Aaron Blake writes: There was a pretty striking finding in Thursday’s Quinnipiac University poll: Fully 46 percent of Republicans — a plurality — said they would support a preemptive strike against North Korea.
That’s nearly half of President Trump’s party that is ready for war — today — with Kim Jong Un, his nuclear weapons and all. (Forty-one percent said they opposed a preemptive strike.)
It’s no surprise that Republicans are more hawkish on this than Democrats are; that’s generally the case on foreign policy. But basically nobody is talking about the prospect of a strike right now. Even when Trump talks about it, he’s responding to North Korea threatening the United States or its allies.
Yet it also seems possible that Trump’s ramped-up rhetoric on this could be having an effect on his base. Trump in August promised “fire and fury” if North Korea ran afoul of him. Last month, he threatened in his speech at the United Nations to “totally destroy” the country — a threat that seemed to tie average North Koreans to their government’s demise. He has repeatedly called Kim “Rocket Man” and generally proved fond of the kind of saber-rattling we expect from the other side of this standoff. [Continue reading…]