Tag Archives: Kim Jong Un

Trump seeks to tighten screws on N. Korea

Donald J. Trump has acted appropriately with regard to North Korea. Instead of blustering about delivering “fire and fury” to the Marxist regime, he has returned North Korea to the list of nations that sponsor terrorism.

The president has made the correct call.

He is seeking to isolate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in his effort to build a nuclear weapons arsenal. The aim, according to Trump, is to impose the strictest economic sanctions possible on the rogue nation. It’s also meant to pressure China, North Korea’s chief trading partner, into following suit.

I don’t know about you, but I believe this approach holds far greater potential than threats of military strikes.

The designation — which reverses a decision made by President George W. Bush in 2008 — puts North Korea on a short list of state-sponsored-terrorist nations; the others are Sudan, Iran and Syria.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson doubts the designation will have much practical effect, given that the United States already has imposed heavy sanctions on North Korea. But he is talking openly about his “hope for diplomacy” in the effort to persuade North Korea to stand down in its effort to build a nuclear arsenal.

The great Winston Churchill once told us it was better to “jaw, jaw, jaw than to war, war, war.”

The late British prime minister’s wisdom ought to apply to the present-day crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

This shouldn’t be funny, but it is

I shouldn’t be giggling when a head of state declares a death sentence on another head of state.

Except that the guy who’s issuing the death sentence is Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator/strongman/fruitcake. The object of his death sentence? None other than Donald John Trump Sr., the current president of the United States of America.

My goodness. I’ll be brief with this one.

Kim didn’t like being called “short and fat” in a tweet flashed around the world by Trump. Except that the president said he “wouldn’t” call Kim “short and fat.” Not ever. Oh, but wait. He did anyway!

Rodong Sinmun, the North Korea government-run newspaper, wrote in an editorial: “The worst crime for which he can never be pardoned is that he dared [to] malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership.”

As if Kim had any “dignity” that could possibly be “malignantly hurt.”

I don’t know, though, what could be worse. That Kim would issue this bogus “death sentence,” or that the president will be prompted to fire back an idiotic response.

Trump tweet is ‘almost funny’

I now am going to admit something.

I giggled a bit when I read something about what Donald Trump tweeted about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Kim supposedly said something about Trump being “old.” The president took offense. He said he’d never call Kim “short and fat.”

Oops! Didn’t he just do exactly that? Sure he did.

Actually I found the president’s tweet kinda/sorta clever. But I don’t want to encourage him to keep doing it.

You see, the worldwide stakes are pretty damn high. Kim wants to build a nuclear weapon delivery system that reaches the United States of America. He’s said so publicly. Trump keeps yammering about “the military option” being on the table.

It’s a dangerous world out there, Mr. President. Going to war in Korea isn’t an option — and I don’t give a damn what the president threatens to do if Kim keeps “threatening” the United States and South Korea.

He’s dealing with someone no one outside of North Korea seems to know. No one can determine with any certainty how he will respond to these kinds of personal insults.

I just wish the president would stop saying out loud what he’s entitled to think in private.

Now POTUS welcomes talks with North Korea

Donald J. Trump is all over the pea patch regarding North Korea.

The president a few weeks ago tweeted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was wasting his time seeking a direct meeting with North Koreans regarding that country’s threats to use nuclear weapons against the United States and South Korea.

Oh, but while visiting South Korea this week, the president has let it be known that he would be willing to talk to North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un.

Which is it, Mr. President?

Frankly, I welcome the second overture far more than the first one.

Trump did offer some tough rhetoric during a speech this week to the South Korean parliament, warning the North about “underestimating” the United States. He told Kim that his efforts to bolster his nuclear arsenal put his regime in “grave danger.”

That all might be so much bluster and bravado if negotiation remains somewhere on the large table of options.

I continue to believe, as many others have said publicly, that there is no “good” military option in seeking to “de-nuclearize” the Korean Peninsula. A diplomatic solution is the only sensible path.

My strongest hope is that the president is going to lead the nation down that path, rather than the one that is fraught with grave danger for the entire planet.

‘Only one thing will work’? Really?

Donald J. Trump sounds like a man intent on leading the United States of America to war.

At any cost.

The tweeter in chief blasted out yet another warning to North Korea today, suggesting that 25 years of negotiation with the communist dictatorship has been so futile, so fraught with frustration that there’s no other diplomatic channel left to explore.

He tweeted this: Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid…… …hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!

There you have it. The president of the United States, the commander in chief of the world’s most powerful military machine has all but said that there’s no more talking to be done.

“Only one thing will work!” he said. One thing. What do you suppose that might be?

Let’s presume he means the “military option.” What happens when we strike North Korea’s missile launchers, but don’t get all of them? What happens when we hit their thousands of artillery pieces lined up and aimed straight at Seoul, South Korea — but don’t get them all? Does North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un make good on his threat to strike? Gosh, I would think he would do precisely that.

Then comes the consequence. Many thousands of deaths. Perhaps millions. Many of them will be civilians. And yes, we’ve got those 28,000 American troops sitting right in the middle of it all, along with tens of thousands more American civilians.

We are witnessing first hand the dangers of conducting foreign policy by Twitter. The president of the United States needs to weigh his words carefully, no matter how he delivers his message.

Then again, a president cast from the same mold of others would understand that. Not this guy, Donald Trump. He “tells it like it is.”

I believe Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s widely reported description of the president as a “moron” is looking more accurate with each passing day.

Declaration of war? Not even close, Mr. Foreign Minister

A statement by North Korea’s foreign minister might have gotten muddled in the translation, but I feel the need to set the record straight for this fellow.

Ri Yong Ho has accused Donald J. Trump of “declaring war” on North Korea with his threats of using military force if the North Koreans continue to threaten the United States and our allies.

According to Reuters: “The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York.

Let’s step back here.

I believe Ri needs a quickie lesson on U.S. government civics.

The president of the United States cannot “declare war” on anyone. A declaration of war in this country is a multi-step process, Mr. Foreign Minister — which is something that is alien to you and your dictator/despot Kim Jong Un.

The president prepares a declaration document, which he then presents to our Congress. He then requests the legislative branch of government to issue a declaration. The last time we did that was on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after Japan attacked our naval and Army air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Congress voted virtually unanimously to declare war; by the way, U.S. Rep. Jeannette Rankin of Montana voted “no,” just as she had done when Congress declared war against Germany during World War I. Foreign Minister Ri also should know that Rep. Rankin wasn’t jailed — either time — for her principled votes.

Do I agree with Donald Trump’s bluster and bellicosity with regard to North Korea? No. He’s risking — with his taunts and childish name-calling — the potential for provoking Kim into doing something stupid in the extreme.

But he didn’t “declare war.” That’s not how we do it in this country. Our founders established a system that limited the president’s power to issue such a declaration. He’s got to ask for it from the legislative branch of government.

There. Lesson over.

Imagine JFK calling Khruschev ‘Rocket Man’

It’s The Donald vs. Rocket Man.

Two heads of state — Donald John Trump and Kim Jong Un — are locked now in a standoff. The president of the United States and the dictator of North Korea are trying to out-insult each other.

What continues to amaze me, though, is that Trump decided to elevate his Rocket Man poke at Kim in a highly unusual venue. He took his insult to the floor of the United (bleeping) Nations, man!

He said if Rocket Man continues to threaten the United States, this country would “totally destroy” North Korea. That’s the way you promote peace, Mr. President … by threatening to annihilate another nation.

I’m trying to imagine an earlier president, John F. Kennedy, using that kind of language during the height of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. I actually have a memory of that time, when the Soviet Union began building launch pads from which it could launch missiles at the United States or our Western Hemisphere allies. It scared the bejabbers out of me — and millions of other Americans, too!

Kennedy didn’t resort to name-calling, or attaching silly school-kid epithets to his references to Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader. He actually left much of the bluster to our U.N. ambassador at the time, Adlai Stevenson.

The president’s use of a Rocket Man insult won’t get Kim to do what we want, which is to stand down in his attempt to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting us and our allies.

An earlier president, faced with an even graver threat, arguably, than the one confronting the current president, stared it down with steely resolve, which — according to commentary at the time — forced the other guy to blink.

President Kennedy didn’t need to insult his adversary.

Trump goes to the U.N. and all but declares war

Donald J. Trump did it.

He went to the United Nations, an international body with a mission that aims to seek peaceful resolutions to world problems, and declared this:

“Now North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life … The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.”

It was the U.S. president’s premiere visit to the U.N. He stood at the podium in front of the world’s leaders and diplomats and all but declared war on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Trump turns up the volume on Kim.

Do you feel safer now? Do you feel as though Kim is going to back off his threats? Is he going to dismantle his budding nuclear arsenal based on what he heard the president of the United States say to — and about — him?

Let me think about that. Uh, no, no and … no.

Rocket Man? Are you serious? That’s what the president called Kim at the U.N. It’s a nickname that was born in a Trump tweet just the other day. The president took that juvenile name-calling to the world’s greatest international deliberative body. Well done, Mr. President … not!

I know the U.N. has its critics. Much of the criticism is deserved. It has many times over the years scolded the wrong nations and embraced others. As the president noted correctly this morning, the U.N. has placed nations with abysmal human rights records on its human rights councils.

The international body’s primary mission, though, is to promote peaceful resolutions to international crises. To hear the president of the United States threaten a member U.N. nation with “total destruction” is chilling in the extreme.

Military options? They’re quite limited, Mme. Ambassador

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley thinks our country’s options regarding North Korea’s continual belligerence include using our immense military power.

I, uh, beg to differ with the distinguished diplomat.

The North Koreans keep launching missiles to demonstrate their own military capability. They fire them over Japan, which has caused the Japanese to rethink their own military posture, which has been limited since the end of World War II.

If Haley is suggesting that the United States launch a first strike against North Korea, then I believe she is talking about an eminently dangerous and frightening outcome.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster insists the United States is still seeking a diplomatic solution. Do you think that would be far preferable a solution than to hit the North Koreans with some kind of tactical strike aimed at destroying its missile launchers or its nuclear weapons production plants? Uhh, yeah. I do!

‘Fire and fury.’

Let’s try to get into North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s skull for just a moment. Does the boy with the bad haircut really and truly believe he can survive any kind of frontal military assault from the world’s most powerful nation? Is he suicidal? I cannot pretend to know what is driving this clown’s nuclear ambition. However, I just cannot believe he intends to use his weapons against South Korea, or Japan or certainly against the United States of America.

The economic sanctions we have applied against North Korea are working. They’re strangling the reclusive country.

As for Ambassador Haley continuing to talk the talk about keeping the military option alive, I believe Kim has received the message, which is that we can blow him and his country to Kingdome Come.

Trump’s now going after South Koreans? What … ?

I must have missed something.

South Korea has been arguably our staunchest ally in East Asia since, oh, the Korean War of 1950-53. We fought side by side with the South Koreans against North Korea and later, the People’s Republic of China.

Now the North has nuclear bombs. It is threatening to use them against South Korea. The United States is supposed to stand ready to defend the South against the North.

So, why is Donald J. Trump browbeating South Korea into doing more to deter North Korea from threatening to toss the rest of the world into a nuclear war?

South Korean leaders say they want to “talk” with their neighbors in the North. The U.S. president is having none of it. He has taken to Twitter to suggest that South Korea is run by a government of “appeasers.”

Appeasers? Are you kidding me?

No country on Earth is feeling more nervous about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s crazy threats than South Korea. That’s not good enough for Trump, who’s also now threatening to terminate a U.S.-South Korea trade agreement.

Uh, Mr. President, these guys are on our side. They’ve got more to lose in a military confrontation with North Korea than anyone.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in got elected this year promising to “talk” to North Korea. He fired back at Trump, saying that South Korea “cannot tolerate another catastrophic war on this peninsula.”

Do you think?

Why in the world cannot the president of the United States treat the South Koreans like the valuable ally they’ve been — and need to continue to be as we try to work our way through this crisis with the North?

Talk of “appeasers” and threats to cut off trade won’t do the job.