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U.S. Aircraft Carrier Carl Vinson: Where Are You?

April 21, 2017
Plain English Version

The USS Carl Vinson steaming toward Australia and away from North Korea. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)

The U.S. said an aircraft carrier group (an “armada”) was heading toward North Korea. It was a show of force. The intent was to show the North Koreas leader that the U.S. was serious. It was time for North Korea to come to the table. It was time for North Korea to end its nuclear threats.

There was a problem. A photo (above) showed the USS Carl Vinson was not going to North Korea. It was heading in the opposite direction. Along with other ships, it was on its way to Australia. The U.S, Navy was to take part in a military exercise.

In the global language of diplomacy, this was embarrassing. It made the U.S. look bad. If the mistake were not so serious, this would be funny.

President Trump had been on a roll. He sent cruise missiles into Syria. He dropped a huge bomb in Afghanistan. He was intent on showing that the U.S. was serious about using its military might. Some people, including the president, thought this could be the way to peace.

He made sure to call the President of China to tell him what was happening.

The aircraft carrier group is now heading toward North Korea. But the U.S. lost the moment (and perhaps the point).

Trump believed the ships were going toward North Korea. Still, he cannot admit he was wrong. His press secretary explained. What the carrier was doing was not the issue. It was going to China soon So, Trump was right.

The response of the world to the incident was not kind

A North Korean News Service commented that Washington “now bluffs that it was a ‘warning’ act” against the country.

A South Korean candidate for president said, “What the U.S, the president said was very important for the national security of South Korea. If that was a lie… South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says.”

Chinese news outlets stated: “Media around the entire world have been duped by Trump again!” In a comment in The Global Times: “American, South Korean and Japanese media had committed a “major screw-up.”

These are not the kinds of mistakes, the U.S. military makes.

The first one hundred days of the Trump government are almost over. There has been no progress on immigration or health care reform. The world awaits plans for Syria and Afghanistan. There are likely to be more crises ahead.

Source: The Wall Street Journal April 19, 2017

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