WASHINGTON — In prepared remarks today, President Donald Trump warned rival nations that any aggression would result in “frighteningly random” reactions from the United States, which even he could not predict.
“When I say frighteningly random, I don’t…we’re not…it’s not random for strategic reasons, okay?” warned Trump.
“I mean I don’t get foreign policy, so any actions I take will be complete guesswork. Maybe a provocation that was minor in the past will result in sanctions this time, or lifting existing sanctions, or a targeted killing, or billions in aid money. Maybe all four. Maybe the response will be nothing, but who knows what that might mean? It could just be a loose wire failing to launch a missile. I’m the busiest president in history, and I don’t have time to follow up on all the reprisals I order in a day.”
The president then laid out additional factors beyond his disinterest, such as institutional dysfunction and strategic confusion, which he said would contribute to making any US response especially unpredictable.
“Of the many, many agencies that give me the tools of hard and soft power, I understand maybe a quarter of what they do. Using dozens of advisers and a National Security Council that’s somehow both bloated and understaffed at the same time only complicates things,” explained Trump. “Also, even the ones that I think I understand fairly well might misunderstand me, choose to ignore my intent, or ignore my orders entirely. This could be because of contradictory orders from Congress, or my own cabinet, or just due to laziness or incompetence.”
“And that’s not even getting into the agencies and departments that work behind a veil of secrecy I don’t have the time or interest to penetrate,” Trump added. “Even Congress doesn’t know what these guys do. They might already be reacting to your provocations in ways so distributed that there might not be a single person in the agency who realizes we’ve responded to you at all. For all we know, the response could also come from a single poorly-supervised bureaucrat so obscure that nobody in the entire government understands the terrifying power his insignificant job has put in his hands.”
Trump then addressed cyberattacks, previously believed to be an issue of agreement between his campaign and foreign governments.
“By now, I’m sure your hackers have probed every file on every server owned by our government and political parties. I ask you to turn to your intelligence officials right now, during this speech, and ask whether they can confirm to you that at no level is there any kind of coordinated plan behind my administration’s actions,” Trump said, then pausing for several seconds. “If so, I’ll tell you one last time…tread lightly, because when it comes to countering aggression, nothing’s off the table,” he concluded.
“I mean that literally. There’s just this one table in the Situation Room that controls our responses to aggression, but it was built in 1962 and most of the labels have come off the buttons.”
Following Trump’s address, Sen. John McCain released a statement sharply critical of Trump’s terrifyingly random foreign policy as simply being a continuation of the Obama Doctrine.