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If you recall, on Thursday night President Trump hosted a dinner for his senior military commanders and their spouses. At the end of it, the media were unexpected allowed into the room to memorialize the event and this happened:

The obvious question here was if Trump was simply trolling the press corps (though that is a sport on par with dragging someone from an iron lung and kicking them) and if he was not kidding, what was the storm he referred to. Trump didn’t answer Thursday but this is what the White House said Friday:

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, asked on Friday whether Mr. Trump’s comments were referring to military action, said, “We’re never going to say in advance what the president is going to do…You’ll have to wait and see.”

Pressed on whether Americans should take the president’s repeated hints seriously, Ms. Sanders said: “I think you can take the president protecting the American people always extremely serious.”

Today Trump was back on Twitter with this:

This goes back to tweets earlier in the week

And this appeared last week:

Speaking at a public roundtable at The Korea Society in New York on Thursday, Bruce Klingner, a former CIA deputy division chief for Korea, said he’s hearing “military options are increasing, not decreasing” in the Trump administration.

“The probability of a military option is not zero,” Klingner said, adding there is talk “inside government” of the “five options to solve North Korea in 18 months.”

The self-proclaimed arms control gurus are befouling themselves. In fact, reading them one is nearly left with the conclusion that a) they are idiots (not outside the realm or responsibility) or b) shills for Kim Jong Un because they are staunchly of the school that says KJU play 10-dimensional chess or c) see themselves being discredited and hence putting their access to the public teat into jeopardy.

As I’ve posted before, the march to war has its own logic as a nation’s political leadership becomes more and more invested in a course of action. During my Desert Storm days in the Army’s operations center, or “war room,” the regional experts were predicting an “Arab solution” even as 24th Infantry Division was on ships in mid-Atlantic. It didn’t take a strategic genius to see that wasn’t going to happen. No way was the US sending several divisions to Saudi Arabia and not using them.

With North Korea we are at a point where Trump can’t hold formal talks with North Korea even if he wanted to unless they first agree to abide by all the UN Security Council Resolutions that have been passed in regards to their nukes and missiles. If the did so, the walk back from his rhetoric would be political suicide and make him a laughingstock. He might not mind the former, because I don’t think he runs in 2020, but he will not countenance the latter. Kim has to keep his nukes and missiles in order to keep his head from gracing the tip of a pike. In short, there is nothing left to talk about. Going a step further, Kim is basically committed to firing more ICBMs, both over Japan and in the general direction of Guam. And he probably was dead serious about an atmospheric test of a NK nuke over the North Pacific because that is the only way he can demonstrate to domestic and foreign audiences that he can strike the United States. That test is a line that Trump probably can’t ignore.