Good morning and welcome to Early Warning for Wednesday, 20 September.
In his speech to the United Nations yesterday, President Trump said that if North Korea continues on its current trajectory of posing a threat to U.S. national security, the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” The media went into full defense mode for the North Korean dictator — a victim of Trump’s bullying, according to mainstream pundits. The Kim regime, of course, in recent days has made several threats to target the U.S. with nuclear weapons. My concern remains that the strong rhetoric on both sides moves past political and strategic theater and pushes us into war. The highest risk still remains the possibility that the Kim regime mistakes U.S. and allied military movements or exercises for preparations for a preemptive strike. If the Kim regime believes a preemptive strike is imminent, there are no longer deterrents to using nuclear weapons.
Benjamin Franklin wrote that “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government. When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved.” A new poll by the leftist Brookings Institute finds that 44 percent of college students surveyed believe that the First Amendment does not protect “hate speech”. 51 percent believe that shutting down a speaker with whom they disagree is acceptable, and nearly 20 percent believe that using violence to oppose speakers with whom they disagree is acceptable. I’ll write more about this in today’s post in Low Intensity Conflict.