THOMAS TASCHINGER: Iran, North Korea stump Trump too
When Donald Trump was running for president, he promised voters that he wouldn’t be a pushover for foreign dictators the way Barack Obama was. No sirree, Bob. He’d stand up to those thugs and let ’em know who’s boss.
Now that Trump is serving as president, reality is setting in. Trump is still talking tough, but with countries like Iran and North Korea, it will have the same effect as Obama’s soothing words.
The bottom line is the same: The only way to change the way Iran or North Korea or even Syria operates is to do what George W. Bush did to Iraq. Invade, oust the tyrant and install a new leader.
With Iran, which is not yet a nuclear power thanks to that wimp Obama, that would mean the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops. Then we’s suffer countless more in the suicide bombings that would follow during our occupation.
Only a fool believes that more than a handful of Americans would support another major war like that.
With nutty North Korea, the toll would be even worse. If we invade, dictator Kim Jong-un knows it’s the end of the only thing he cares about - remaining in power. So he would use nuclear bombs on the South Korean capital of Seoul, killing millions. He would send kamikaze fighter planes loaded with nuclear bombs into the Japanese capital of Tokyo and as many U.S. military bases like Okinawa as he could hit.
Again, the carnage is inconceivable.
Yet Trump keeps acting as if Iran and North Korea better watch out, or else. Before Michael Flynn was fired as national security director, he sternly warned Iran that it was being put “on notice.” Trump has said crazy Kim’s “gotta behave” and tweeted, “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
Those are hollow threats, and Iran and North Korea know it. We aren’t going to war with them - unless we’re irrational - and they don’t care about economic sanctions or U.N. resolutions. They will gladly sacrifice thousands of troops or civilians in any battle because it feeds their propaganda perfectly. We would mourn in anguish over the death of one soldier.
It’s also naive to think that China will undermine its communist ally and neighbor. The Syrian dictator wasn’t rattled by 69 Tomahawk missiles, which caused minimal damage to an airport that was quickly operational again.
The real danger will come in a few months. Iran and North Korea will keep doing what they’re doing - because they can, and because they want to. Trump will be asked about those threats he made a while back if they kept misbehaving. He may then feel pressured to take some kind of military action short of invasion, but all that will do is cause needless casualties while the misbehavior continues.
Neither Iran nor North Korea, as bad as they are, will start a war with us. Trump needs to realize he can’t start one with them. Then he needs to stop pretending that he might.
Thomas Taschinger, TTaschinger@BeaumontEnterprise.com, is the editorial page editor of The Beaumont Enterprise. Follow him on Twitter at @PoliticalTom