Government by Twitter

So another feature of Trump world is that he tweets shit that’s wrong, and that he would know was wrong if he took the security briefings he’s supposed to take. But it’s no biggy, because it’s only China.

Donald Trump launched his Twitter campaign against China’s seizure of a U.S. Navy research submersible last week to great fanfare ― and, as it turns out, hours after the crisis had already been defused.

It’s unclear whether the president-elect or his aides knew that fact ― it would have been included in the intelligence briefing available to him each morning ― before he sent out his misspelled missive of outrage at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

“China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters ― rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act,” Trump wrote. He deleted that version and replaced it with “unprecedented” spelled correctly at 8:57 a.m.

But even his first version came four hours after U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus was informed that the Chinese navy had agreed to return the “underwater unmanned vehicle.”

To be fair – the fact that China agreed to give it back didn’t alter the fact that China had taken it.

But all the same – do we want a president who tweets smack about other countries right after he rolls out of bed in the morning and without talking to anyone? Like, the State Department or intelligence officials? No, we don’t.

Trump transition team spokesman Jason Miller was quick to take credit for his boss when news broke that China had agreed to return the device. At 11:54 a.m., he tweeted: “@realdonaldtrump gets it done,” and attached a link to an article in The Hill about the resolution of the incident. At 6:52 p.m., Miller tweeted a link to another story in The Hill, this one about his earlier tweet taking credit for Trump’s initial tweet.

Seriously? They claimed Trump had anything to do with it?

The encounter’s resolution, though, resulted not from Trump’s 140-character snippets of anger, but days of traditional diplomacy. The Chinese vessel had taken the submersible on Thursday just as the USNS Bowditch was preparing to retrieve it about 60 miles northwest of the Philippines’ Subic Bay in the South China Sea.

Baucus, a former Democratic senator from Montana, lodged his first protest that day, as did U.S. military representatives to their Chinese counterparts. Late Saturday afternoon Beijing time ― pre-dawn 3:30 a.m. in Washington ― Baucus relayed word that China had agreed to return the device, according to the State Department. That handover took place Tuesday, near the same location as the original incident.

I wonder how many wars we’ll be involved in by, say, mid-February.

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