Tag Archives: Kim Jong Un

It’s ‘Secretary,’ not ‘General’ Mattis, Mr. President

I’ve made this point already, but I feel the need to restate it.

Donald J. Trump once again referred to the secretary of defense as “Gen. Mattis.” Yes, James “Mad Dog” Mattis — one of my favorite Trump Cabinet appointees — is a retired Marine Corps general. He’s got four stars on his epaulets.

But that was then. Today, the here and now, Mad Dog Mattis is a civilian, just like the president is a civilian.

Trump’s reference to “Gen. Mattis” came as he was announcing his decision to sh**can the planned June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. The president, naturally, followed that reference with a statement that the U.S. military is the strongest in the world and that it is ready to act if the need arises.

Oh, brother, man!

Mr. President, we assign these Cabinet posts to civilians. It’s a time-honored tradition that civilians control the military. President Truman had to remind Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur of that fact when he relieved him of his Korean War command in the early 1950s.

I know it’s a semantics issue. It just bothers the daylights out of me that the commander in chief cannot honor the long-standing tradition of the office with a simple reference to the defense boss as “Secretary” James Mattis.

Get with the program, Mr. President.

No Peace Prize for POTUS this year

Well, there goes the Nobel Peace Prize for Donald John Trump.

Some folks had been beating the Peace Prize drum for the president on the basis of a proposed summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Then the North Korean despot began talking negatively about Donald Trump, the United States, South Korea … you name it.

Now the summit is a goner. It won’t happen as planned on June 12 in Singapore. Will it be revived? Who knows?

I was one who had some hope that it could produce a breakthrough in U.S.-North Korea relations. It won’t.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the president’s announcement that the summit had been canceled was his return to the tough-guy rhetoric that mentions the immense power of the U.S. nuclear weaponry. As CNN reported: And he renewed his boasts of America’s nuclear weapons, which he called “so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” 

Then he added this in a statement from the Roosevelt Room in the White House: “Our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world — that has been greatly enhanced recently, as we all know — is ready as necessary.”

It makes me respond: Duh!

The entire world knows this already, Mr. President. Including Kim Jong Un. There was some thought expressed that Trump’s in-your-face rhetoric about the size of his nuclear arsenal brought about the prospects of the summit in the first place.

I hope we’re not headed back to Square One with Kim Jong Un.

Today, though, was a serious setback in the quest for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Did ‘Libya model’ remark endanger summit?

If the planned summit between Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un doesn’t occur as scheduled, perhaps the president can take the opportunity to escort John Bolton to the proverbial woodshed.

The president needs to talk sternly to the national security adviser.

Kim has suggested the meeting might not occur as planned. Trump said there’s a “substantial” chance it would be delayed.

Why? Well, Bolton popped off the other saying something about applying the “Libya model” to dealing with North Korea. What is that model, by the way? Well, the United States sought “regime change” in Libya; Libyans rioted and rebelled; they captured dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Then they took the fallen despot somewhere — and then killed him. Dead! He’s a goner for keeps!

That’s the “Libya model” as espoused by the national security adviser? Trump, though, was quick to distance himself from that unfortunate example, which he did in Bolton’s presence while speaking to reporters in the White House.

No doubt Kim heard what Bolton said. He gets the implication that Bolton’s message conveyed. I mean, Trump did once refer to Kim as a “smart cookie,” isn’t that right?

There are other complications coming into play. Kim’s view of “denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula well might differ from what Trump and the South Koreans want.

Thus, the summit might be in some immediate and hopefully temporary jeopardy.

Back to Bolton.

Trump has hired a serious hot head to be his national security adviser. Bolton is unafraid to recommend a war footing. Trump has entrusted this champion of regime change with the role of providing crucial national security advice to the commander in chief.

I just implore Bolton to lay off the “Libya model” rhetoric.

‘Libya model’ in play … or not?

That didn’t take long.

Donald Trump brings John Bolton aboard just a few weeks ago to be national security adviser. Bolton, a noted hard-liner, then tell Fox News that the president will follow the “Libya model” in shaping U.S. policy with regard to North Korea’s nuclear program.

What does the president then do? In Bolton’s presence, he tells reporters he isn’t following the Libya model, that he’s going to craft a unique policy as it concerns efforts to persuade North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons.

“The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have at all, when we’re thinking of North Korea (DPRK),” Trump told reporters at the White House before meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

You see, the Libya model didn’t work out well for the late Moammar Gadhafi, the strongman who used to run Libya.

Rebels revolted there, overthrew Gadhafi, then captured him and dragged off to some location — and then killed him! He’s dead, man!

Do you think North Korea’s strongman, Kim Jong Un, wants to hear some comparison to the Libya model? I, um, do not believe so.

Trump is trying to preserve some semblance of hope that he and Kim will actually meet next month in Singapore to discuss a whole range of issues. It’s a big deal, this meeting. U.S. presidents and North Korean dictators have never met face to face.

Trump’s rhetoric about Kim has transformed from threats to “Little Rocket Man” to high praise for him as someone interested in forging an actual peace treaty with South Korea.

Then his national security adviser, Bolton, steps in it by referring to an event that ended badly for another world leader.

Let’s get our nation’s message straight, shall we?

What happened to those sweet nothings?

All that sweet talk Donald J. Trump has been heaping on Kim Jong Un of late seems to have gone into one ear and out the other.

The North Korean dictator seems to be putting the planned Trump-Kim summit in some jeopardy because he’s angry over the planned joint military exercises that will take place with South Korean and American troops.

Kim thinks the military maneuvers are meant to prepare for an invasion of North Korea, or so he says. Thus, the summit might not happen if Kim decides to pull the plug on it.

What is happening here?

U.S. and South Korean troops have been practicing for years since the ceasefire ended shooting during the Korean War. We haven’t invaded the North yet. The exercises are meant to prepare the South for a possible invasion from the North; I mean, the North did invade the South in 1950, which caused the Korean War. Kim Jong Un’s grandfather started the fight.

The president of the United States was yammering about “little Rocket Man,” and bragging about the size of his “nuclear button.” He was taunting Kim to try anything at all to provoke a response that would deliver “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen.”

Donald Trump changed secretaries of state. The new guy at State, Mike Pompeo, went to North Korea in secret and then the nations announced the summit between Trump and Kim.

Suddenly, Kim has become a paragon of virtue in Trump’s mind. He released those three Americans he held captive. Trump hailed Kim Jong Un as a fine man, a wonderful fellow.

Now we have Kim threatening to upset everything all over again.

Don’t tell me the North Korean despot responses positively only to epithets. That cannot possibly be true, can it?

My hope is that Trump holds his fire. If he’s able.

Wishing success for the country … as always

I have been grappling with conflicting emotions ever since, oh, Jan. 20, 2017 — the day Donald John Trump took office as president of the United States.

You know, without a shadow of a doubt, about my feelings of him as president. He is unfit for the office at almost every level imaginable, in my view at least. However, he was elected to the office under the rules provided by the U.S. Constitution. I don’t quibble with that. Not for a moment.

Do I wish him success? Well, yes. But only grudgingly.

The better question might be: Do I wish the nation success? Yes. Without any malice at all.

Where is the disconnect? It probably rests in Trump’s penchant for gracelessness when the moments demand grace and class.

When good economic news presents itself, the president is prone to boast out loud, taking all the credit for himself and never giving credit to anyone else, such as — oh, let me think — his predecessor for leaving the nation in much better economic health than he found it eight years earlier.

Trump stands on the cusp of achieving possibly a monumental breakthrough with an enemy of the United States. He’ll meet next month in Singapore with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un. It will be the first face-to-face meeting between U.S. and North Korean heads of state.

Do I wish, hope and pray for a positive outcome? Do I hope that Kim agrees to de-nuke the Korean Peninsula? Do I want the nations to forge a “normal diplomatic relationship”? Of course I do. I want the nation to succeed.

Trump, though, is likely — as he has demonstrated so many times in the past — to piddle all over the good feelings that should come from a successful U.S.-North Korea summit. How will he handle it? Will he boast that none of this would have been possible with anyone other than him at the helm?

I remain adamantly opposed the idea of Donald Trump serving as president of my country. That opposition is unlikely to dissipate any time soon — if ever!

However, I always want the nation to prosper, to succeed, to continue its march along its path of greatness.

Yes, even with Donald John Trump as president.

Give credit where it is due

I’ll admit to being a bit slow on the uptake with this word of praise for the president of the United States.

My wife and I are in the midst of executing a relocation from one community another. I’m taking a breather at the moment. So … here goes.

Donald J. Trump managed to secure the release of three Americans held hostage by North Korean dictator/goofball Kim Jong Un. I want to give the president a good word that release on the eve of his June summit with Kim, which will occur in Singapore.

Kim Jong Un is a nasty fellow who runs a nasty regime that adheres to a nasty ideology. That the three Americans — all of Korean descent — have come out of their imprisonment in relatively good shape is nothing short of miraculous.

Trump, though, seemed to stumble on his success when he welcomed the men back home at 3 a.m. While delivering some impromptu remarks, the president seemed to heap some undeserved praise on Kim, calling his behavior “excellent.”

I’m shaking my head a bit. Mr. President, Kim Jong Un held these men against their will, leveling a bogus espionage charge against them. There is nothing “excellent” about that act. Nothing, sir!

The president deserves an “excellent” grade, though, for dispatching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to work out the details of the summit — and for bringing the three American captives home.

As for Kim Jong Un, I feel the need to caution the president to tread very carefully in the weeks leading up to the summit. Kim cannot be trusted to do the right thing any more than some of Trump’s own critics — and that includes yours truly — can trust him to do right.

Still, well done, Mr. President, in securing the release of these three Americans.

Welcome home, American hostages

Three Americans held hostage are on their way home, where they’ll likely get quite a red-carpet welcome led by the president of the United States.

They were held by North Koreans who held them on phony “espionage” charges.

This is a most positive development, although we should take care to avoid overstating it — or understating it, for that matter.

Donald J. Trump’s tough talk directed at North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un well might be part of a remarkable change in tone coming from the reclusive Marxist regime in Pyongyang. If that is the case — and it’s a bit early to make that final determination — then we might be witnessing a new form of “diplomacy” practiced by the leader of the free world.

Trump and Kim and headed for a landmark summit. Trump is demanding an end to the Kim’s nuclear-weapon development aspirations. Kim wants assurances that the United States won’t invade North Korea. Yes, there remains a huge gulf between the sides.

However, that gulf got a bit narrower today with the release of these three Americans — all of Korean descent. Let’s now hope their health is as good as it has been advertised, and that the two leaders can proceed toward a summit that leads to a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Peace Prize? Stop already!

Now it’s South Korean President Moon Jae-in who’s climbed aboard a bandwagon that needs to be put back in the barn.

Moon says Donald J. Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Why? His pressure on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has brought the former Little Rocket Man to his senses.

Hold on a minute! Let’s revisit another premature Peace Prize recipient.

The Trumpsters out there who read this blog will love the example. I offer former President Barack Obama for them … and the rest of you.

The Nobel committee awarded the then-brand new U.S. president the Peace Prize in 2009 even though he had just assumed his high office. The committee gave him the award on the promise that he would bring world peace.

To be totally candid, it didn’t work out that way. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continued. Other conflicts broke out in Syria and Yemen. Tensions built between Israel and Iran.

To his credit, President Obama recognized the awkwardness of the award timing when he accepted it.

I say this as a staunch admirer of Barack Obama, who I consider to be among the top tier of U.S. presidents.

As for the current president, my feelings about him are, um, radically different. I want to be fair, though, in hoping that his efforts to bring North and South Korea together do produce tangible benefit for the rest of the world.

Only then should this talk about a Peace Prize proceed.

What might happen if POTUS wins the Prize?

It’s actually kind of fun to consider what might happen if Donald John Trump wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

He’s being talked up by his political base of supporters as a Nobel Prize candidate if North and South Korea are able to forge a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War — and, oh yes, de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

My hunch is twofold. If he wins the prize, there will be end to the braggadocio that comes from the president of the United States. He’ll be more than delighted to crow until he runs out of breath about how he was the only president to accomplish it.

The second hunch is even more annoying if you can believe it.

Suppose he is nominated for the Peace Prize, but gets beat out by someone else. Maybe someone other than Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner can forge a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Maybe someone will persuade Iran to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

If the president is nominated, but doesn’t actually win the prize, the winner had better really and truly be the hands-down individual or group that deserves it.

If not, then we’re going to hear the Mother of All Twitter Tirades from Trump bitching about the political correctness that went into the selection. I mean, he did all that work to bring peace to Korea, even resorting to the Little Rocket Man epithet he hurled at Kim Jong Un from the United Nations lectern.

It might not get that far. The upcoming Trump-Kim summit might not produce anything. It might be a bust. I hope it works out for both nations. The bluster and bombast frighten me and I want it to end.

If the summit can bring an end to the nastiness, then perhaps the president will deserve a nomination. But … oh, brother. What would happen were he to win it or get passed over?

Let’s all stand by and hope for the best, whatever that might be.