Analysis by Reporting San Diego
Oct 10, 2017 (San Diego) Five days ago, in the midst of another crisis, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee came out and said something significant. The President of the United States is not fit for the office. Corker was once considered for Secretary of State with the Trump administration and was an ally of President Donald Trump. This is significant at multiple levels. This is the first Senator who is putting his country ahead of his party. Though it helps that he is retiring in 2020. That gives him a certain level of freedom that other sitting senators who intend to stay in office do not have.
However, this is the first sitting politician of the Republican Party that has not just broken ranks with the President, but called him unfit to serve. The parallels to the Watergate scandal are deepening, as the president continues trying to pick a fight with a nuclear power, (North Korea) and getting out of any and all agreements that his predecessor made (Paris, Iran.)
These actions are very damaging to not just the reputation of the United States, but make the United States seem akin to a toddler on the world stage. There are clear indications that the United States is becoming a pariah on the world stage, Our influence on the world stage is diminishing, by the day as well, Abroad we are increasingly seen as unpredictable and dangerous. Some may even describe the United States as a paranoid, xenophobic, nation led by an unstable, uninformed, and unprepared old man with visions of grandeur.
If Trump decides to preemptively attack North Korea, we know China will enter the fray on the side of their client state. They already stated this. This is not 1952, and the Chinese have nuclear weapons of their own. They also told Kim Jun Un that if he preemptively attacks the United States, they will stand back.
Legally this would not be complicated. The Korean War technically has never come to an end. What we have in place is a lukewarm cease-fire. At times it comes closer to the edge, at others it becomes cooler. The war has never ended. So the president does not need the authorization of Congress, unlike Iran. Congress gave President Harry S Truman that authorization long ago. However, that alliance with United Nations powers to stop North Korea is frayed at best. Nor will the Russians boycott the UN Security Council this time. Potentially the United States could be very much alone in this war. And if Kim Jun Un follows up with his threats, and is strategic about his nuclear weapons (and all work as advertised) both Russia and China only have to stand back and watch as the United States becomes a third-tier power in about two hours.
What do we mean by this? An intelligent use of those nukes would be to target Guam (a naval base), Pearl Harbor (a naval base), San Diego (a naval base) and Bangor, Washington (a naval base.) This would mean the Pacific Fleet would have no usable home port for some time. In fact, the Pacific Fleet might be partially gone in the nuclear fires. Strategically this would do what the Japanese wanted to do at Pearl Harbor in 1941. It would make our ability to project power in the Pacific a non-possibility. I can hear you now. But Yokosuka! How long do you think the Japanese would take to kick the US Navy out of both Yokosuka and Okinawa?
We are not even counting the untold millions of dead and injured in this scenario. From a strategic point of view, it would effectively remove the United States from the Pacific Rim, leaving both Russia and China seating pretty and in the catbird seat.
Senator Corker knows this. He also knows that egging on Un is asking for trouble and could very well lead to a full nuclear exchange. There is no way the United States military would not launch a return nuclear strike in this scenario. While the North Korean regime would be gone, so would some of our allies, Prevailing winds would ensure that fallout would come to Japan for example, as well as the border regions of China. The last one might take that as a military attack, and we could be off to the races.
A nuclear war is one that none can win. But world powers like China and Russia, assuming we do not have a nuclear winter, will come out of this as the leading world powers. The United States would lose untold millions of people, and with the current internal divisions, this could unwind the country. This is not unlike the end of the Soviet Union when the USSR fell apart with entire regions declaring independence from the central power. Among them were the Baltic States and the ‘Stans. The United States could easily Balkanize after such an event as regions do not see it to their advantage to remain part of the Union. With millions dead the Army might not have the personnel, or will, to pursue a bloody second civil war of reunification.
As to our local region. Given that we are a logical primary target in any exchange, many of us will not survive to see any of this. However, Senator Corker, who has access to classified intelligence is warning the country. Trump is poking a hornet’s nest, the way a toddler does. Corker is also aware of something else. Trump has not had any “wins.” He is desperate to hide all that failure, spectacular as it has been. A war is a good way to do it. The president does not expect to personally lead the troops in any glorious charge. His children will not serve either. So he is safe in that.
Corker has spoken the truth here. The president is unfit for the office, and it is increasingly clear that he is a clear and present danger to the nation, as he tries to get his war on. The question is whether Corker will follow suit with the obvious next step. This is invoking the 25th Amendment.
Congress could also take away the power of the president to launch a first strike unilaterally. There are bills already drafted. We do not expect Republicans to put the fate of the country, or the planet, ahead of tax cuts, however. In this, they are joined by many Democrats, who put their own electoral prospects ahead of either the country or the world. In this respect, the political class in Washington seems both horrified and paralyzed.