There’s been a lot of US related news lately. This from a couple of days ago has more meaning after the missile strike on Syria with an accompanying warning to North Korea.
On the heels of yet another North Korean missile test, albeit one the Pentagon says failed, and ahead of a meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Trump’s first choice for Secretary of Defense told Fox News the U.S. is right to consider first-strike military action against Pyongyang.
“We’re rapidly and dangerously heading towards the reality that the military option is the only one left when it comes to getting North Korea to denuclearize and not weaponized [intercontinental ballistic missiles],” said retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane.
Keane said going to war is undesirable to the Trump administration because of the toll it would take on human lives.
“But the Trump administration cannot accept a nuclear launch,” he said. “We cannot rely on our missile-defense system to defeat it and expose the American people to a nuclear attack. Therefore if an ICBM attack was imminent the president would have to conduct a preemptive strike.”
President Trump’s limited, proportional missile strike on a single Syrian air base had a clear purpose: Punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for having launched a chemical weapons attack that killed over 85 of his citizens and deter him (and others) from engaging in similar WMD-related war crimes.
But the launching of some 59 sea-based Tomahawk cruise missiles against the Syrian Air Force’s base of Shayrat sends a strong message not only to Syria but to several other states and groups with a stake in the outcome of that country’s brutal civil war.
To North Korea, the strike is a warning that Mr. Trump is willing to match action with his tough tweets warning that the U.S. will not permit Pyongyang to threaten American security by marrying its small nuclear arsenal with intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching our shores. North Korea is also believed to possess chemical weapons which it could reign down on Seoul and American forces stationed near the South Korean capital in the event of conflict.
To China, it shows that Mr. Trump is prepared to make good on his pledge to take unilateral action against North Korea if Beijing is unwilling to pressure its mercurial neighbor into suspending, if not dismantling its own nuclear program.
And perhaps most important, the strike shows Russia that President Trump’s unlikely bromance with Russia’s autocratic ruler Vladimir Putin has its limits, and that Mr. Trump is likely to insist that Mr. Putin stop making excuses for his brutal client and contain Mr. Assad’s most outrageous conduct.
Military action which throws Moscow off-balance could not come at a better time for Mr. Trump, whose administration is beset by multiple investigations into whether his campaign officials colluded with Russia in interfering in America’s presidential election and whether such collusion helped elect Mr. Trump over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
What could possibly go wrong?
At least the arms industry boom should be mostly helping US businesses.
Donald Trump’s financial entanglements have been the focus of consistent controversy since he took office. He claimed he was putting his assets in a “blind trust” which was later revealed not to be one (source: Chicago Tribune). He’s also been accused of using his office to enrich his hotels.
He often takes a White House entourage to his Florida resort for the weekend, and that’s where he has met both the Japanese Prime Minister and in the last day the Chines Premier.
It must be a good earner for his business interests.
But we’ve now reached the phase where Trump has ordered military action which has given direct financial benefit to a company that he owns stock in.
Last night Donald Trump fired fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base. But according to the Washington Post (link), they were a poor choice of weaponry under the circumstances, because Russia has S-400 surface to air defense technology in place in Syria which could easily have shot them down.
In addition, Reuters is reporting that the Syrian air base was barely harmed (link), and is already back to operational capacity today, because the Tomahawks were aimed at the least important targets on the base.
This means that Trump went with the wrong weaponry when he ordered the Tomahawk attack (his military advisers would have explained this to him), and he used the missiles merely put on a show for TV viewers at home, rather than doing any real damage.
In other words Trump just set a bunch of Tomahawk missiles on fire which, according to a recent Defense Department report (link), may have been worth as much as $93.8 million in total. Why would he do this? Well, he does own shares of stock in the company that makes the Tomahawks.
If that’s true the missile strike is a win win win for Trump. And the jackpot could be North Korea.