Sharing only because CTH readers have a more thorough understanding than most; and we are entering a phase of extreme consequence.
Donald Trump doesn’t bluff.
Bluffing is for those who accept they may or may not win. The outcome is based on an unpredictable response from the opponent.
In business or in life, go review the decades of available information and you will see that Donald Trump, now President Trump, doesn’t bluff. It’s one of the reasons he so openly owns the downsides. It’s also the reason he has never engaged in the stock market.
President Trump controls outcomes.
Donald Trump the person, doesn’t wait for an entity, ally or opponent to enter his orbit. He greets them at the perimeter. Trump doesn’t sit with his back to the door, he positions to see all upon entrance. Donald Trump doesn’t try to hide his interest, he’s quite open about any engagement he is focused upon.
Donald Trump limits those who know the strategy to a select group he chooses; and even within that group each participant often doesn’t know the intent of their role in the larger dynamic, but he ensures they have clarity of purpose in the specific action required. Action that he designs after a great deal of consideration.
There are not three aircraft carrier battle groups positioned off the coastal waters of Asia and North Korea because President Trump is positioning for military engagement, or positioning as a deterrent for DPRK military engagement. Thinking that’s the purpose is the popular review, but it, in the full scope of review, is incorrect.
Again, President Trump doesn’t bluff; he tells you openly what is the focus. President Trump has not mentioned one-single-word about using the military to engage the North Korean missile threat.
All of President Trump’s words are directed at the economics of the situation. All of them. Yet almost every review of analytical opinion of the situation is centered around the military. Why is that? Tradition? Traditional frames of reference?…
If the long-term strategy is economic, and with Trump almost everything is economic, the military inventories are more purposeful as enforcement mechanisms for a trade and mercantile blockade, not for military combat.
[And with that in mind, close quarter shipping lane maneuvers could be requested as part of an exercise to train on mission for something the navy has not encountered in decades. That might adjust thinking on the recent U.S.S. Fitzgerald situation – and I’ll just leave that there.]
President Trump doesn’t bluff.
President Trump has zero inclination toward military conflict, but he has gobsmacking levels of strategic interest in economic leverage toward attaining security objectives without the use of military. (“take the oil”)
Right now the Gulf Cooperation Council is dealing with the issues of terrorism in the middle east. It is not U.S. President Trump pressuring Qatar, he’s already outlined the security and economic value to the group (and established the argument for their self-interest), it is the GCC pressuring Qatar. President Trump doesn’t need to pressure Qatar; the U.S. role, Trump’s role, is now supporting those who are doing the confronting.
President Trump knows the key to North Korea is China. Intellectual minds established in decades long perspectives of geopolitical events have not yet caught up to the reality of modern trade economics driving the behaviors of militaristic nations.
Those same minds are so entrenched in the larger, more popular, dynamic of advanced global logic, they can no longer contemplate national action shaped by anything other than applied force.
President Trump doesn’t apply force, he simply creates outcomes were the best alternative for the adversary is to change their approach according to their own best interests. Trump positions the interests themselves, he does not need the direct application of force.
President Trump doesn’t seek to apply force to the mouse running through the economic maze; he simply changes the location of the cheese, and the mouse’s travel responds accordingly.
China will take direct action to change the behavior of North Korea because it will be in China’s best interest to do so. Trump doesn’t bluff. Once he makes up his mind on a long-term strategy he simply works through each sequential move to obtain the objective.
There’s no limit to the economic squeeze President Trump is willing to apply toward China. The U.S. Treasury, the U.S. Dept of Commerce, the U.S. Dept of State, the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, these are all tools in the sequential approach that are far more powerful than bombs, planes and rockets.
There is nothing to fear from North Korea in this equation because there is nothing to lose from this Trumpian level approach. The more the DPRK provokes, the more China has to lose. Start with multi-millions, then go to hundreds-of-millions, then billions etc. etc. The behavior of North Korea is essentially irrelevant; the focus is on the root entity that can change the behavior of North Korea, China.
There is not a single regional military benefit surrounding the DPRK that is worth losing a single U.S. service member. Especially not when there is an essentially endless supply of economic leverage available to put upon their enabler, China.
Begin there, and everything starts to make sense.
Donald Trump doesn’t bluff.