Donald Trump's Twitter race to nuclear Armageddon is both terrifying and terrible policy. Trump's own secretary of state and defense chief have pushed back. Everyone from John McCain to Congressional GOP leaders to every Democrat in Washington has condemned the tactic. And even Trump's staff now admits that he decided to bring humanity to the brink of catastrophe on an ill-considered whim.
But Trump doubled-down on the literally insane strategy this morning, tweeting that he has "locked and loaded" the military for an all-out assault on North Korea — even though military experts say that under no circumstances could U.S. armed forces handle a real war with the communist nation. Who in their right mind would defend this utter madness?
Hey, it's Marco Rubio everyone! Florida's junior senator, a loose stack of hundred-dollar lobbyist bills piled into an empty suit, is A-OK with Trump's blustering potentially setting off a thermonuclear WWIII because, uh, it sounds pretty tough?
For a guy who has spent the better part of a decade trying to position himself as a foreign relations mastermind, this is a remarkably dumb thing to say.
Marco: No one is suggesting that sending a fruit basket to Kim Jong Un is a better game plan. Suggesting that Trump's critics would prefer "nicer words" is a herring so red it's basically neon.
The problem here is that there is no plan. None! Trump's own staff admits he just made up the "fire and fury" line off the top of his head at a damn golf course where he was supposed to be talking about the opioid crisis. If there was any reasoned change of policy toward North Korea, Trump told no one in his own administration ahead of time.
In so doing, Trump blundered into a blindingly obvious foreign policy trap: He threatened devastating action without any realistic way to back up those threats. As every expert with two foreign policy bones to rub together has already written this week, there is no available military action against North Korea that isn't a terrible option.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
So now Marco Rubio deserves to answer the same questions Trump has been avoiding. Is Rubio really OK with starting a war that would almost certainly kill more than a million people in the Korean peninsula? Is Rubio willing to strike first with a nuclear weapon? Is he willing to start the biggest ground conflict since the end of World War II?
Because if the answer to any of those questions is "nah," then Trump's tough-guy talk is the worst kind of B.S. — an empty threat that will only embolden North Korea to act even more brazenly in the future.
There are no good options to deal with Kim Jong Un. Sanctions have failed. Diplomacy has gone bust. But if the terrible cost of a devastating military campaign is really the only option for the global community, at least you could maybe take a couple of minutes to think those costs out before spouting off on Twitter about "fire and fury?"
Marco Rubio is enabling Trump to take the most dangerous risk this nation has ever seen. Let's hope he knows what the hell he's doing.