The Wall Street Journal reports that Donald Trump is actually making the world smile—or at least those parts of the world that don’t depend on the United States to display competence.
The revelation that the Pentagon didn’t send the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, as U.S. officials had said, directly toward North Korea as a stern message to Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs sparked ridicule in some corners of Asia and wariness in others.
In 1580, King Philip II of Spain launched a 130-ship invasion force toward England, only to lose nearly all the ships to battle, storms, and simple bad planning. It’s history’s most famous “lost armada.” Compared to King Philip, Donald Trump is doing much better. He only misplaced his ships.
Asked about the deployment in an interview with Fox Business Network that aired April 12, President Trump said: “We are sending an armada, very powerful.”
U.S. media went into overdrive, and Fox reported on April 14 that the armada was “steaming” toward North Korea.
Er … no. No it wasn’t. And now …
Chinese news portal Guancha.cn declared: “Media around the entire world have been duped by Trump again!” The Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid, took that observation a step further, saying American, South Korean and Japanese media had committed a “major screw-up.”
Trump’s missing armada wasn’t off by just a little bit ...
Instead of steaming toward the Korea Peninsula, the carrier strike group was actually headed in the opposite direction to take part in “scheduled exercises with Australian forces in the Indian Ocean,” according to Defense News, which first reported the story.
Which is somewhat less hilarious in the place where those ships were being used as a threat.
In North Korea, the U.S. Navy’s admission that the Carl Vinson was actually thousands of miles away on exercises off Australia’s coast and won’t arrive to the Korean Peninsula until next week prompted the state-run news service to say Washington “now bluffs that it was a ‘warning’ act” against the country.
And even less amusing in the place where those ships were being counted on as a defense. Though it was extremely educational.
In South Korea, Hong Joon-pyo ... said: “What Mr. Trump said was very important for the national security of South Korea. If that was a lie, then during Trump’s term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says.”
What damages the United States more than any attack? A reputation for lying so throughly that allies don’t trust America to have their backs.