This week's edition of The 45th newsletter.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula continue to simmer following a week of posturing – and a series of blunders from both North Korea and the United States.
North Korea's failed test of a medium-range ballistic missile, that blew up almost immediately Sunday, did not provoke a military response from the United States, but the US capacity to respond was called into question overnight with a report from The New York Times. President Trump last week told Fox News that the US was sending an armada into the Sea of Japan to act as a powerful deterrent signal to North Korea. The problem was that the aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, and the three other warships in its strike force were that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean.
White House officials told the NYT that they had been relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from an ill-timed announcement of the deployment by the military’s Pacific Command to an erroneous explanation by the defense secretary, James Mattis – all of which perpetuated the false narrative that a flotilla was racing toward the waters off North Korea.
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