Donald Trump delivered his first (and probably his last) State of the Union address tonight, and he took a number of aggressive shots at North Korea. This is far from the first time he’s done so, and it’s become clear that he doesn’t have any actions to back up his bravado. But even as he was giving his speech, one of his own people was taking a cleverly-timed and devastating public shot at him over the North Korea issue.
Trump’s own nominee for U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Victor Cha, posted a blistering op-ed in the Washington Post just as Trump’s speech was beginning. He took specific aim at Trump’s reported plan to launch a preemptive military strike against North Korea that’s somehow supposed to motivate deranged dictator Kim Jong Un to suddenly start acting like a rational person and reeling in his own behavior.
Cha spelled out his central point this way: “There is a point at which hope must give in to logic. If we believe that Kim is undeterrable without such a strike, how can we also believe that a strike will deter him from responding in kind? And if Kim is unpredictable, impulsive and bordering on irrational, how can we control the escalation ladder, which is premised on an adversary’s rational understanding of signals and deterrence?”
Not shockingly, Victor Cha also withdrew his own nomination in the process of publishing his devastating attack on Donald Trump. This makes him just the latest individual to depart the historically unstable Trump administration, which has controversially lost too many advisers and officials to list. In this instance, Cha left the building before he even entered it. Now, more than a year after taking office, Trump still has no U.S. Ambassador to South Korea. You can read Cha’s entire lengthy and thoughtful takedown here.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report