In my long experience in Washington, vice presidents did not make major foreign policy announcements or threaten other countries with war. Not even Dick Cheney stole this role from the weak President George W. Bush.
But Wednesday the world witnessed VP Pence threaten North Korea with war. “The sword stands ready,” said Pence as if he is the commander in chief.
Perhaps he is.
Where is Trump? As far as I can tell from the numerous emails I receive from him, he is at work marketing his presidency. Once Trump won the election, I began receiving endless offers to purchase Trump baseball caps, T-shirts, cuff-links, coffee mugs, and to donate $3 to be entered into a raffle to win some memorabilia. The latest offer is a chance to win one of “personally signed five incredible photographs of our historic and massive inauguration.”
For Trump, the presidency is a fund-raising device. If his VP, national security advisor, secretary of defense, UN ambassador, CIA director, whoever, want to start wars wherever, that’s just more memorabilia to raffle off for a $3 donation.
As a result of Trump’s failure to govern his own government, we have VP Pence telling Russia and China that there could be a nuclear exchange on their borders between the US and North Korea. Although Pence is not smart enough to know, this is not something Russia and China will accept.
Washington worries about North Korea having nuclear weapons, but the entire world worries that Washington has nuclear weapons. And so many of them. World polls have shown that the majority of the world’s population are far more concerned about the threat to peace posed by Washington and Israel than by Iran, North Korea, Russia and China.
Pence prefaced his “the sword stands ready” remark with “the United States of America will always seek peace,” which after Serbia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria is as false a statement as it is possible to make. From Washington’s perspective it is always Washington’s victims that are “reckless and provocative,” never Washington.
The US stands for war. If the world is driven to Armageddon, it will be Washington, not North Korea, Iran, Russia, or China, that brings life on earth to an end.
Copyright © 2017 Paul Craig Roberts
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.