Milley May Have Frightened China With Phone Call

By | September 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

Suppose you owned a store. Suppose you phoned the owner of a rival store and said, “I won’t burn your store down, but if I plan to, I’ll tell you first.”

Or suppose there is a guy you dislike at work, a rival for promotion. Suppose you phoned him at home and said, “I won’t hire two guys to break your legs, but if I plan to, I’ll tell you first.”

What do you suppose the recipients of those phone calls would think? They would think you were disturbed, possibly unstable. They would think they were being threatened. They would think they should take steps to defend themselves and neutralize you.

Even worse, suppose the recipients of your phone calls were not native speakers of English. Then your indirect threat might sound like a direct threat.

Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and chief advisor to the president, did essentially that. If Bob Woodward’s book can be believed, he phoned his counterpart in the Chinese army. He said we had no plans to attack, but if we did, Milley would tell him first.

Given the unusual, not to say bizarre, nature of the call, and given the language and cultural barrier, what do you suppose the Chinese general heard? No, not what Milley said. I’m asking what the Chinese general heard, and then relayed to Chairman Xi.

If the accusations are correct, Milley committed sedition and mutiny. He urged the National Military Command Center – or the National Security Council, depending on the version of the report – to disobey President Trump and obey Milley. This is a capital offense.

But even worse, he gave a bizarre message to China that might have been construed as a threat rather than what Milley intended, a reassurance. In the nuclear age, and considering the aggressive nature of the Xi regime, this was dangerous in the extreme.

Let us make sure this never happens again. Next time our luck may run out. Only fools depend on luck in the nuclear age. Only bigger fools put fools in charge in the nuclear age.

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