Trump Says US Military Is 'Locked and Loaded' in Case North Korea Decides to Act

A man watches a television screen showing President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea on Thursday, demanding that Kim Jong Un's government "get their act together" or face extraordinary trouble. He said his previous "fire and fury" warning to Pyongyang might have been too mild. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

President Trump started out the day with another tweet that is guaranteed to dominate the news cycle for most of today:


To amplify, he retweeted this from USPACOM:

This was both funny and pathetic.

Trump’s statement has an important context. Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been accelerating. At the same time, Trump’s statements have indicated that we are at a point where war has suddenly become thinkable. Two weeks from now a major joint/combined exercise called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian kicks off. It will directly involve about 100,000 US and Allied troops. These kinds of exercises have been going on forever, and every year the North Koreans go a little crazy when they take place and demand they stop.

The wild card in all of this is the North Koreans. How will they interpret Trump’s statements plus the flow of troops into South Korea? As I posted earlier, war has its own logic, and that logic is often driven by the differing perspectives of the players. Given North Korea’s pattern of bad behavior, it isn’t difficult to see them carrying out some sort of limited attack on South Korea or on South Korean forces simply to prove a point. Just two years ago, North Korean infiltrators slipped across the DMZ and set anti-personnel mines that severely wounded two ROK Army soldiers.


And if a provocation does take place, how will South Korea decide to respond?

But the media is concentrating on the really important issues


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