of impotent bravado, this man has thrown that out the window. He didn't threaten the Kim regime with a retaliatory response, but with a preemptive measure. One can be sure that states like Russia and China are paying attention; if he can make such a threat to Kim, their nuclear arsenals cease to be a deterrent.
If the situation in the South China Sea deteriorates, or if Russia enlarges its presence in Ukraine, what is to keep those leaders from turning to the nuclear option first, now that American policy appears to be a first strike posture? In seeking to look "tough", this man has in fact upset decades of carefully balanced policy. The careful belief that none of the major nuclear states would be mad enough to initiate a nuclear attack has just been shredded to tatters. What this man's statement just did was indicate that he is more than willing to initiate a nuclear war.
We are beyond niceties. He was already a threat to the state's democratic fabric. Now he is a direct threat to the state's national security. For there is nothing so central in the 21st century to a state like the US than questions of nuclear war.
Remember, this was all brought about because enough people on the right wanted to undo the eight years under Barack Obama. And because enough people on the left believed the image which fronts this piece, and were too pure to allow their franchise to be sullied by "wasting" it on someone less than perfect. A Pres. Clinton would be faced with the same conundrums on North Korea. But she also wouldn't threaten a premeditated nuclear attack on another people. We are now in this situation through malice and sheer sophistry. The idea that "both parties are the same" has brought us to a pass where a supposed president of the United States blurts out a threat of a nuclear first-strike.
There's a reckoning coming. It's one of our own making. May the whirlwind be brief.