Trump’s Boring, Utterly Terrifying Warmongering
A few hours before Donald Trump’s first State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, the news broke that the White House was scrapping its choice for ambassador to South Korea, a position that remains unfilled a year into the administration.
According to The Washington Post, the nomination of Victor D. Cha, a hawkish veteran of the George W. Bush administration, was very close to being sent to the Senate, but was derailed when Cha privately expressed reservations about a preventive American strike on North Korea. The Financial Times reported that Cha was asked if he was “prepared to help manage the evacuation of American citizens from South Korea,” which would be necessary in the event of an American bombing. This is terrifying, because it suggests that Trump is serious about starting a war.
据《华盛顿邮报》(The Washington Post)报道，车维德(Victor D. Cha)的提名原本不久后就要递交给参议院。他曾在乔治・W・布什的政府中工作，对朝鲜态度强硬；但在他私下表示对美国对朝发动预防性打击持保留态度后，白宫放弃了他的提名。《金融时报》(The Financial Times)报道称，车维德被问及他是否“有设法帮助美国公民撤离韩国的准备”，如果美国进行轰炸，将有必要撤离公民。这很可怕，因为这表明特朗普正在认真考虑发动战争的事情。
Indeed, Cha himself seems frightened; just before the State of the Union started, he published an op-ed in The Washington Post arguing against a preventive attack. Apparently assuming that some readers would be indifferent to millions of potential Korean deaths, Cha emphasized that many Americans would also die in a military confrontation. “To be clear: The president would be putting at risk an American population the size of a medium-size U.S. city ― Pittsburgh, say, or Cincinnati ― on the assumption that a crazy and undeterrable dictator will be rationally cowed by a demonstration of U.S. kinetic power,” he wrote.
Cha’s warning made Trump’s State of the Union bellicosity toward North Korea particularly frightening. More than an hour into an interminable speech, Trump said, “North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.” He added: “Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this very dangerous position.”
Trump had in the audience the parents and siblings of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean forced-labor camp, and who died after being sent back to the United States with severe injuries. He seemed to be using Warmbier’s death to propagandize for war: “Tonight we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with total American resolve.”
Also in the audience was Ji Seong-ho, a heroic North Korean defector who lost his left hand and foot during the country’s famine in the mid- 1990s, and who was cheered as he held his crutches aloft. A Christian convert, Ji has argued that believers have a duty to destroy the regime. A 2010 profile of Ji in The Christian Post, an evangelical publication, said, “Despite North Korea’s cruel imprisonment and murder of anyone who advocates religion in the country, there is a Christian responsibility to tear down North Korea’s wall against Christianity and religion so that North Koreans may begin to worship and find joy, he stressed.” Ji’s presence could signal that Trump is trying to enlist his evangelical base in a crusade.
听众席中还有金成浩（Ji Seong-ho，音），这名勇敢的脱北者在1990年代中期的饥荒中失去了左手和左脚，他举起拐杖的时候，人们向他报以欢呼声。金成浩已皈依了基督教，他认为，基督徒有责任摧毁朝鲜政权。基督教福音派出版物《基督教邮报》(The Christian Post)在2010发表的一篇介绍金成浩的文章中写道，“他强调说，虽然朝鲜对在该国倡导宗教的所有人进行残酷监禁和屠杀，但是，基督徒有责任来拆毁朝鲜抵御基督教和宗教的大墙，只有这样，朝鲜人才能崇拜上帝、找到快乐。”金成浩出现在国情咨文演讲的现场可能意味着，特朗普正在试图为打一场宗教战争，赢得他的福音派大本营的支持。
America survived the first year of the Trump administration more or less intact. Tuesday indicated that our luck could be running out. If the country goes to war in North Korea, future historians will struggle to understand how we sleepwalked into Armageddon behind a man whose own cabinet considers him contemptible.
This State of the Union was the third-longest in the past 50 years. Perhaps never before has something so soporific been so tremendously alarming.