Trump May Have Brought The Korean Peninsula To The Brink Of Destruction With Transgender Tweet

While the media has focused on the obviously uncoordinated and botched rollout of Trump’s transgender military ban, obsessing on the status of currently serving transgender forces and whether the ban applies even in the Department of Defense, one hugely important and potentially devastating foreign policy angle seems to me to have been largely overlooked.

Trump originally tweeted “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……” at 8:55am. An agonizingly long nine minutes later he continued, “Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military….”. According to Buzzfeed, “At the Pentagon, the first of the three tweets raised fears that the president was getting ready to announce strikes on North Korea or some other military action. Many said they were left in suspense for nine minutes, the time between the first and second tweet. Only after the second tweet did military officials receive the news the president was announcing a personnel change on Twitter.”

Look, if people at the Pentagon feared that Trump was launching a strike on North Korea, imagine what the North Koreans were thinking, especially in light of reports that the North Koreans are preparing another imminent missile test. I doubt that their missile detection systems are all that robust and, if they were paying attention to Trump’s tweets (and we can be pretty sure they are), the North Koreans must have been preparing the massive military assault on South Korea that an attack would precipitate. We will perhaps never know whether Trump’s tweet prompted any action by North Korea. But, if the past is any guide, we have seen numerous occasions where simple misunderstanding like this nearly brought us to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

Maybe I’m overreacting here but this does not seem like an outlandish proposition. Trump may have brought South Korea to the brink of utter destruction today and precipitated a deadly war with North Korea that could have easily expanded into a struggle with China and Russia. As far as I know, not one media outlet has focused on that possibility. And that is almost as frightening as the nine minute wait on Trump’s incomplete tweet.

Originally published at on July 26, 2017.