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Army chief of staff feared Trump would attack Beijing, says ‘Peril’ book


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, the chief of staff of the American army, General Mark Milley, would have secretly taken measures to avoid a war with Beijing, affirm the journalists of the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, in their book “Peril ”, To be published in the coming days.

According to extracts published Tuesday, September 14 by the Washington Post and CNN, the chief of staff called his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng, twice: on October 30, shortly before the American presidential election, and on the 8th January, two days after Donald Trump’s supporters assault 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. “

He 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. “

A conversation with Nancy Pelosi recounted

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.

Ms. 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 starting armed hostilities or from gaining access to codes and ordering a nuclear attack,” Pelosi asks.

“If they can’t even stop him from attacking the Capitol, who knows what else he can do?” She adds. ” He is crazy. You know he is 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.

Authority overstepped?

In addition, General Milley called 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 Woodward and 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 gave himself excessive powers,” write the authors of “Peril”. But he was convinced that he was doing what was necessary “so that there was no historic rupture in the international order, of accidental war with China or others, and that nuclear weapons did 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.

Marco Rubio calls for the dismissal of the Chief of Staff

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio was outraged at 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 Mr. Rubio in an open letter. “This is a dangerous precedent that General Milley and others could use in the future. This risks shattering the well-established principle in our country of civilian control over the military. “

With AFP