Donald Trump is probably going to attack North Korea soon. If he does, there will be virtually no end to the destruction.
On Monday, we learned that Trump summoned not just the Senate leadership from both parties to the White House but, indeed, the entire Senate. It's unclear how the president will accommodate 100 senators on Wednesday, but that's the news. And it's definitely about North Korea. The briefing will be held by Rex Tillerson, "Mad Dog" Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence. If you're wondering if this is normal, the answer is no. It's quite rare for the White House to brief the entire U.S. Senate, other than during a joint address to Congress.
The announcement of the meeting was preceded by Trump speaking with both President Xi of Chine and Prime Minister Abe of Japan.
Sounds like someone's getting ready for an attack.
But wait... there's more.
Trump also met with the 15 members of the UN Security Council on Monday. Yes, another unusual move. The intent was to push for harder sanctions against North Korea, but the full extent of what was said during the meeting is unknown.
Nikki Haley, Trump's ambassador to the United Nations, issued a warning to North Korea on "Good Morning, America" on Monday, telling Kim Jong Un, "We don't want war, so don't start one."
Meanwhile, preparations for a nuclear test are apparently taking place in North Korea, while the "armada" Trump lied about last week is finally -- we think -- headed back north toward the Korean peninsula. Oh, and North Korea detained a third American citizen over the weekend.
If we stir into this toxic mix the political realities of the Trump administration -- that Trump is an unpopular president who's failing to achieve anything he promised, while, simultaneously winning praise for bombing Syria from the TV news media he loves to hate -- it's no wonder all of this is happening.
It's obvious that Trump is enamored with his commander-in-chief powers, mainly due to the fact that exercising those powers doesn't require congressional consensus or lengthy negotiations. He can essentially act entirely on his own if he chooses, and history has shown that war presidents tend to enjoy higher-than-usual approval numbers (unless you're a Democrat). On top of that, a president with war powers can get away with just about anything. And, as we all know, Trump is a petulant child without any sense of the gravity of his Russia-begotten job.
So, the following scenario appears increasingly likely.
Kim Jong Un will clearly proceed with one or more nuclear tests. Trump will react with a cruise missile strike against North Korea's test sites. In retaliation, North Korea will... you name it. They might be proportional in their response, which means hitting a base or three in South Korea where upwards of 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed, in part because the Korean War never ended, technically speaking. If even one American soldier is killed, there's no telling how Trump will react, but if he does, we can expect North Korea to unleash it's non-nuclear artillery against civilian populations in Seoul, Incheon and elsewhere.
Shit -- I forgot to mention that North Korea also warned that it'll sink the Carl Vinson carrier strike group -- if it ever actually makes it to the Sea of Japan. So, there's that, too.
Call me pessimistic but war against North Korea is going to happen. It's now simply a matter of how severe the war will be, and whether it'll include nuclear weapons. Make no mistake, while Pyongyang is guilty of continued malevolent behavior, and Kim Jong Un is more than blameworthy for sure, we can't understate how the erratic bellicosity of the Trump White House is taking our half of the equation down an unnecessarily terrible, irreversible path. Unless diplomacy, the only reasonable option, wins the day, we're looking at a catastrophe of historic proportions with a cartoon supervillain in the White House calling the shots.
I wish I had better news for you today, but now more than ever it's crucial to keep our eyes wide open. The Trump Crisis has barely begun...