One of the most colorful news item of the past few weeks was Donald Trump gushing over the beautiful chocolate cake he and the Chinese President Xi Jinping ate as missiles struck that base in Syria. It sounded absolutely delicious.
Many now suggest that that and the MOAB attack in Afghanistan were attempts to deter North Korea's Kim Jong-un. Did it work to that effect? We don't know yet, but it was a good effort.
It brings to mind the movie quote from the one and only Dr. Strangelove:
Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy... the FEAR to attack.
Niall Ferguson has a commentary in which he addresses North Korea's military capability. In short, except for the possible nuclear or dirty bomb, it's not that great. See Are we on the brink of a second Korean War?. But there's this astute observation:
Remember: Brinkmanship is only effective if your adversaries believe that you are more prepared to go over the brink than they are. Nor should the domestic political benefits of successful brinkmanship be forgotten.
Commentators say Kim Jong-un is crazy. But they say that about Donald Trump, too. That works for me -- crazy is a pretty good defense. If we can convince Jong-un that we are crazier than he is then it just might produce in his mind sufficient fear for effective deterrence.
12:31 PM 4/18/2017