Relax: Rex Tillerson Is Going To Wait Until ‘The First Bomb Drops’ To Nuke North Korea

Another day, another ultimately futile effort from Trump officials to walk back angry presidential tweets.

The most amusing thing about the entire Rex Tillerson “moron” saga was that the NBC story came just days after Trump undermined his own Secretary of State on social media.

Less than 24 hours after Tillerson told reporters in Beijing that the U.S. is in direct contact with Pyongyang via “a couple, three channels” potentially opening the door for a peaceful resolution to the crisis, Trump tweeted this:


That is as unequivocal as unequivocal gets. That is Donald Trump, from his verified Twitter account, telling Tillerson that negotiating with North Korea is a “waste of time.” The only ambiguity comes in the second tweet as it’s not entirely clear what it is that “has to be done.” But because the first tweet rules out diplomacy, the second tweet by definition is a reference to a military solution.

Following that, administration officials scrambled to “explain” why Trump didn’t actually mean what he said, and those efforts were undercut by the NBC story which revealed that Tillerson once called Trump a “moron.”

The notion that Trump understands how catastrophic military action would be in this situation was debunked further when, in a followup to the original story, NBC reported that Tillerson’s “moron” remark came after Trump suggested that the U.S. should increase its nuclear arsenal “tenfold” in order – and I can’t even believe I’m saying this – to ensure that Trump’s name isn’t at the lower right-hand corner of a “downward sloping” line chart.

Well fast forward to today and Tillerson showed up on CNN’s “State of the Union,” where he said this:

Just to drive that home, when asked directly if Trump “thinks it’s a waste of time” to negotiate with Kim, Tillerson said “no sir, he has made it clear to me to continue my diplomatic efforts.

Someone is lying here. Either Tillerson is lying or Trump is lying on Twitter. Because again, Trump said this just 14 days ago:


There’s no getting around that. Tillerson can’t untweet it. That’s what Trump said. So either Trump was lying two Sundays ago by posturing on Twitter or Tillerson is lying this Sunday. That’s all there is to this.

But it got better, here’s what Rex said when asked (again) about the “moron” comment:

Do you see why this is problematic? Tillerson is trying to spin this as something that isn’t important – as something that’s “petty.” It’s not. If the Secretary of State called the President a “moron” after a meeting in which the President suggested building up the nation’s collection of nuclear weapons, that is a “bigly” deal. It’s the exact opposite of “petty.”

Finally, getting back to North Korea and the first clip shown above, someone needs to work with Rex on his PR skills because “until the first bomb drops” doesn’t inspire much in the way of confidence.


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20 thoughts on “Relax: Rex Tillerson Is Going To Wait Until ‘The First Bomb Drops’ To Nuke North Korea

  1. The heisenberg story on this is 8th grade understanding of geopolitics and simply part of a knee jerk reaction to anything done by a person he clearly despises. The “tweet” is anything but “unequivocal…” In this particular instance it is both unsettling to No. Korea and gives Tillerson a clear wedge he can use to pry a very stubborn adversary off their scripted game plan. Has anyone noticed that all this bombastic rhetoric hasn’t yet produced armed conflict?? won’t.

    As unproductive and juvenile as Trump’s tweets are concerning domestic politics..this is entirely different. By any standard No. Korea has outmaneuvered the US at every turn. They have, from a VERY weak initial position in the 1980s,, managed to stall, delay, frustrate and bamboozle the major military power on Earth long enough to develop a comprehensive deterrent to attack.

    China is the key..and they won’t act until their big Commie meet-up is done. They MAY just be annoyed enough by Kimbo to do something..we’ll see. IF they have finally had enough you can’t your last won ton that Kimbo’s days are numbered…and he knows it.

    1. “An 8th grade understanding of geopolitics.”

      Hey Greg, question: how many actual degrees from large universities do you hold in political science?

      I’d be willing to bet it’s less than the number we have.

      1. point being, you are entitled to your interpretation of events, but when it comes to the *technical* definition of “an 8th grade understanding”, we are, by virtue of our education level in this field, exempt from that criticism.

    2. Pinelli, your opening sentence was a little rude. You know your could make your point with your opinion without insulting our Host.

      “And..hint..” your final sentence makes no sense.

        1. we’re not big believers in this thing where anonymous bloggers pretend like they’re news wires by adopting a policy of never commenting on their own posts. so occasionally, when someone irks us, we’ll comment.

          sure, it’s likely that our comments will be sarcastic and/or arrogant, but at least we care enough about our visitors to read what they’re saying.

          that’s as opposed to other popular blogs penned by anonymous authors where the policy is to pretend like the readers are nothing more than a means to an end where the end is “clicks.”

    3. Some Asian geopolitical experts I’ve read have opined that China’s hands have been tied ever since the Chinese plot to assassinate Kim and replace him with his half-brother was foiled by Kim’s murder of his would-be assassins and half-brother at KLIA in February after details of the Chinese plan were leaked to Kim. Two can play the assassination game and the Chinese know it. Kim, like his father and grandfather, has proven to be a survivor and as time passes Kim only becomes more strong and entrenched. He’s not going away now. Blame Obama for failing to resolve this situation when he had years to do so while holding the upper hand. Now it’s a standoff. Another failure on the part of a failed president.

      1. Why do you insist on blaming Obama for all the woes of this world? You sound ridiculous. No, actually you sound like trump! hahaha!

        1. that’s funny lol….,but no can’t blame “all the woes of the world” on obama and, to be fair, the blame is certainly shared in the matter of Kim as, for example, it wouldn’t have been right to take out Kim in his first year or so while he was still an unknown.

          1. A President alone cannot legally order the assassination of the head of a country. Maybe you need to do some research on that subject.

        2. well there’s at least one woe that obama and trump can clearly share the blame for… if jerome powell becomes fed chair as looks likely at present.

          1. How about this…rather than you just knock people, like your comment about Jerome Powell, maybe you would tell us who you would think is best for the job. Got any ideas?

          2. Jim Grant but that’s impossible as his medicine is too strong for many.

            Alternately, Kevin Warsh by a mile among the named candidates.

            H presented a chart comparing the candidates twice this month which I think fairly summarized their positions. Except it wasn’t scathing enough of Powell, who in fact has fancied a debt jubilee and advocated debt monetization.


            Warsh is too independent for Trump & Mnuchin whereas Powell will be a weak puppet on a string for the Admin, enabling Fed policy to be run from the White House rather than being quasi-independent. In other words, the Fed will become more political and markets more fake than when candidate Trump bemoaned all that.

            As Jim Grant stated a year ago, Trump will come to love the bubble economy and bubble markets and make the bubble even worse.

            Expect high inflation coming down the pike, radical policy and then the worst economy in a century (serious stagflation).

            Go Kevin.

          3. Yeahbut ALL the candidates are quite similar in those same kinda ways. They all suck but you gotta pick one of them.

            Like how Hillary and Trump both sucked but that was the choice: crook or jerk.

            Powell is also rich investment banker lawyer with deep ties to Wall St elite.
            Main diff is P is a printer, W purports to be less so (we’ll see).

            I never heard of “Dean Baker” in that rag you linked; at least I linked to the ex CME Director who is now a pro trader… someone who has to WORK in MARKETS for a living using his wits, rather than someone in Quito Ecuador (protectors of Julian Assange) who is apparently instead intent on OVERTHROWING MARKETS – so his ideal would be Venezuela or the former Soviet union.

            Anyway that rag is wrong because warsh has little chance and Powell is so far ahead of everyone (as mnuchin publicly endorsed powell last week), it’s apparently almost a done deal. No wonder the US dollar just had its worst week in months.


        3. bridgewater & jim grant is old news and already has been discussed even in this H blog …. as have some of these other issues already here…. so i dont wanna rehash it,, maybe you should go read the H financial threads not just the trump one?

          Jim was right to rip a piece out of bridgewater and dalio …. good on him… read H on that… i agree…. too bad he had to backtrack under pressure or whatever.

          Yes he is old…… in financials, old is good …… experienced…. unlike the foolish young whippersnappers who haven’t experienced stuff and so blow things up…
          Like a bunch of money managers out there who never worked in a bear market.

  2. It seems kind of a pointless discussion – debating the usefulness of two authoritarian leaders infantile dialogs considering that both leaders’ leadership have outright or highly questionable legal provenance. By all historic standards, serious international discussions have not been carried out by real US Presidents in the populist media of the time – or now Twitter. They simply don’t have to stoop that low to seriously communicate. Just the use of Twitter as negotiating tool, begs the question of Trump’s level of real authority as the supposed “leader” of the US.

    I find it hard to believe that any adversarial, or allied international government interacting with US government seriously considers Trump to be anything more than an occupier (temporary and in name only President) of the Office of President.

    In most democratic nations where elections have this much suggestion and considerable evidence of corruption, collusion, and foreign interference with a democratic election – a re-election would have already been called for and achieved by now. It’s my personal belief that Trump would never be elected on a level playing field, without Russian interference. That said, in most real democracies – the competition for the top office of the country by two people with the negative personal and professional histories of both Clinton and Trump – would likely have never been allowed to start with. This leaves the US to question the reality of the functionality and credibility of its own thoroughly monetized “democracy” and its corrupted election system.

    Trump occupying the White House while the degrees of illegal collusion and foreign influence in the 2016 election are determined by the nations top investigatory agencies – is apparently considered by “the powers that be” – to be the path of least embarrassment and disorder for the US government. So, Trump remains apparently President, but in reality with limited power, diminishing support and ability.

    Trump’s use of Twitter reminds me of a child’s use of the little plastic steering wheel suction-cupped on to his car seat – spinning that wheel furiously trying to look like a real “driver.” Awaiting the outcomes of these very high profile investigations is what boils down to – the determination of the legitimacy of Trump’s election as President and the degree of legality/ill-legality of his growing obvious collusion with Russia. Trump and his supporters know this, and that’s why they so fervently try to misdirect the rest of the country’s attention from it.

    Internationally, no one considers Trump to be a serious “driver”/leader – much less a competent and capable leader of the US. It has become clearer daily that Trump is just filling a circumstantial (because of his illegitimate election) vacuum in the White House. No serious political leader is going to see that the daily CFs of the Trump’s his Administration’s embarrassing leadership efforts aren’t going to be turned over by a legitimate President once the Trump election investigation completes.

    This begs the question – why would leader of a developed or developing nation negotiate with a temporary office occupier in the White House. Any agreements reached or altered – are no more permanent and binding than the questionable legatimacy of Trump and his Administration. I can see how Kim thinks he is elevating his piss-ant country’s status with the rest of Asia and the world – by tweaking an intellectually impotent and questionably legal US “leader.” However, given Trump’s responses to Kim on Twitter, he only further clarify his real lack of Presidential authority, and limited ability to do anything from his temporary occupancy of the White House where he awaits the outcome (and potential prosecution) of the current investigation focused on him and his election irregularities and or crimes.

    It also seems Mueller’s investigation is taking far too long, given the target rich environment of shady characters and foreign agents in Trump’s 2016 election orbit and the flows of millions of dollars from them to support Trump’s election efforts. Of course the US political system can not afford to be further embarrassed by seeing the US democracy and election process legality and credibility questioned or the resulting sitting “elected” President – prosecuted.

    Consequently, I personally think that Trump will likely have a health issue – physical, mental (doesn’t have to be created), or an unfortunate fatal accident that will eliminate what appears to be an almost certain need to prosecute a sitting US President. I don’t see Trump quietly stepping down as Richard “I’m not a crook” NiXon did. Trump’s ego is far too big and his empire’s financial underpinnings far too precious.

    1. Good job. I wonder if trump would agree to not fight it and step down if his only other option was to go to trial and perhaps prison and lose his “brand” that he likes to sell/rent. Surely he can come up with a good lie (he is good at that) as to why he is vacating the office.

      Kinda like when he had that terrible foot condition but wanted desperately to serve his country because no one could do that better than him; but no, he had to accept that he could not serve his country. sad.

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