If you have been following the political news cycles over the last 12-18 months since Trump’s run for the presidency began, then you likely have become accustomed to the pattern that has emerged. Typically Trump would do or say something shocking in order to keep his name in the news, and if he feels that the public perception is going in the wrong direction he’d change the cycle by shocking us all once more.
Well, this pattern doesn’t seem to have changed much since January’s inauguration. The only difference is there are actual repercussions to his actions. Despite his total lack of respect for the media, he does understand how to manipulate it. If details begin to emerge showing collusion with Russia, pressure will likely continue to build for Republicans to begin considering impeachment over the next several months. This likely will cause the President to look for a major way to deflect attention away from his possible removal from office onto something else. Unlike during the election when he’d just call someone a name or blast a religious group, that won’t work this time. The President will need to find something much bigger and much more dangerous to deflect and deflate with.
Let’s fast forward to the end of the year, and let’s pretend that enough leaks have emerged, or perhaps the various investigations are finally showing that it is very likely that Trump had colluded in some way with the Russians to win the 2016 election. Meanwhile, North Korea continues to test this president by increasing its rate of missile tests, pushing his buttons as well as the international community’s. Typically past U.S. leadership would have turned to diplomatic means of taming North Korea, but if Trump feels that impeachment is imminent and a distraction is needed, I fear that he may turn to our military supremacy in order to thwart the North’s aggression.
The problem here is that no military strike is a good one in North Korea. You are dealing with a man who is more unpredictable than even Trump, in Kim Jong-un, and even worse, they have nuclear weapons and a massive military. South Korea and the 28,500 of U.S. military personnel along the border would be a bulls-eye for traditional military strikes by the North. Meanwhile Japan could be a target for the first nuclear strike in over 71 years.
Could enough pressure be put on President Trump to make him feel as if his only chance to turn the tide on impeachment hearings is to make a massive military statement in North Korea? Is he self-centered enough to risk a global crisis for his own personal well being? We’ve already seen his willingness to strike swiftly with massive power like he did in Afghanistan and Syria. Could fear of impeachment push him to make a tremendous military blunder which could jeopardize the entire planet and spark a nuclear war? It certainly doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibilities.
Just like he did in Syria, when he attacked the Shayrat Airbase with 59 Tomahawk missiles without Congressional approval, he wouldn’t need approval in North Korea either since he could argue that it’s to protect our own interest. Let’s just hope he listens to his generals better than he listens to those who tell him to stop using Twitter.