In the few days that I’ve been in northeast Asia, it is safe to say that geopolitical tensions have been on the rise. I swear to God that this is not my fault.
As North Korea has continued to defy the international community and as the Trump administration continues to be alarmed by the intel on North Korea, the war of words has heated up. President Trump got to say “fire and fury,” which spooked enough people that the secretary of state is now trying to calm everyone down.
Beyond Trump, however, the most bellicose rhetoric has come from Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president, a founding member of the Blowhard Hall of Fame and a repeat rejectee to the International Brotherhood of Third-Rate Bond Villains.
From the Fox News recap:
Some critics, including top Democrats and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), disagreed with the president’s rhetoric, which some saw as threatening a nuclear confrontation.
“I’m not sure how that helps,” said McCain.
Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president, said the message to Pyongyang from Trump is clear: “Don’t test this White House.”
“We were a superpower. We are now a hyperpower. Nobody in the world, especially not North Korea, comes close to challenging our military capabilities,” he said.
Gorka’s use of “hyperpower” is an international relations deep cut. The last time I heard that coinage was French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, who called the United States a “hyperpower” because he thought it “best describes ‘a country that is dominant or predominant in all categories.’”
Vedrine used that term at the peak of American power in the post-Cold War era, after a decade of impressive economic growth, technological innovation and relatively easy military victories. What is impressive about Gorka’s use of the term is his suggestion that Trump managed to turn the United States into a hyperpower in only six months, despite all objective and subjective data to the contrary.
The problem with Gorka’s use of the term is that beyond military superiority, he fails to discuss any of the benefits of being a hyperpower. What, exactly, are the perks of hyperpowerfulness, besides being able to coin the word “hyperpowerfulness”? One would think that since Gorka has no actual policy responsibilities he could have figured this out, but no. It looks like I’m going to have to bail Gorka out. Again.
After listening to Trump, Gorka and others discuss how they think about power over the past six months, I’ve learned that the primary benefits that come with being the global hyperpower appear to resemble the benefits that come with staying at a super-deluxe hotel:
- Delicious pieces of chocolate cake are available 24/7;
- Binders full of laudatory printouts available twice a day at your convenience;
- Unlimited guest appearances on ‘Fox & Friends’;
- You get to put ‘heavy moves’ on people;
- Everyone writes everything about you and only you;
- Extra towels in locations close to a U.S. military base;
- Military commanders pretend to defer to your authority without doing much of anything;
- Absolutely no one makes fun of you, except for foreigners, experts of all stripes, competent members of the civil service, and the United States Congress. Also, comedians.
I can totally see why North Korea should be quaking in its boots right now. The hyperpowerfulness is intoxicating.