Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lie Of The Day (June 13, 2018)

Five minutes apart early Wednesday morning, President Trump issued two tweets pertaining to North Korea. The second included two claims:

President Obama actually warned the president-elect that North Korea would be the new president's "most urgent problem," not his "biggest and most dangerous problem." Still, Trump's claim was close enough to reality, thus can be classified with horseshoes and hand grenades.

But Mr. Trump contended also "before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea." I don't know what "people" Donald Trump had talked to- or why the w in "War" would be capitalized- but folks on planet Earth were assuming nothing of the sort.

If Trump had claimed individuals believed- rather than assumed-  we would go to war with North Korea, he might deserve the benefit of the doubt. After all, he might have spoken with 100 persons and found 12 who believed war was likely.

However, he typed assumed, though a widespread view that war was ahead came about only after several months of the new administration (video below, Barack Obama in 2016, not panicked).  In August, 2017 The Washington Post reported

Obama highlighted North Korea in his meeting with Trump two days after the election. Aides who traveled with Obama to an Asia-Pacific economic forum in Peru in late November recalled him saying that Trump seemed to “sit up and take notice.”

The Obama team expected Trump to undertake the sort of deep-dive review and interagency decision-making process that it had employed, Rhodes said. Obama was frequently criticized by Republicans as being too deliberative, or, as Trump called him on the campaign trail, weak and indecisive. But Rhodes said the goal was to produce unity and clarity across the administration, rather than the kind of whipsaw tone and message that has marked the North Korea issue under Trump.

Initially, Trump appeared to think he could outsource the problem to China, a strategy deemed simplistic and naive by foreign policy experts who say Beijing has limited influence with the North and strategic interests that diverge from the United States’.

There would be little concern in the outgoing administration about war if the "goal was to produce unity and clarity across the administration." There was little concern in the incoming administration about war if "Trump appeared to think he could outsource the problem to China." Later, as the rhetoric ramped up between Trump and Kim Jong-un, fear of imminent war arose.

But it did not do so Donald J. Trump took office.  Trusting the contempt he has for the American people, he knows many of his cultists will follow him blindly and many other voters will forget life as it was 18 months ago. Nonetheless, whether good strategy or bad, "before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea" is a lie.

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