1) Ted Gup, “The world has already seen ‘fire and fury’,” Washington Post, August 11, 2017 (7:48 p.m.).
2) Peter Baker and Javier C. Hernández, “Trump Says Military Is ‘Locked and Loaded’ and North Korea Will ‘Regret’ Threats,” The New York Times, August 11, 2017.
3) Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt, “Even the Most Precise Strike on North Korea Could Prompt Retaliation,” August 10, 2017.
“With all this talk, what I worry about is a serious miscalculation,” said James D. Thurman, a retired Army general who served as the top United States commander in South Korea from 2011 to 2013. “Before we start talking about all these military options, we have to decide what are we going to do with the U.S. citizens over there.”
4) Joby Warrick, Ellen Nakashima, and Anna Fifield, “North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say,” Washington Post, August 8, 2017.
5) Peggy Noonan, “Let Calm and Cool Trump ‘Fire and Fury’: The Cuban Missile Crisis came at a less dangerous time, and involved less dangerous men,” The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2017 (6:56 p.m.).
Reflecting on the Cuban Missile Crisis and the current threats from and to North Korea, Noonan wrote,
‘North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”—President Trump Tuesday
Parenthetically, Dobrynin did not have a reliable telephone or telegraph connection with the Kremlin. To transmit a summary of his crucial conversation, he called Western Union . A young man, “came by on a bicycle to pick up the telegram,” Mr. Reeves recounts. “Dobrynin watched him pedal away, figuring that if he stopped for a Coca-Cola or to see his girlfriend, the world might blow up.”
–quoting Richard Reeves’s history “President Kennedy, Profile of Power.”
(6) Miichael Dobbs, “What Trump should know about the Cuban missile crisis,” Washington Post, August 9, 2017.
(7) Anne Applebaum, “Trump is a toddler in a car,” Washington Post, August 10, 2017 (4:20 PM).
There is a reason leaders have generally avoided making threats of nuclear war. While Vladimir Putin repeatedly broke this taboo at sensitive points in the Ukraine crisis and the Russian Syrian intervention, it was extraordinarily reckless for him to do so.
It is a taboo which should be re-etablished. Breaking it generates risks of misunderstandings and miscalculations whose potential to cause an accidental nuclear war are far too great for any rational leader or society to accept.
The Trenchant Observer