IF YOU START WITH THE AXIOM THAT TRUMP IS A MANIAC WHO WILL GET US INTO A NUCLEAR WAR, THEN EVERYTHING IS EVIDENCE THAT TRUMP IS A MANIAC WHO WILL GET US INTO A NUCLEAR WAR: NYT: “Trump’s Harsh Language on North Korea Has Little Precedent, Experts Say.”
“Little Precedent” ≠ no precedent, and, in fact, the “little precedent” is — in the historical scheme, very big.
First, there was President Harry S. Truman, in 1945, demanding that the Japanese surrender or “they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”
Second, there was Bill Clinton, in 1993:
… during a speech in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea that if Pyongyang ever used nuclear weapons, “it would be the end of their country.”
Victor Cha (of the Center for Strategic and International Studies) said “I take Trump’s statement in the same spirit” as Bill Clinton’s. It’s “a message of deterrence, which is important now to avoid any miscalculation.”
I think the real audience is China. Trump is warning China that if this gets out of hand, it will get out of hand for China, too.