Will Trump launch a military strike against North Korea between now and 2020 presidential election?

Today, Lindsey Graham suggested a military option may be back on the table if Trump realizes he has been played by Kim Jong Un:

It is becoming abundantly clear that Kim is playing Trump, with the help of Russia and China:

Finally, pressure on Trump in the Russia investigation is mounting with the Manafort cooperation agreement and the revelation of an anonymous mole in the White House. Special Counsel Mueller will likely ramp up indictments and subpoenas after the midterm elections, which themselves turn the screws with a likely takeover of the House and perhaps the Senate.

All this will make Trump start looking around for a diversion big enough to focus the attention of the voters and Congress on something other than his Russia exposure, and North Korea is as good a target as any other. He may conclude that he would be a more popular war time president than what ever it is we have now.

So, the question is, will Trump launch a military strike or engagement like a blockade before the 2020 presidential election?


IMHO he’s not just nuts but nuts enough to realize just how bat-shit crazy the Other Side is. No way he would risk it; ever.

I expect his generals would refuse and tell Congress he’s bat-shit crazy and they can’t obey an unlawful order.

In what way would it be unlawful? If Trump withdraws military dependents from South Korea, he may provoke Kim to do something that would serve as a casus belli to justify a military strike or other engagement.

North Korea, no. Canada, maybe.


Kim hasn’t played Trump. Kim has played YOU. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_propaganda#Pro-North

IF Trump is the one making the actual decisions, then everyone who isn’t lying says “I don’t know”. Any random event (not necessarily even involving Korea) between now and then could have drastic emotional effects on Trump, such that he decides war is the solution.

I am sometimes emotionally oversensitive. But in that department, Trump makes me look as tough as General Sherman. If he wants war, it will be because someone made fun of him on the playground, not because he has a strategy.

I think the idea here is to say where you’re putting your ten bucks, not to pretend you’re certain.

I said no based on a Bayesian approach; even if you thinl Trump is likely to want a strike, you must multiply that possibility by the likelihood his staff can defuse the situation. I don’t think those two things produce a product above .5, and the question was will he launch a strike, not will he try to.

Yeah, but the hosers have it coming! With their insidious maplelyness and accursed, affordable health care. We must take them out before nuclear armed moose start destroying our cities at will.

Plus Ted Cruz. They’ve got it coming just for that.

I think it’s a pretty good bet that he’ll order a military strike ahead of the 2020 election (if his administration survives that long).

But I don’t see North Korea being the target. That would mean admitting he was wrong about what a great guy Kim is, and he never admits to being wrong. He’ll wait for some country to commit a real or imagined transgression against the US, and jump at the chance to appear strong and decisive. Which country? No idea.

I’d be surprised if he didn’t launch a strike on somebody, with good odds of it being a nuclear one. But he’s unstable and has no attention span, so predicting the exact target is a bit of a dice roll.

I suspect Mexico is somewhat more likely than North Korea; to punish them for not paying for his wall, and for being the wrong race.

No, because deep down Trump is a wimp. He can’t even fire people unless it’s made for TV bullshit. Make a decision like that? Tis to laugh!

A person doesn’t need to be brave to order other people to kill and die. The Republican party is notoriously full of “chickenhawks” like that.

True, but that’s not Trump. He has a pathological need for people to like him… he wants to act tough to N Korea so his base will like him, he kowtows to N Korea so N Korea will like him, he comes back and lies about what he accomplished so other people will like him.

He is a wimp.

Now, if the question were “would Trump attack some random Latin American country”, I’d answer “yes” because he assumes nobody likes, say, Venezuela and that people would like him for attacking Venezuela, and that the leaders of Venezuela don’t like Trump. But North Korea, where they have already figured out his insecurities and plays to them expertly? Naw, not going to happen.


Presumably waking up and scribbling, “Cill Nourth [del]Cor[/del] [del]Ker[/del] Koreya” in crayon on a Big Mac wrapper is not how presidential military actions are initiated. It seems likely to me he’s already grabbed his Secretary of Defense du jour, or Bill the janitor, on more than one occasion and asked to borrow the keys to the armed forces and has been dissuaded with varying levels of gentleness. If he were to jump on twitter and post, “Were going ta nook Kurrya!” and then phone phone up the local missile silo with launch orders, he’d be in a straight jacket before he put down the phone.

ETA: The Kim love-fest happened because Putin told him to. I don’t think he actually has an opinion one way or the other about N. Korea & their dictator.

I gave up trying to predict what Our Mad Tweeter will do next. He is not rational, and he runs on whims.

Yeah, those damned icebacks. Sneaking across the border and taking jobs away from Minnesotans.

It wouldn’t be an unlawful order. And they’d follow orders.

As for Congress; Congress already knows that and is mostly divided into people who don’t care, or are crazy themselves.

What a rational and well thought out response :dubious: