As the world becomes increasingly worried about a potential nuclear war with North Korea, there is one question that has gone largely unanswered: Why has the tension escalated so quickly over the past week?
On Thursday, Rachel Maddow had the stunning answer.
According to the MSNBC host, Trump’s reckless and increasingly hostile attitude toward North Korea appears to be rooted in a single newspaper report published by The Washington Post on Tuesday.
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) August 11, 2017
Maddow explained why this game of nuclear chicken appears to have started in the first place:
Why did it start this week? The reason it appears to have started this week is because of this article from The Washington Post from Tuesday. That article described a confidential assessment by one U.S. intelligence agency, which reportedly concluded that North Korea had miniaturized a nuclear device and could now fit one onto a missile. That Washington Post report came out on Tuesday. Since then, the president has been making these incredibly over-the-top, bellicose, alliterative, overt threats against North Korea. … These last three days of, literally, nuclear brinksmanship, as far as we can tell, the proximate cause of this – what set it all off – was one newspaper report of a single agency’s reported conclusion, which has not been bolstered by other sources, that doesn’t reflect any sort of formal, stated view of the intelligence community.
As Maddow also pointed out later in the segment, the same finding that Trump is freaking out about this week was reported back in 2013 by the same agency – and they got it wrong then.
“The Obama administration didn’t take it and run with it,” Maddow said. “This time, the ratio between the size of that catalyst and the size of the administration’s response is a very, very, very, very, very large ratio.”
The difference between then and now, of course, is that the United States is currently run by an erratic, reckless man who loses his cool over just about everything, from public opinion polls to critical news coverage.
If this is how Donald Trump reacts to a single news report, it’s hard to imagine how catastrophic his response would be to an actual act of aggression by North Korea.