There Are No Signs That US Forces Are About To Go To War With North Korea
Despite President Trump's tough talk, America's military posture remains unchanged.
It's a simple case of rhetoric not matching actions. Despite President Donald Trump's grandiose and reckless statements regarding North Korea, and the hysteria that has followed, there are simply no indications that the US military is preparing for a conflict with the secretive country—at least any more than they already have on a daily basis for the better part of a century.
Just hours ago Trump tweeted:
"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"
US forces deployed to the Korean Peninsula, and to the region in general, already have a "fight tonight" readiness level. But beyond that, even days after Trump's famous "fire and fury" comments, and the intense messages from US Pacific Command and Secretary of Defense James Mattis himself, no assets appear to have been, or are in the process of being shifted to the Korean theatre. None.
There are no tankers dragging American aerial combat aircraft across the Pacific—especially ones like the F-22 that would be key to any fight. Extra missile defense capabilities aren't being sent into the region and US Marines and US Army ground combat units are not being called up for a deployment to the Korean Peninsula to augment US forces already garrisoned there. No ships have been ordered to leave their births to begin their voyage toward Korean shores. Even the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group remains in port in nearby Yokosuka, Japan.
The forces already deployed to the region are sizable for long-term strategic and defensive purposes, totaling roughly 28,000, but for a war on our own timeline they are nowhere near what would be considered adequate. If the US was planning on the possibility of even executing a limited strike on North Korea in a preemptive manner, or if it seemed North Korea could be about to strike the US or its allies' interests nearby or abroad, massive amounts of hardware and personnel would begin pouring into the region.
All this just underlines how hollow and near sighted Trump's threats really were. He didn't even back them with a feint of preparing for battle. This hits at the heart claims by some that this new "fiery" rhetoric is part of a bigger strategy. If that were true than we would be showing the enemy we intend to back up our words with actions. The exact opposite is happening.
This hurts America's ability to send clear and concise messages to our enemies in the future. If we don't back up our statements in any meaningful and tangible way, why should they ever be believed? It is truly an issue of credibility. It also just underscores further the President's floundering relationship with the truth and with trust in general. Regardless of what side you are on politically, a President who people think is untrustworthy and who clearly has a rocky relationship with the truth is not beneficial to America's interests.
Now we have used our "more powerful rhetoric card," albeit poorly, against North Korea, and it clearly rang hollow. What's worse is that this is not the first time this has happened, although it is the most severe. You would think Trump would have learned his lesson when it comes to making big unsubstantiated military claims after he and his administration wrongfully touted the location of a carrier strike group that ended up being nowhere near Korean waters. Sadly this wasn't the case.
Maybe Trump thinks the world still lives in a limited information age, where lies have an enticing shelf life—he doesn't even use a computer after all—but really this speaks to a deeper and more dangerous personal tick. Trump appears to think that anything can be true if he just says it is. And in this case, at the very least he could have gotten together with his military team after making his bellicose statements to see that they are backed up with some military movements.
Instead there is simply no new military pressure being placed upon North Korea. Kim Jong Un and his henchmen will clearly note this disparity between the American President's claims and the actions of the US military. The result of which will be for them to disregard any future statements from the Commander In Chief, some of which could be critical to avoiding a horrific war.
This is what you get when your President's idea of diplomacy and military strategy is a Twitter account and some fabricated outrage. Oh and Trump now says he is also mulling military intervention in Venezuela.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com