* Guam, as we’ve been seeing, is the U.S. territory in North Korea’s most immediate nuclear cross hairs. One blatantly obvious factor in the nuclear drumbeat is the rhetorically and temperamentally unhinged Donald Trump. Locals are understandably worried. And how ironic that those 170,000 American territory residents can’t even vote for the president of the United States, the very person with access to the nuclear codes.
* On Monday (Aug. 21), the U.S. and South Korea will begin their annual military exercises that always antagonize North Korea. Should these be postponed, it would send a signal–to not only North Korea, but to China and others–that Donald Trump is big enough to back away from the brink, no longer channeling Gen. Curtis LeMay and ready to play a responsible diplomatic card–not a vintage Trump card.
* Another regrettable byproduct of Trump’s impulsive peril is his claim that he’s not ruling out “military” action in Venezuela. Just when Mercosur, the South American trade bloc, was coming down on Venezuela for its flagrant violation of Democratic norms, Trump gives Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro an opening to play the common-enemy, interventionist Yanqui card against the U.S. He knows that Trump is less popular in the region than he is.
No surprise that Bolivian President Evo Morales, a Maduro ally, jumped in right away. “Now the world knows that those who were against Maduro were only looking for a military intervention from the empire,” he said. Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia–and no buddy of Maduro’s–chipped in with: “Friends have to tell each other the truth. (Military intervention) shouldn’t even be considered.” Former Mexican President Vicente Fox minced no words. “Donald, get it together!” he urged. … “Venezuela needs a way out, but not through violence. Take a dive into history. You’re wrecking the U.S., don’t wreck the world.”
And this from David Smilde, an analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America: “This will undoubtedly galvanize (Maduro’s) coalition.”
How’s that for a North Korean diversion?