There’s a concept in political theory and popular politics called “wag the dog.” The basic idea is that an individual in power — say, a president — who is under some sort of criminal investigation for something — say, a sex scandal — decides to try to throw media attention off the investigation by instigating some other crisis — say, a fabricated war with Albania.
The phrase comes from the uncomfortably prescient movie of the same name.
So what does this have to do with the present American politics?
Related: Deranged Bully Vs. Unhinged Tyrant: Why Donald Trump And Kim Jong-Un Are Basically The Same Person
Trump’s saber rattling with North Korea comes at a perfect time. The Mueller Investigation had just impaneled a grand jury and was going to begin subpoenaing individuals. The FBI had raided Paul Manafort’s home. The walls were closing in.
And along comes this crisis with North Korea.
Now, in true Trump fashion, he can’t even manage to wag the dog right. After all, the crisis that they instigate isn’t supposed to be a world-ending one — but then, what else can we expect from an administration that has been nothing but incompetent.
I’m not about to say that the situation in North Korea is fabricated. Kim isn’t the most stable world leader and North Korea does this everytime we get a new president. This is just a perfectly timed coincidence.
And it’s one the right-wing is taking advantage of, as they call for people to “line up behind the President.” Consider what Sebastian Gorka, America’s own Nazi sympathizer, said on Fox and Friends:
“These are the moments when we have to come together as the nation and support the executive,” he said. “Whether you voted for him or not, whether they’re a Democrat, whether they’re a Republican, these are the trying times. During the Cuban missile crisis, we stood behind JFK. This is analogous to the Cuban missile crisis.”
Gorka added: “Anybody, whether they’re a member of a Congress, whether they’re a journalist: If you think your party politics, your ideology trumps the national security of America, that is an indictment of you.”
Convenient, huh? And of course, he isn’t alone: Gorka is joined by Lindsey Graham, who hasn’t met a non-white person he doesn’t want to blow up. Graham went so far as to say that Trump doesn’t even need Congress’ approval to blow up North Korea.
Even if there isn’t a military action against North Korea, I wouldn’t be surprised hear more right-wingers using this as an excuse to try and silence criticism of Donald Trump or if some Republicans — like Ryan — used it as an excuse to try to shut down the Russian investigation.
So even though this situation with North Korea is dangerous, it’s important to still keep your eyes on the Russian investigation. After all, in this situation, neither dog nor tail is very intelligent, as both have demonstrated time and again.