There were obviously going to be questions after Steve Bannon broke out of the cone of silence and did an interview with The American Prospect. The first and most glaring one is probably… what is Steve Bannon doing giving interviews? He is, perhaps, the one person who has been demonized even more than the President in the liberal media while simultaneously becoming a hated figure among the GOP establishment types who don’t care to see the traditional leadership eroded. Anything he says in public is probably going to be torn to shreds even if it’s a comment on liking puppies. But then again, maybe it takes some of the heat off the President himself in the middle of this Charlottesville debate? Possible, I suppose.
But moving on to the meat of the interview, Bannon covered a number of topics including the particularly tricky situation in North Korea. As related in the Associated Press, Steve’s conclusion is a bit out of step with everyone else. In particular, he said that there is no military solution to the problem of Kim Jong-un.
President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon says there’s no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, despite the president’s recent pledge to answer further aggression with “fire and fury.”
“There’s no military solution (to North Korea’s nuclear threats), forget it,” Bannon says. “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
Trump tweeted earlier Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “made a very wise and well-reasoned decision” by backing down after heightening fears of nuclear conflict in a series of combative threats, including against the U.S. territory of Guam.
I could almost get behind what Bannon is saying here if he’d only added one more word to that sentence. There’s no good military solution to the North Korean situation. But there most certainly is a solution. His concerns about millions in Seoul dying in the first half hour (along with God only knows how many of our troops near the DMZ) are completely valid. I’ve done a few pieces here in the past reviewing the conclusions of various military analysts and they all agree that any war with North Korea would be a bloody mess of unimaginable proportions. But it’s a bloody spectacle that we would still win before very long.
The other problem with Bannon’s comments in the interview is that he’s obviously not on the same page as the Joint Chiefs and, presumably, his boss. Check out what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs had to say only a few hours later. (Associated Press, emphasis added)
The top U.S. military officer said Thursday a military solution to the North Korean missile threat would be “horrific” but allowing Pyongyang to develop the capability to launch a nuclear attack on the United States is “unimaginable.”
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, told reporters in Beijing that President Donald Trump directly has “told us to develop credible viable military options and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
Dunford was responding to questions about Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon’s comments in an interview published Wednesday.
Now the door is open for reporters to begin pressing Trump on this as soon as he takes more questions. If he’s asked whether there’s no military option or if the military is providing him with solutions he’ll either have to throw the Joint Chiefs under the bus or make it look as if Bannon is out of the loop. Ideally he would go back to the position he normally took on the campaign trail and simply say that he’s not going to show all of his cards until they’re needed, while suggesting that an attack is always an option The last thing we want to do is rebuild a sense of confidence in Kim Jong-un that we won’t make good on our threats.
I’m really hoping Trump backs the Joint Chiefs when the inevitable questions come up. Of course, that’s going to restart the entire rumor mill about Bannon being on the way out, but so be it. He might want to back off on the interviews for a while, though.