Preemptive strike against North Korea?

The nuclear ogre has been sleeping in his cave since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That’s a long time, so it’s no surprise that small minds like Trump have forgotten or purposely ignored how terribly destructive that nuclear ogre was. Of course, awakening the ogre is the kind of blustery threat Narcissus le Grand likes to make. This pathetic man believes that like-minded tyrants will bow down before him because he controls the mighty nuclear arsenal of the U.S. His restrained use of Tomahawks against Assad in retaliation for the Syrian despot’s use of sarin gas shows he’s not reluctant to end his isolationist policies and shoot off missiles. How far will he go?

My first criticism: U.S. leaders have NO business talking about preemptive strikes. Their cause must be geared to sanity in this insane nuclear world, setting an example for the rest of the nations and their leaders. Emboldened by Trump’s rhetoric perhaps, India is talking about preemptive strikes. Against Pakistan? Against other non-Hindu ethnic groups? Will Israel unleash the nuclear ogre on Iran—or vice versa? North Korea against South Korea? Right now North Korean missiles can’t reach the U.S. mainland, but that can change. They can easily reach Japan and South Korea, though. That ogre owes no allegiance to any nation and is indifferent about which one he gnaws on. His only goal when awake is to fill his maws with human beings.

I’m in agreement with Il Duce’s limited response toward Syria’s Assad with respect to the sarin gas attack. It followed seven years of frustrating attempts at a diplomatic solution complicated by Russia’s entry into the foray into the skirmish on the side of the Syrian despot. In 2013, we thought Assad got rid of his chemical weapons—obviously he didn’t. The attack on that little Syrian town was obviously his tactic for determining how far he could go, so the measured response was correct. Whether this will keep him from using such weapons again—I would have liked to see all his airfields destroyed for that reason—and it might drive the particulars back to the diplomatic table, no one can predict what Trump will do in the future. Will he shake his nuclear stick at Assad now? What will Russia, Iran, and the various terrorist groups do in response?

Tyrants like Trump aren’t known for their diplomacy. In Trump’s case, that’s ironic because he and his minions are often touting his skills using that infamous “Art of the Deal.” So far in his administration, he has only governed like a tyrant with his executive orders, the one move against Assad being a notable exception. Even the latter bypassed Congress, and those executive orders tend to get bogged down in the court system. There is no deal making whatsoever (so far his healthcare wheeling and dealing has flopped because he can’t get the factions in his own party together). You have to wonder if his definition of “deal” is as twisted as those “alternative facts” used in his tweets, in other words. There is no diplomacy in his deal making, only bluster and strong-arming, “talents” he developed in his very restricted and surreal business world that has little or no relevancy in international politics, or even politics in general.

Hence my second criticism: Trump (or any other president, for that matter) should be forced to appeal to diplomacy before going to war, especially nuclear war. The less likely diplomacy is used, the closer that Doomsday Clock approaches midnight. The Cuban Missile Crisis brought us to the brink of nuclear war; diplomacy brought us back. There was no pre-emptive strike against the Cuban missile installations. Instead, Kennedy waited for the Soviet Union to blink. The threat of retaliation and assured destruction, not a pre-emptive strike, solved that crisis, and that threat was iterated to Kruschev in no uncertain terms, an example of strong diplomacy, to be sure, but still diplomacy.

Note that I said “before going to war.” A pre-emptive strike is the most flagrant form of war, but Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria all showed that even conventional non-nuclear warfare can lead to many deaths and put the U.S. into a quagmire where diplomacy becomes less feasible over time. (The attack on the airfield wasn’t a pre-emptive strike—it was payback.) As commander-in-chief, a president must put his Department of State above his Department of Defense. In the Trump administration, it’s just the opposite, although I have more confidence in the SecDef than SecState. The first has experience; the second has none. Tillerson is just another Trump surrogate, a blustering and sociopathic businessman used to having his way in the boardroom, that fertile breeding ground for despotism. And Trump’s sending his son-in-law to Iraq before Tillerson only enforces this perception of ineptitude. Under Trump, the Department of State might as well close its doors and hang out a sign saying, “U.S. Diplomacy Is Dead.”

Of course, Washington D.C. is used to an anti-diplomatic atmosphere by now. Diplomacy ended when racist and bigoted Sen. Mitch McConnell declared at the beginning of the last administration that he was going to ensure that Obama wouldn’t have a second term, and has continued right up to employing the “nuclear option” to get the new Supreme Court judge approved after stalling for seven months with a much more qualified nominee proposed by Obama. No one is talking with anyone. The prevailing attitude is: If you don’t play the game by my rules, I’ll take my football and go home.” Making senators just six-year term House members will further polarize the legislature. Is it any wonder that this disease has infected the executive branch to the extent that it extends to international politics? Collaboration and compromise are hard things to pursue, but it doesn’t seem to matter to the GOP, and especially Trump, that most Americans would like to see more of these two qualities at both domestic and foreign policy levels.

So my final criticism is (and this is one against ALL Americans): let’s demand that our leaders be more diplomatic. I’m too old for it, but I call for all able-bodied concerned citizens to hit the streets to protest all the nefarious goings-on in Washington. Make your senators and representatives’ lives hell at home if they’re GOP or even colluding Dems. Demand competent and collaborative representation. While it’s hard for Congress people to do—taking the football home is the easiest route, just as caving in to special interests and lobbyists—collaboration and compromise is what governing is all about, and they lead to positive results and not stalemates. In the surreal spheres of foreign policy where the nuclear ogre is now stirring in his cave, the alternative is unthinkable, because it could mean the deaths of millions of human beings and the end of life on this planet as we know it.


Teeter-Totter between Lust and Murder. Detective Chen is framed for the murder of a U.S. senator. As her partner Castilblanco moves to prove her innocence, they uncover a complex plot involving the underbelly of NYC as well as the overbelly corresponding to the rich and powerful. #3 in the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series,” this book is now on sale at Smashwords and is available in all ebook formats. Use coupon code XW55G. Coming soon this spring from Penmore Press: Rembrandt’s Angel, an international tour de force involving a Scotland Yard expert on art heists and an Interpol agent. Chasing down some dealers in stolen artworks suddenly becomes very dangerous!

And so it goes…


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