This is why we let real diplomats handle U.S. foreign policy and why we take State Department “career bureaucrats'” advice on how to deal with other countries, especially hostile nations like North Korea. Donald Trump is learning a lesson most boys learn in their teens. A love letter carries very little weight a year down the road, especially when tensions rise. Tensions are rising over North Korea’s threat to give the West a Christmas present in the form of a long-range missile test, or nuclear blast test. In the run-up, North Korean state television is back to calling Trump a dotard and erratic. North Korea’s Kim has also given the United States a year-end deadline to lift sanctions against China and Russia, sanctions that both China and Russia want gone. Politico is all over a story that shows how even a “boy” can run circles around a grown man when the “grown man” is Donald Trump, and the circles are international strategic maneuvers. The tensions threaten to blight Trump’s foreign policy record as his 2020 reelection bid shifts into full gear. Upon entering office, he vowed that North Korea wouldn’t develop an intercontinental ballistic missile on his watch, only to stand by as Kim presided over multiple defiant tests of his new capabilities. Now, some close observers of North Korea say Kim may be using Trump’s intense focus on his re-election next November as leverage to pressure him into lifting sanctions and striking a deal that favors Pyongyang. Now look at that last sentence. You can insert the name of just about any nation within that clause, so long as that nation has something to offer Trump in that “intense focus” on next November’s election. Indeed, if one doesn’t have something to help Trump beat the Democrats, a country might almost be forced to test launch a missile just to get Trump’s attention. Remember, Trump only cares about “big things,” like his coming election against the Democrats. “Tactically, the election plays a role and the whole impeachment process plays a role,” said Jung Pak, a former senior U.S. intelligence officer now with the Brookings Institution. “Kim probably sees Trump as being hemmed in domestically and more desperate for a deal.” As we get close to the election, get used to seeing paragraphs and assertions such as the one above. There is no limit to what Trump could give away in the name of electoral expediency if Trump believes it will help the effort. These are the kinds of things that happen when one puts his own fortune (and Russia’s, and his kids’, and his friends’, and his base’s,) ahead of the nations’ best interests. Trump has negotiated with North Korea using a style unique to him, essentially tell the other nation what to do, and why: Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore. He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere…. https://t.co/THfOjfB2uE — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2019 It is just wonderful seeing the behaviors that Trump finds effective, no? Start with a compliment (because compliments are impossible to ignore, right?) “too […]
It took Donald Trump’s love affair with Kim Jong-Un to make the United States look like a loyal lapdog to mighty North Korea. North Korea is back testing short to medium range missiles. Do keep in mind that we have an entire intelligence operation aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and rocketry. North Korea routinely threatens the United States, and yet Trump dismisses all this as “nothing.” How are we “winning” in this scenario? As North Korea fired off a series of missiles in recent months — at least 18 since May — President Trump has repeatedly dismissed their importance as short-range and “very standard” tests. And although he has conceded “there may be a United Nations violation,” the president says any concerns are overblown. Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, Mr. Trump explained recently, just “likes testing missiles.” Right. So does Iran. And yet somehow we view it as very important that we not allow Iran to have nuclear capability, nor have medium range inter-continental missiles, and they – too, are likely United Nations violations. (Did you like that? How easily Trump dismisses ANY rule? “Yeah, they probably are breaking international law, but he likes testing missiles, so what?”) This is insanity. Although Mr. Trump acknowledged that “there may be a United Nations violation,” he appears unwilling to make statements or take actions that could call into question what he considers his warm relationship with Mr. Kim, which the president believes is crucial to ending decades-long hostilities with the North. Trump believes that the world runs this way, by relationships. He doesn’t care about international law, he cares about being flattered. He doesn’t care about United States’ interests, he “is” the United States. He finds it easier to deal with dictators because if he sees himself as a dictator, and if he just forms a “relationship” with another dictator, he and the dictator’s relationship will cause an agreement on whatever they need, United Nations’ violations or not. Trump doesn’t believe rules and/or laws apply to him, never has. He doesn’t like rules or laws. He likes doing what he wants, with whom he wants, even with respect to international relations. Oh, you were waiting for the dangerous part? An estimate by the Defense Intelligence Agency, circulated to select officials inside the United States government this summer, estimates that the North has also produced enough fuel for roughly a dozen new nuclear weapons since the historic talks in Singapore. Other intelligence agencies have “more conservative numbers,” one former senior official said, but all point to an expanding cache of bombs. An expanding number of nukes, and expanding number of missile tests. Horrific. I originally wrote a witty, ironic and mocking end to this piece, asking whether you believed it possible that Kim Jung-Un might be pulling a fast one on Trump and faking all this “love” stuff because, well, he likes to test missiles. But, I decided it wasn’t appropriate. Seoul South Korea, a city of about 20 million good people, our allies, sits within reach of North Korea’s conventional artillery shells. Downtown Seoul is approximately 30 miles from the DNZ. North Korea could kill thousands upon thousands in South Korea without a single missile fired, without nukes. Just a big artillery blast into densely populated Seoul. This is […]
In lieu of another “beautiful” letter, North Korea’s state media today released photos of what appears to be a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile Submarine, which it says is nearly ready for deployment. Commentators on Twitter noted that the photos had been cropped to leave out the top of the sub, where relevant missile launching hardware would be placed, and that the steel plating sheathing the sub seems a but pieced together, unlike the smooth hulled U.S. SSBMs. One called it the “Spruce Goose” of missile submarines. Nevertheless, this is a significant development. CNN “Analysts said the Kim regime has sought to build a viable nuclear-armed submarine to enhance its deterrence capabilities, as the vessels are hard for adversaries to track and destroy. The regime successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in 2016… …Dave Schmerler, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said the images suggested that the sub under construction is much larger than the one used in 2016. “If this submarine is built for carrying and launching SLBMs it is more than likely that they would test it, to ensure that it works the way they would need it to,” Schmerler said.” It is possible that the “beautiful” photos were released to tweak Trump, whom the DPRK says is reneging on promises not to go ahead with joint military drills with the south. “North Korea said Trump committed to suspending joint military exercises during his first meeting with Kim in Singapore, and hinted that it could renege on its decision to stop testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles should the drills go ahead…. …”Our discontinuation of the nuclear and ICBM tests and the US suspension of joint military exercises are, to all its intents and purposes, commitments made to improve bilateral relations. They are not a legal document inscribed on a paper,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said.” Still, they are “beautiful, beautiful” pictures Lil Kim. Perhaps you could enclose some copies in a big ass envelope and mail them to your paramour with a big S.W.A.K. emblazoned on the back? I’m sure he would love them. Please follow me on Twitter @durrati
“Kim Jung Un loves his people.” Donald Trump The United States has never had the moral authority it acted as though it deserved, or even pretended to have, but it used to have some, no matter how much our human rights record suffered during the Iraq War. Barack Obama built back our moral-standing up to […]
Kim Jung Un has already won. This ruthless two-bit dictator who cannot feed his own people is now the center of the world’s attention, and about to meet – not just with the president of the United States – but a desperate president of the United States. Why desperate? Well, there is the debacle at […]
Wow, even the legendary Donald Trump charm cannot overcome North Korea’s commitment to its nuclear plan, which announced it was canceling the summit because de-nuclearization is on the agenda. Everyone with a brain knew that the odds of North Korea would give up its nukes were about the same as Mexico paying for the wall. […]
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