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Er, is Trump About to Kick Off World War III?

The U.S might be about to attack North Korea. Because what else do you do when your domestic agenda is falling to pieces?

Some cheerful news to start your day off: Donald Trump is quite possibly about to trigger a global war because, well, what else do you do when your domestic agenda is falling to pieces? This from NBC News

The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test, multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

North Korea has warned that a "big event" is near, and U.S. officials say signs point to a nuclear test that could come as early as this weekend.

The intelligence officials told NBC News that the U.S. has positioned two destroyers capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles in the region, one just 300 miles from the North Korean nuclear test site.

American heavy bombers are also positioned in Guam to attack North Korea should it be necessary, and earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group was being diverted to the area.

Just for fun, let's do a quick list as to why attacking North Korea is a very, very bad idea:

1. North Korea will respond, and it will almost certainly attack South Korea. While it is unclear who would win should conflict arise, North Korea's enormous army and possession of nuclear weapons means both sides would incur extreme losses if violence escalated. As the New York Times notes:

In the event of war, North Korean plans are thought to call for nuclear attacks against major ports and air bases in South Korea and Japan, halting any American invasion before it could fully begin.

In the meantime, nuclear and chemical strikes against major population centers would be intended to shock the world into capitulating. Missile defense would be of limited use against short-range rockets and of no use against North Korea’s hundreds of artillery pieces, many of which target Seoul, the South Korean capital.

Not good. 

2. Hitting North Korea would irreversibly damage relations with China. President Xi has already informed Trump that destabilizing the region with an attack would be a huge problem for China due to the number of refugees it would create, and they would seek retribution against American in one form or another. 

3. An attack would almost certainly spur Russia to side with China and orchestrate a co-ordinated response that would play itself out elsewhere. It is not in the interests of the United States to fight a Cold (or real) war with Russia and China given both are geopolitical power houses with rapidly growing economies and militaries to match.   

It is clear that Trump's aggressive posture towards North Korea is a giant distraction from his rapid succession of domestic failures and plummeting poll numbers. He has bombed Afghanistan with the biggest non-nuclear weapon in America's arsenal and now sent war ships to threaten North Korea -- all of this after only three months in office. Creating conflict abroad is a classic technique used by strongmen (and women) throughout history, but rarely has it been as stupidly executed and poorly disguised. Trump is blundering full steam ahead into a quagmire he is not capable of comprehending let alone extricate the US from. He apparently only learned from the Chinese president that the situation in North Korea was "not so easy", and yet has gone ahead anyway with the proverbial nuclear option. 

As with everything Donald Trump related, this won't end well so let's hope cooler heads prevail and the international community comes together to put a stop to what could well be the beginnings of a global conflict we likely won't recover from.