Faced with the unpredictability of Donald Trump at the end of his mandate, the Chief of Staff of the United States Army phoned his Chinese counterpart on October 30 and January 8 to assure him that the United States would not attack China, according to excerpts from the book “Peril”.
A new book reinforces doubts about Donald Trump’s mental state in the last days of his mandate. Worried, US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley has secretly taken steps to avoid war with Beijing, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa say in their book “Peril” , to be published in the coming days.
According to excerpts published Tuesday, September 14 by the Washington Post and CNN, the top Pentagon official called his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng, twice: on October 30, shortly before the American presidential election, and on January 8. , two days after the assault by supporters of Donald Trump on the Capitol . US intelligence had concluded that China considered a US attack imminent.
“General Li, I want to assure you that the American state is stable and that everything will be fine,” he told her on the first phone call, according to this book based on the anonymous testimonies of 200 American officials. . “We are not going to attack or conduct military operations against you.”
General Mark Milley recalled his Chinese counterpart two months later, after the deadly assault on the US Congress and as Donald Trump challenged Joe Biden’s electoral victory. “Everything is fine,” he told her. “But democracy is sometimes messy.”
“He is crazy”
This second call came the day after a phone conversation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who wanted to ensure that Donald Trump could not use nuclear codes.
Nancy Pelosi had publicly reported on this call, in a letter to her parliamentary group, but without going into details. Bob Woodward and Robert Costa publish the transcript of the conversation.
“What are the possible measures to prevent an unbalanced president from launching armed hostilities or having access to codes and ordering a nuclear attack,” asks Nancy Pelosi.
“If they can’t even stop him from attacking the Capitol, who knows what else he can do?” She adds. “He’s mad. You know he’s mad (…), and what he did yesterday is further proof of his madness.”
“I completely agree with you,” General Milley replied. But the nuclear chain of command goes through “a lot of controls” to prevent the misuse of the bomb by a president, he assures him.
In addition, General Milley convened the General Staff to stress that, if Donald Trump ordered a nuclear strike, he had to be informed first. He asked all the officers gathered to confirm that they understood correctly, add reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, according to which it was an “oath”.
He also asked then CIA Director Gina Haspel and Military Intelligence Chief General Paul Nakasone to monitor any erratic behavior by Donald Trump.
“Some may think that Milley overstepped his authority and assigned himself excessive powers,” write the authors of “Peril.” But he was convinced that he was doing what was necessary “so that there is no historic rupture in the international order, of accidental war with China or others, and that nuclear weapons do not. is not used, ”they add.
General Milley, like Gina Haspel, feared that Donald Trump would launch an attack on China or Iran to create a crisis and thus try to stay in power.
Call for the general’s dismissal
Donald Trump sharply criticized General Milley. “I suppose he will be tried for treason if he exchanged with his Chinese counterpart behind the president’s back,” the Republican billionaire said in a statement.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio was also outraged by General Milley’s actions, calling on Joe Biden to “immediately” remove the chief of staff from office.
“General Milley tried to justify his behavior by asserting that the military judgment was more balanced than that of the civilian command,” wrote Marco Rubio in an open letter. “This is a dangerous precedent that General Milley and others could assert in the future. It risks shattering the well-established principle in our country of the control of civilians over the military.”