When There’s Confusion Over Where a U.S. Aircraft Carrier Is, the Military Chain of Command Is Dangerously Broken – Slate Magazine


The Vinson episode also illustrates, once again, how questions about the president’s truthfulness can have adverse strategic consequences. Our friends and allies, including South Korea, can hardly take comfort in knowing the American cavalry is coming when the administration speaks so cavalierly. Conversely, America’s adversaries listen to every presidential word—whether he wants to be taken literally or not. They also check those words against their intelligence, gathered via their own satellites, spies, and other means. The Russians and Chinese watch the Vinson’s movements closely and surely noticed the gap between the statements from Pacific Command, the Pentagon, and the White House. Bluffing works in statecraft, but only when your opponent can’t see your cards. In Moscow and Beijing, President Trump’s word now carries less force, because he has devalued it by making statements that are demonstrably untrue about the deployment of American military forces.