Tag Archives: South Korea

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.

‘Threat’ would bring a huge U.S. response?

Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis needs to define “threat” in the context of North Korea.

The defense boss is sounding a bit more bellicose lately, saying that any North Korea “threat” against the United States or our allies could result in a “massive military response” that would annihilate the communist nation.

Is the defense secretary talking now about a first strike? Are we considering hitting the North Koreans before they strike the first blow?

I am uncertain why “threats” by themselves would constitute a reason to launch a bloody war against a nation with more than 1 million men in arms, a massive amount of artillery and armor — and, yes, a small but growing cache of nuclear bombs.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un issues threat almost daily. He keeps saying he’s going to do this and/or that to South Korea. He reportedly has threatened to attack Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean.

According to The Hill “Any threat to the United States or its territories including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response,” Mattis said in a statement outside of the White House after meeting with President Trump. 

“Kim Jong Un should take heed the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice. All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses. And they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Because we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely, North Korea,” he continued. 

OK. We all get it. The United States is the most lethal military power on the planet. We know it. Kim knows it. The Russians and Chinese know it.

I keep wondering if this constant goading of Kim by itself is deterring him from committing a profoundly foolish act. We’ve established to the world that we mean business.

Now, let’s get back to seeking some sort of diplomatic solution.

Shall we? Hmmm?

What does Kim Jong Un want? Part 3

Kim Jong Un has a list of demands he is laying at the feet of the U.S. president.

Most of them seem to present intractable circumstances for Donald J. Trump to ponder.

Such as this one: Removal of all U.S. troops from South Korea.

It’s not going to happen, Mr. North Korean Dictator. It won’t happen at least until North and South Korea sign a peace treaty that comes with ironclad assurances that North Korea won’t ever — ever! — attack South Korea. The agreement also needs to include a denuclearization component, meaning that Kim needs to dismantle and abandon his ambitions to become a nuclear power.

Our troops commitment to South Korea was purchased with lots of blood. The Korean War’s hostilities ended in 1953 after more than 50,000 American personnel were killed in action. We came to South Korea’s defense after North Korea invaded its neighbors three years earlier. Indeed, Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, sent the troops south. So, that means the current North Korean dictator bears a bit of personal responsibility for what transpired, given that he is kin to the man who launched the aggression in the first place.

The ceasefire that both sides signed in 1953 included a commitment from the United States to defend South Korea against the North, given that the two Koreas are technically still in a state of war; no peace treaty means they cannot put their guards down.

There are roughly 28,000 U.S. troops in South Korea. That’s just part of the defense network. We have heavily armed naval vessels throughout the region and immense air power assets in places such as Guam and Japan — not to mention in South Korea.

Should we give all that up without a serious commitment to peace from North Korea?

The boy with the bad haircut — that would be Kim — surely knows we cannot do anything of the sort.

‘Locked and loaded’ to release ‘fire and fury’

The alliteration might sound good as it rolls off the tongue or typed into a tweet.

“Fire and fury” has given way to “locked and loaded.” Is it realistic? Or logical? Does it further the cause of peace?

I want to consider for a brief moment something about this confrontation between the United States and North Korea. It is the rhetoric that flies out of the pie hole of Kim Jong Un, the boy with the bad haircut who runs North Korea.

Kim sounds like the two previous Kims who ruled the nation before he inherited the regime. His father and grandfather both said much the same thing about how they would destroy South Korea, Japan, the United States or any nation that “interfered” with the “internal” politics of the Korean Peninsula.

One key difference, though, is that the current Kim reportedly can deliver a nuclear weapon aboard a missile to faraway targets.

But has he acted on his threats? Daddy Kim blustered and bellowed until his death. Grandpa Kim did invade South Korea in 1950, precipitating the Korean War; the shooting lasted until 1953 with the signing of a ceasefire, but there has not yet been a peace treaty signed that officially ends the state of war between South and North Korea.

The more serious change in the rhetorical barrage, of course, comes from our side. The U.S. president has decided to fire back with tweets and assorted public pronouncements about how he intends to release “fire and fury” on Pyongyang if that government keeps threatening the United States. Donald Trump now has said that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” in the event the commies do anything foolish.

The president’s bellicosity does not make me feel safer. It gives me little comfort. It doesn’t provide any assurance that the current Kim is going to work overtime to find restraint in his own bizarre impulses.

Diplomatic decorum would dictate that the president — the commander in chief of the world’s mightiest military — remain calm, reasoned and rational. Kim knows the United States can obliterate his country. Is he going to doom his people — and himself — to certain death now that he allegedly has the capability to launch a nuclear weapon at the United States of America?

I don’t know. I do know that he hasn’t delivered on any of the threats he has made already. As for the man he is staring in the face, Donald Trump, he doesn’t need to boast in front of the whole world about being “locked and loaded.”

We get the point, Mr. President. We’re the biggest, baddest dudes on the block. I’m quite sure Kim Jong Un knows it, too.

Does this guy have a death wish?

Now that the North Koreans have demonstrated — apparently — that they have a intercontinental ballistic missile capable of packing a nuclear warhead, it is good to ponder something about the boy with the bad haircut who runs that country.

Does Kim Jong Un have a death wish? Does he really and truly wish for this country to be destroyed in a full retaliatory strike by the world’s most powerful nation? Does the dictator really believe he can bully the United States of America with threats of a nuclear missile strike on major West Coast cities?

I keep coming with “no” on all counts?

Please do not misconstrue me on this. I am not dismissing any threat that this fruitcake dictator poses to South Korea, or Japan, or to the U.S. of A. Any dictator who is capable of allowing his people to starve while building a formidable military apparatus is capable, I suppose, of anything.

There are times, though, when it’s tempting to try to insert oneself into the skull of someone else. I try to do that on occasion with this clown. He blusters, boasts and bellows about how he intends to react whenever the United States conducts military drills with South Korea. But we keep performing these exercises. And nothing happens. We get no response from North Korea.

I suppose this is my of suggesting that a pre-emptive military strike against North Korea is likely the worst of a series of bad options facing the U.S. commander in chief.

Donald Trump once referred to Kim Jong Un as a “smart cookie.” Let’s take the president at his word, then, that this fellow is able to discern political reality when it stares him in the face.

Here’s one of those reality-based factors: Any missile fired at the United States of America or at South Korea is virtually guaranteed to provoke a response from this country that will destroy North Korea.

Does the North Korean tinhorn really and truly want that to happen?

North Korea: most dangerous worldwide threat?

Let’s turn our attention for a moment or two to North Korea and its lunatic leader, Kim Jong Un.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the other day that military action against North Korea is “on the table” if Kim decides to do something foolish, such as launch a missile in the direction of the United States or one of our allies, such as, say, Japan or South Korea.

I guess it’s always been understood that military action would be an option for the United States. However, for the secretary of state to tell Kim Jong Un out loud and to put this guy on alert seems to me to be a dangerous potential gambit.

I’ve noted already that Kim may be nuts, but he ain’t stupid.

It’s the nuttiness that should cause us all grave concern.

North Korea has more than a million of its citizens in the military. The country has a total population of around 25 million. It spends far more than it can afford on its military apparatus.

Do you wonder what a guy like Kim would do to avoid a war with the United States? Look at this way: A leader who would allow his people to starve to death, to subject them to famine and to deny them health care just so he can build a military machine is capable of just about any act of idiocy imaginable.

Yeah, this guy is a frightening individual.

I am not sure whether Tillerson thinks his talk about the “military option” is going to persuade Kim Jong Un that a fight against the United States is not winnable.

My hope would be that it would give Kim pause. My fear is quite different. I fear he might conclude that a U.S. attack would finish the destruction of his country that he and his communist forebears have begun.

How in the world does one analyze what goes through what passes for this individual’s mind?

My next question is this: Does the president of the United States and his national security team have the moxie and savvy to contain this guy?

Paranoia strikes deep in North Korea


Kim Jong Un must be clinically paranoid.

One of the North Korean strongman/boy’s top hands has declared that if the United States stops its military exercises with South Korea that the North Koreans will end their nuclear tests.

The commies are afraid of a first strike by the South Koreans or, perhaps, by the United States.

A little history should be offered up here. So, I will.

In 1950, the communists started the Korean War by invading South Korea. The United Nations responded with a military counterattack. The UN force was led by Americans. They drove the communists out of South Korea, and then had to face troops from the People’s Republic of China who came to Pyongyang’s rescue.

The fighting stopped in 1953. The combatants signed a cease-fire. There is no peace treaty.

The two nations — South and North Korea — are technically still at war.

The U.S.-South Korean exercises have been undertaken for decades as a defensive measure against North Korea’s demonstrated willingness to start a war.

And to think that the North Koreans view their nuclear program as a deterrent.


I don’t know whether to laugh, scream or laugh some more.

I get that it’s not funny, except that Kim Jong Un has assumed a ridiculous posture if the believes South Korea or the United States is going to launch a first strike against this tinhorn dictator.


North Koreans ask for peace treaty?


There might not a more untrustworthy nation on Planet Earth than the one that occupies the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea says it will end its nuclear testing if two things happen: it gets a peace treaty with South Korea, and the South Koreans and the United States end their joint military exercises.

OK, let’s do it. Right now.

Well, that won’t happen. Nor should it, not without a bucket load of assurance from North Korea that it not only would end its nuclear testing, but that it would dispose of the nukes it has in its arsenal.

How does that occur when we’re dealing with someone as unpredictable, vain and utterly contemptible as Kim Jong Un, the guy who runs the world’s most secretive nation?

Kim Jong Un kills those who disagree with him. The people who live in his country are starving to death and yet he continues to pour money that North Korea doesn’t have into a nuclear arms program. He blusters about going to war with the United States of America.

North Korea has long wanted a peace treaty with South Korea. The Korean War, you’ll recall, ended in 1953 with a mere cease-fire. The two sides never formalized the end of the war that cost about 50,000 American lives. It was a brutal conflict involving many nations that came to South Korea’s defense after the Marxist North Koreans invaded the south in 1950.

China joined the fight and fought head-to-head with Americans on some of the most barren and desolate battlefields of the 20th century.

However, more than 60 years after most of the shooting stopped, the two nations — South and North Korea — remain technically “at war.”

Do we  relent and sign that treaty and pull back our military preparedness in South Korea? Not a chance.

If the North Koreans really mean what they say about ending their nuclear testing program, they need to go a lot farther than merely saying they’ll stop exploding nukes. Their record is replete with examples of how their words cannot be trusted.


Kim Jong Un: Craziest man alive

I hereby nominate North Korean dictator/lunatic Kim Jong Un as the world’s craziest man.

Will I get in trouble for calling him such names?

One of his formerly trusted aides had the bad taste to fall asleep during an event in which Kim was present.

Hyon Yong Chol’s punishment? He was executed — using an anti-aircraft gun to shoot him to death.


South Korean intelligence officials reported the execution that reportedly was witnessed by hundreds of spectators. The official charges leveled against the defense chief were treason and disobeying Kim.

The world is full of loons. Some of them actually sit in places of power. Can there be anyone loonier than the young North Korean dictator who took over upon the death of his father, Kim Jong Il — who himself was no slouch when it came to dictatorial madness.

State Department flack Jeff Rathke said this about reports of the execution: “If they are true, (they) describe another extremely brutal act by the North Korean regime. These reports, sadly, are not the first in this regard.”

Allow me to offer this bit of advice to the State Department: While you are seeking rapprochement with many of our adversaries around the world — and that’s generally a good thing if it’s pursued with care and with hyper-vigilance — do not under any circumstances deal at all with Kim Jong Un. This young man is insane.

Captain violates law of the water

Whatever happened to the idea that a ship’s captain “goes down with his ship,” or at least ensures everyone else is safe before he jumps off?

Lee Joon-seok was piloting a South Korean ferry this week when it tipped over and sank. He fled the ship mere minutes after sending out a distress call.


He now says he is “deeply ashamed.” Imagine that.

Rescuers are working feverishly to search for possible survivors still trapped aboard the partially submerged ferry. They’re pumping air into the ship hoping to find folks holed up in sealed compartments. Several lives already are lost.

Meanwhile, the captain of the ferry has some serious explaining to do, not unlike the captain of the Italian cruise ship that ran aground in a shipwreck that killed several passengers off the coast of Italy. He, too, was one of those who fled aboard a life boat, leaving passengers and crew members stranded. That former captain has been banished from ever having a ship command.

Something tells me this isn’t going to end well, either, for Lee Joon-seok.