Is Trump Stirring Conflict With North Korea To Distract From Scandals?

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President Donald Trump seems passionate about the idea of war with North Korea, but why now? His latest threat's timing may give us the answer.

Trump waves to the public after being inaugurated president. As Robert Mueller's Russia investigation ravages through documents tied to some of President Donald Trump's closest allies  — and family members — the president is feeling the heat.

So what better way to get the attention off his failings than to start another war?

When Trump felt overwhelmed with the hate he was getting from the media early in his presidency, he took on the weakest target he could find and bombed it: Syria. The result? Praise from the very outlets that had been giving him nothing but grief ever since he took office.

With North Korea, this might as well be the same case, especially as we learn Americans' dislike for Trump has reached a new low.

On Tuesday, when it was revealed that North Korea had created a miniaturized nuclear weapon that would fit inside its missiles, the president threatened the isolated nation by saying that all threats against the United States would be met “with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Later, Pyongyang responded through its state media by saying the country was considering attacking the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

However, as many specialists have already pointed out, North Korea's current nuclear capabilities and the risk they could actually pose have yet to be tested. The country has never attacked the U.S. directly, but instead has only threatened in response to the U.S. threats to put an end to the communist nation.

Seeing his fiery rhetoric was igniting stern responses from Pyongyang, Trump may have thought that he could use this to his benefit.

As The Independent explained, wars can be of great use to politicians who need a boost in their reputation.

In the past, even President Bill Clinton's decision to remain involved in the conflicts devastating the territory formerly known as Yugoslavia was heavily backed by the U.S. population.

Before him, President George H. W. Bush got a 61 percent approval rating in 1990 after launching Operation Desert Storm, while President John F. Kennedy benefited from a jump from 61 to 74 percent approval rating after the Cuban Missile Crisis had passed.

To the current president, this manipulative foreign policy strategy might seem feasible, and even rewarding. 

With a legislative agenda that has crumbled completely at home, Trump seems out of ideas on how to get his mojo back. Getting the U.S. engaged in yet another war seems like the perfect distraction tool.

Still, unlike what happened when Trump attacked Syria, few influential figures or talking heads are actually taking the threat of war with North Korea seriously. Despite the lack of official support, however, the president may have tapped into something special with his followers once again by promising them another military engagement with the world.

By speaking to those who are proud of America's bellicose enterprises abroad, Trump seems to be looking up to President George W. Bush, who saw support for his war among voters grow considerably after the U.S. invaded Iraq.

So, perhaps, Trump isn't interested in what news outlets are going to say about him if he does put the U.S. in a path of war with North Korea this time. Instead, he might just be interested in getting his poll numbers up.

Regardless of the end goal, he's doing what he loves to do best: talk about something loud enough until all the focus is on his agenda, not what's going on behind the curtains.

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

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