Very, Very Bad

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February 2, 2018 9:41 p.m.

I’d say we need to know more about. Quickly.

From a South Korean paper, flagged on Twitter by The Washington Post’s Tokyo Bureau Chief …

Indeed, White House National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs Matthew Pottinger was reported as saying in a recent closed-door meeting with US experts on Korean Peninsula issues that a limited strike on the North “might help in the midterm elections.”

The Post’s Anna Fifield identifies the paper Hankyoreh as “left-wing” and that it is the only paper currently reporting it. I don’t know more about the source. But this sounds like something we need to know more about very quickly. The report suggests Trump may see such a move not simply in the context of the standard efforts to help in a midterm election but to ward offer facing the prospect of impeachment or actual investigations under a Democratic congress.

Late Update: Some follow-on commentary on this report (noted here among other places) suggests that the translation may make it sound more concrete than it does in the original. More like, “we’ve heard” in a generic sense that it “was reported.” So this sounds more like scuttlebutt, what people are hearing that a confirmed report. Still, given the stakes and what else we are hearing, maximum scrutiny is warranted.

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