“But on Wednesday Lindsey Graham did something different: He estimated the odds that the Trump administration deliberately strikes North Korea first, to stop it from acquiring the capability to target the U.S. mainland with a long-range, nuclear-tipped missile. And the senator’s numbers were remarkably high.
“I would say there’s a three in 10 chance we use the military option,” Graham predicted in an interview. If the North Koreans conduct an additional test of a nuclear bomb—their seventh—“I would say 70 percent.”
I wanted to analyze this statement with you, because suddenly, it’s more important at this time than parsing out Russian interference, or poll numbers, or Roy Moore.
“Graham said that the issue of North Korea came up during a round of golf he played with the president on Sunday. “It comes up all the time,” he said.”
I’ve been scrounging around for information as to whom else might have been golfing with those two on Sunday and I can’t find any information that there was anyone else, but I believe someone was, or at the least, someone else was privvy to this conversation and offered input that was seriously weighed by Graham.
Why? If the conversation were just Graham and Trump the reasonable percentages Graham would have offered would have been 0% 50% and 100%. But, he split the difference to both sides as if weighing some other opinion…an opinion that mattered. Someone Like NSA’s McMaster, or Chief of Staff Kelly, or Sec. of Defense Mattis.
What would Trump’s likely response have been to the prospect of an all out war with North Korea under any circumstance? “I’m not sure.” (50%) “We’ll blow them back into the stone age with fire and fury blah blah blah…” (100%). Someone else verified that plans were on the table and tempered Trumps usual stupidity or bluster with some hard facts. Otherwise, Graham would not have offered the higher odds of 70%, but instead dismissed it all as usual Trump trash talk (0%).
Now, what is the likelihood that North Korea will test again? 100%.
“War with North Korea is an all-out war against the regime,” he said. “There is no surgical strike option. Their [nuclear-weapons] program is too redundant, it’s too hardened, and you gotta assume the worst, not the best. So if you ever use the military option, it’s not to just neutralize their nuclear facilities—you gotta be willing to take the regime completely down.”
I have a very large problem with this being such a casual topic of conversation as if it doesn’t mean anything to Graham. As if this brinkmanship doesn’t represent real lives however distant and theoretical those lives may seem. I happen to find the 70% chance of millions of people dying not acceptable and not something so easily bandied about as if it’s a game of golf and he’s merely stating the probabilities of his next 3 foot putt going down.
Trump did speak to Putin tonight on the phone, and there is a Russian delegation that had arrive about 24 hours ago to summit with the North Koreans. Trump did make a statement about his phone call and did say they were talking about North Korea. I think that this is one time you can believe Trump. I also think this is one time I am rooting for the Russians to save us from our own stupidity.
We’ve all heard how a first strike scenario plays out and what happens to Seoul immediately after that. No need to go over it again. I imagine the Russians have the same ideas Graham does and would rather not see a global economic meltdown, millions of people die, and the possibility of a World War directly afterwards; unlike our “President” Trump who would only concern himself with his poll numbers following his created global crisis.
I imagine the Russians are working to reduce that 100% certainty that North Korea will test again, to anything lower than 50% and as close to 0% as possible. If that happens, Trump could declare the ploy a complete success despite the fact he was willing to barter with millions of lives to carry it out.