On today's BradCast, rising tensions and ratcheted up concerns about Donald Trump's escalating saber rattling against North Korea, even as Americans head to the polls in disapproval of the Administration for the first federal elections of the Trump Era.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said something incredibly stupid today. And while that's hardly a news flash, our guest today, Steve Herman, Voice of America's White House Bureau Chief, was there and explains what happened.
More importantly, the veteran 26-year journalist who, until recently, had been based in Asia, joins us to offer key background and perspective on the Trump's provocative, arguably aggressive and certainly cryptic new position on nuclear armed North Korea, on the heels of his cruise missile strike last week on Syria, a U.S. Navy strike group now reportedly heading towards the Korean Peninsula in a "show of force", and North Korea warning of a nuclear strike if provoked.
The always-remarkably level-headed Herman offers important insight on what could be yet another new American military confrontation with a nation that has long charged the U.S. is preparing to attack them. Is Trump offering evidence to prove Kim Jong Un correct? Is this all little more than a continuation of decades-old U.S. policy following the Korean War which has never officially been declared over? Should Americans be confident that Trump's military advisers are fully explaining the potential fall-out from an attack on the politically isolated nation? Will he even listen to them if so? And what about China, Japan, South Korea and others in the region? Are they on board with Trump's new show of force?
Herman speaks to all of those questions and many others, while both succeeding, in part, and failing, in part to talk me fully off the ledge regarding my concerns about a potential new provocation and military confrontation with another, even less stable, nuclear power. Just one example: "One thing I've observed about them [North Korea] over many, many decades --- they seem to have this amazing ability to do something provocative without it leading to an actual military retaliation by the South Koreans and the U.S.," Herman reassures, before cautioning: "But, again, we may be in a different era here with President Trump. He may not want to have the same sort of restraint that we saw through both Republican and Democratic administrations over several decades."
I'd suggest today's conversation is a must-listen.
Also today: Voting is underway today in a special election for what is being seen by both Republicans and Democrats to be a remarkably tight race to fill an open Republican U.S. House seat in a deeply Republican district in Kansas. Today's results could be a bellwether for not only 2018, but for another special election next Tuesday for the U.S. House in another GOP district, in Georgia, which is now being regarded by political analysts, incredibly enough, as a "toss-up". Can democracy really save U.S. democracy? And, finally today, in hopes of lightening things up a bit on the way out, some happily ironic news about the Kentucky Coal Museum in a nearly forgotten tiny coal town...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)