August 9th, 2017

What do you think of Trump’s saber-rattling towards North Korea?

Or shall we call it fire-breathing?

In trying to ascertain what would work best with North Korea, I come up with the answer “nothing.” They’re been on a very bad and very belligerent course for a long time.

That said, I don’t really think this helps at all, although I doubt it will matter much in the end. It really all depends on how sane or insane North Korea’s leader is.

But I’m curious what you think.

101 Responses to “What do you think of Trump’s saber-rattling towards North Korea?”

  1. parker Says:

    China holds the keys. Summon the Chinese ambassador to the Oval Office and quietly tell him a NORK attack on us or our allies will be considered an attack sponsored by Peking and we will react accordingly.

  2. arfldgrs Says:


    all it is, is manipulating china again like he did to get saturdays UN choice..

    never appeal to a mans/countries better nature, they may not have one..

    as long as everyone kept trying to appeal to the better nature, china has no reason to worry nor to act…

    BUT if china thinks that their wacko may go one step too far, and that all hell will break loose near their factories, near their economy, slam the 10 companies that deal with kim, and more…

    well now its in THEIR self interest…
    or do they want the american military on their lands and near them to do with kim (and whatver else paranoid military types do when they are near others with all their equoment and by borders and on and on)

    its silly, but it works
    its how you get things done in the real world

    you call them out on the bs and escalate
    if not, what happens? decades of a war that is still in place, bs, money spent, lives lost, and on and on… and what for? nothing…

    but you can only play with a silverback gorrila so long

    all trump is doing is persuading china that its in their best interest to help remove thsi clown before everyones plans are up in the air and out of their control..

    and he is asking in a way that china looks good if they do and they dont lose face and there is no formal request they are obligated to say no when they want to say yes, and so on.

    it really fits the asian mindset vs western:

    the bulk of Chinese trade with North Korea involves just ten Chinese companies. The working assumption is that those ten companies are so “connected” and powerful that even the Chinese government can’t influence them, or might not want to try.

    so this has been the problem for decades..
    i can show you where and who and what
    but this stuff always takes me a long time to trace
    like the other thread where you asked how did it get thsi way and spent 10 years ignoring my attempts to tell you how it got that way by what was missing from the history books of common education

    munzenberg? chase? gross? katz? and many others who ARE the history of the punking of the americans so they cant be taught!!!!!!!!!!

    that would violate the number 1 rule!!!

    and we have that… everyone wants to think of how things are naturally this way… why? cause it is nicer to our egos and our fears if things are natural… but all this? this says we been tugged around since before we were born, and THAT is scary… that takes away any sense of security.. (unless you dont have it already, then it doesnt change a thing in knowing).

    you see we are PAST the old guard of the maoist china, and your in their children and their childrens children… so guess who gets their money for decade after decade safe and easy from korea?

    the point is that most of us have ignored all this kind of stuff all our lives… its been there, there has been articles and suchm but no one connececting the dots FOR you… and so, suddenly this stuff is up and running and all you have are all these academic things that left out the key parts and few are even aware that there are missing chapters. heck, there are missing volumes

    when that stuff goes missing..
    we do not look for it
    we are taught to fillin the blanks, make up our own story
    try to make sense of it by some theory outside of god and religion
    what we dont do is say..
    Thats blank, and we dont know what goes there!

    then when thee things come up, well, the leaders dont listen, cause they know these things as i know these things for the same reasons.

    its their followers and others lower down that dont know, or belive what shouldnt be believed and so on… it even helps them ignore arguments from thsoe below… what? you mean your argument does not take into account the required unpacking the knapsack? you miust not know what your talking about as its half missing, away with you and your worthless half arguments!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Trump is manipulating the situation to our favor
    and he is going to force the left here in the US to pivot again
    they will have to go from incompeetent and falling apart to doing things that they dont like just as scott addams said.

    IF trump gets ahead and does some good stuff with korea, you know he gets his second term and he gets permission to try to fix tons of stuff given successes. yeah.. ever see that list of things he HAS done so far? i have… wowsers..

  3. Doug Purdie Says:

    Both NK and Trump are big on bluster. They both talk much bigger than they act. I very much hope that is the case now.
    A good president would be vocally low key while putting anti-missile batteries in place. At which time he/she would then signal to NK that any missile that leaves NK air space would be shot down without warning.

  4. M J R Says:

    I cringed when President Hopenchange backed off from that Syria “red line”; the only thing worse than an empty threat is an empty threat subsequently backed away from.

    I sure hope Trump knows what the h#ll he’s doing. Trump and that Korean fatboy are two unstable characters whom I’d rather not see with weapons of mass destruction.

    (Based on Trump’s track record, if it’s not real estate wheeling and dealing, I have little confidence.)

  5. Oldflyer Says:

    Thanks Doug Purdie. I was wondering what a “good president” would do. Somehow I assumed that it would be something different from what the previous one did.

    I thought one option that was recently floated had merit, and that was to scare the hell out of China by offering nuclear weapons to Japan and SKorea if China did not immediately rein in the crazy one. The problem is that neither is likely to accept them.

    Gingrich outlined some good ideas this morning wrt to layering a missile defense that is both space based and terresstial, with the idea of killing missiles at launch at various points in the trajectory. (Anyone recall the SDI, that was ridiculed?) The issue is that if we don’t have it now, it is probably too late.

    I still think that China is the key.

  6. Oldflyer Says:

    Obviously, Trump can do nothing right as far as some are concerned. MJR, I don’t know what track record you reference. It seems to me that he has accomplished a lot without much help from Congress, or anyone else.

    I started to list some of the positives. But, why bother?

  7. DonKeyhoti Says:

    Sounds more like the Wizard of Oz to me. Threatening a nation state from behind the curtain of Twitter resolves nothing. Great American leaders have been measured and sure in response to such actions. That seems to be what Mattis, Tillerson and McMaster are attempting to do while Trump says, you will be met with fire and fury as he pulls the levers and twists the dials on his mobile phone.

  8. Ann Says:

    Wonder how Japan reacted to that “fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before”, tweeted just one day before the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.

  9. Ann Says:

    Not a tweet, I guess, but something he spoke.

  10. Tom G Says:

    I think silly Kim is going to act in a way that pushes Trump to use the military.

    China could have forestalled this years ago — and in 1993(?) Pres. Clinton could have stopped this, but didn’t.

    For the last 3 presidents, a GOOD president (wrt Nork) would have solved this problem. Clinton, Bush, Obama all failed to solve it (tho Bush was real busy solving the 16 UNSC resolutions against Saddam).

    I don’t think the military solution is a good solution — I don’t think this bad situation has any solution other than a bad one. That’s what make it a really, truly, bad situation.

  11. Big Maq Says:

    If a p*ssing match ever solved anything, or brought the concrete results one wants, I’ve never seen it.

    Ever see two thugs bluster at each other? Does that ever end well?

    Much better to be low key but assertive, and, if an attack is necessary, do so at your own choosing and advantage, vs escalating the rhetoric taunting and risking the other’s hand at initiating the attack.

    Even with limited options, there may well be plenty that the US can do via the back door with China and others to ramp up the pressure.

    The norks must be very close, that they are making this run for the end goal. Pretty sure that trump’s bluster all along has egged them on to prioritize this. They evidently read trump as having no or limited follow through.

    It is also clear that prior POTUSs have merely kicked the can down the road, rather than deal with the problem in a way that would have steered us away from this potential for major conflict.

    Was the ME consuming too much of their attention? Did obama ever have the guts to get a deal that didn’t give away half the store? IDK.

    It is what it is, and perhaps is a lesson learned. Perhaps it was a lesson, but the norks were too far along already to steer it clear, and is why we have that “deal” with Iran. IDK.

  12. Big Maq Says:

    “Wonder how Japan reacted to that “fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before”, tweeted just one day before the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.” – Ann

    Might be the day of, in Japan, given they are on the other side of the international date line.

    Yes, quite a juxtaposition.

  13. J.J. Says:

    I think Trump is trying to speak the same way Kim does because he hopes it might finally get his attention.

    Also, we have a version of good cop, bad cop going. Trump is the bad cop. Going to rip the perp’s face off. But the good cop, Tillerson, says calming words to get the perp’s cooperation. May be the wrong reading of all this. We’ll have to see.

  14. Big Maq Says:

    The good cop bad cop idea might have merit and be effective, if trump hadn’t compromised his own staff on several occasions, leaving officials like Tillerson without credibility and backing where it counts.

  15. Ira Says:

    M J R Says:
    August 9th, 2017 at 3:46 pm
    I cringed when President Hopenchange backed off from that Syria “red line”; the only thing worse than an empty threat is an empty threat subsequently backed away from.

    I agree. On the other hand, even if President Trump had said nothing, I hope that we would visit “fire and fury” upon North Korea if NK were to launch a nuclear tipped missile.

  16. Ken Mitchell Says:

    I like Austin Bay’s “Return of Serve” scenario. Deploy the highest tech ABM technology we can to Korea and Japan, and use all future NORK missile tests as targets of opportunity. Shoot them ALL down.

    And then utterly deny it.

  17. expat Says:

    Tom G,
    NRO’s Jim Geraghty in today’s Morning Jolt gave a history of what happened with our NK decisions going back to Clinton. It was Jimmy Carter who interfered and gave the negotiations crowd the power to prolong all this. We gave them food and permitted a bit of nuclear enrichment, but the Norks didn’t fulfill their side of the agreement. Nothing was done.

    In a similar way, Saddam failed to honor his side of the ceasefire. He shot at our planes enforcing the no-fly zone. He played games with weapons inspectors. He blamed us for his starving population, and when we came up with oil for food, he used the money to bribe Russian, French, and UN crooks. Hans Blix just wanted to keep on talking, and Bush said “Enough.” It’s true there were some false hopes about what would happen when the shoooting stopped, but Bush did manage to get things back under control with the surge, and the Obama pulled out our troops. Should Bush have walked around with a KICK ME sign on his rear end?

    There is all sorts of stuff going on quietly. Vietnam is talking with Mattis about letting a US carrier into its territory. I think that may put a little pressure on China. And there their are trade pressures.

    Good heavens, even the UN Sec Gen is now talking about cleaning up that corrupt mess.

    I think that in addition to our other actions, we should be expressing our concern for the people of NK. The country is undergoing an drought and is likely to have major food problems. We should be asking what kind of leadership will let its people starve while the country spend a fortune building missiles and nuclear weapons. We need to undermine the people’s faith in the Kim regime. We should say that we recognize the country’s right to exist, but we won’t tolerate its threats and that we probably care more about the people than fat little Kim.

  18. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    China is indeed the key and they’re betting that we won’t do anything until it’s too late. I can’t see the Chinese actually backing off their support for Kim. Pretending to do so, yes. Lots of lip service and reluctant agreement to sanctions.

    But replacing Kim? Not going to happen. China’s long support of N. Korea has a purpose. The Chinese do nothing without a purpose for their actions.

    The ‘wild card’ is Kim of course.

    I can’t think of a better way for Kim to commit suicide than to order the launch of a nuclear first strike against the US or one of our allies. Kim is a monster but I’m doubtful that he’s a suicidal monster. IF he’s not suicidal, his threats are simply bluster. More of the “Mother of all Battles” blather.

    However, his maniacal bluster has a lot of people half convinced that he is a nut job with a death wish. What Kim evidently fails to grasp is that we can’t afford to wait to find out for sure whether he’s suicidal or not. As waiting till he has nuclear ICBMs places millions of innocent lives at risk.

    Even if he’s not suicidal, allowing him to achieve nuclear ICBM capability will allow Kim to engage in nuclear blackmail. Which BTW is what I perceive the purpose of N. Korea’s pursuit of nuclear ICBM capability to actually be about.

    Give him what he wants… or else.

    Obviously, stopping Kim places S. Korea at risk. And nothing less than nuking Pyongyang can guarantee his removal. But a nuclear first strike is a political non-starter. The left would have a field day crucifying Trump for creating another Hiroshima.

    Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an informal consensus has existed that the sole moral justification for the use of nukes is in retaliation to an unprovoked nuclear attack. Otherwise they’re verboten. The refrain that “he didn’t give peace a chance” will never end. Imagine ‘special prosecutor’ Mueller’s investigation… on steroids.

    While dropping a MOAB on Pyongyang that fails to get Kim will leave him no choice but to immediately invade the South beginning with an attack on Seoul. Estimates are… 80-300k dead in the first 3 hours of the start of Seoul’s bombardment.

    Trump’s latest bluster is IMO an indication that he and his advisers haven’t any more idea than the rest of us of how to resolve this in an acceptable way.

    As I see it, there are three options;
    1) Nuke Pyongyang and end this and accept the political firestorm that will end Trump’s Presidency with a concomitant probability of his impeachment in time leading to another American civil war.
    2) Drop a MOAB on Kim and hope we get him with a distinct possibility that failure to get him will restart the Korean War. That will create an international firestorm with calls to try Trump in the Hague as a war criminal.
    3) do nothing beyod “talk, talk and jaw, jaw” and prepare ourselves for a new world where nuclear blackmail reigns.

    Like the Chinese, I’m betting on option 3.

  19. Stu Says:

    We should continually engage in war games with the South Koreans, as each time we do this the Norks are forced to mobilize, not knowing our true intentions. This creates a tremendous financial burden on them and might hasten regime collapse.

  20. M J R Says:

    Oldflyer, 4:12 pm — “Obviously, Trump can do nothing right as far as some are concerned. MJR, I don’t know what track record you reference. It seems to me that he has accomplished a lot without much help from Congress, or anyone else.”

    There is no track record dealing with diplomacy — save for the fact (at least it’s a fact to me) that Trump tends to react with macho bluster as readily as he does with sober consideration of a situation, at least publicly (which is all I have to go on). What is to be done has a great deal more to do to with Trump and his circle of advisors, than with Trump and our wonderful Republican Congress [God bless ’em].

    “I started to list some of the positives. But, why bother?”

    No need to bother. I am aware of “some of the positives,” but none have anything remotely to do with reigning in the Korean fatboy — especially when Trump himself could do with occasional reigning in himself.

  21. BrianE Says:

    I have read President Trump’s response to NK’s seeming escalating provocations is directed toward China.

    Obviously limited nuclear war isn’t much of an option, but how about a limited trade war with China? President Trump was positive in public a few months ago to how China was reacting to the NK situation. We may be tightening the screws to see some tangible results.

    On another front, the nexus between Iran and North Korea represents another challenge. How we respond to NK may well affect how Iran views their nuclear weapon development when it resumes in a few years.

    The campaign against North Korea is not only an important learning opportunity for preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb, but it may define the American position against Iran
    read more:

  22. Ken Mitchell Says:

    On a weekend visit to South Korea, the President warned that if North Korea developed and used an atomic weapon, “we would quickly and overwhelmingly retaliate.”

    “It would mean the end of their country as they know it,” he said.

  23. parker Says:

    Diplomacy is impossible with places like NK and Iran. History has shown appeasement does not work. Iran and NK (and Pakistan) are potential threats to sell a small nuke to Islamic terrorist groups. That is the real threat for any of the three to launch a nuke tipped ICBM is suicidal and they do indeed know it. The solution is to continue to pressure China with serious consequences that hit their pocket book and embargo the fat boy.

    A festering wound is not healed by talk-talk or pretending it does not exist. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet. Truman made a big mistake. The NK commies should have been defeated without conditions instead of the ceasefire that has existed since 1952.

  24. Harry the Extremist Says:

    Trump’s remarks about the Korean threat should have been measured, containing a unified steely resolve. Instead he sounded like a third world despot himself. Embarrassing.

  25. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Truman made a big mistake. The NK commies should have been defeated without conditions instead of the ceasefire that has existed since 1952.” parker

    Defeating the NK commies would have required also defeating the Chinese commies. I imagine convincing the UN of that would have been problematic and would have required a much greater commitment of men and materials from the US. So shortly after WWII, would the American public have supported another major war?

    MacArthur wanted to nuke the Chinese, had Truman agreed so as to avoid another massive conventional war, what would have been the long term repercussions? Truman had to decide and given a quick sure stalemate or another long war… isn’t it at the very least, understandable why he made his decision?

    Often, there are no good choices.

  26. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “how about a limited trade war with China?” BrianE

    Beyond the very real question as to who that would hurt most… there’s the certainty that a trade war with China would plummet the US into another recession. Given that a strengthening economy is a major positive accomplishment of the Trump administration, I’m doubtful that a trade war is even on the table for discussion.

  27. BrianE Says:

    The US has to have some leverage and given dropping a MOAB on NK doesn’t have a ring of plausibility, threatening tariffs on Chinese imports unless we see results from China reining in its client state.

    I’m not suggesting a trade war is a good option– just a better option than thermonuclear war.

  28. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    ABC just announced that the N. Koreans have called Trump on what they think is a bluff. Yesterday, he told them to stop the threats or experience “fire, fury and frankly, power like the world has never seen before”.

    Today, they announced that their tactical plans to target waters around Guam will be in place within the next two weeks. “In 2017, 162,742 people resided on Guam. Guamanians are American citizens by birth.”

    Trump either follows through now or is seen as an empty suit. Trump’s demeanor when he said that didn’t look to me like he’s bluffing.

  29. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Is it an effective option? Will a trade war with China result in China reining in NK? IMO it will not.

  30. Harry the Extremist Says:

    “Trump either follows through now or is seen as an empty suit. ”

    Thats why it’s best to hold your cards close to your chest. Not exactly 3rd level chess here.

  31. BrianE Says:

    For several months, the Trump administration has held off using various tools at its disposal to increase the pressure on China to increase its pressure on North Korea. But as the crisis worsens, it’s clearer than ever that China is not going to voluntarily do what’s needed to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table under terms the United States can accept.

    That’s why officials and experts are increasingly calling on the Trump administration to move forward with the tough measures against China that were always contemplated as part of its stated strategy of “maximum pressure” followed by engagement. Team Trump hasn’t gotten close to maximum pressure so far. The best way to move in that direction now is to sanction more Chinese entities that support the illegal and dangerous activities of the Kim Jong Un regime.

    Directly pressuring China is risky strategy for sure, and it could upend the U.S.-China relationship as we know it.

  32. Frog Says:

    Who is rattling the saber? Well, duh, it is Kim.

    We stand in harm’s way.

    NK has 60 nuclear bombs, and ICBM capability; none of the bombs even have to hit a US target to disable the nation and kill millions of Americans. An EMP will do the trick. That is an Electro-Magnetic Pulse consequent to a nuclear explosion in our upper atmosphere. That pulse will radiate over much of the continental USA.

    This is NOT merely nuclear blackmail by Kim. It is a terrific first strike opportunity for Kim that will absolutely cripple the US mainland for an uncertain but prolonged period of time.
    Computers won’t work, vehicles won’t work. What will banks do? Stock markets? The Federal gubmint? The makers of pharmaceuticals? Do you begin to get a sense of the dimensions of an EMP over the USA?
    Blasting NK with nukes from a US sub will not undo the massive American damage of a NK first strike EMP, so, Houston, we have a problem.

    If the US did an EMP over NK, that would also severely affect South China. And South Korea. That will not make us any Chinese or Korean friends; on the contrary.

    This is way much worse than the Cuban missile crisis.

    Absent Chinese military intervention in NK, a pre-emptive US first strike using tactical nukes (no wide-ranging EMP with those) on NK is our only option.

    Let us stop the anti-Trump bitching. This matter is TOUGH, and we can thank God that Obama is out of office.

    MJR: Here’s your spellcheck: It is “reining”, as in “reining in a horse”, that you meant to use, not “reigning”, which means ruling.

  33. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Thats why it’s best to hold your cards close to your chest.” Harry the Extremist

    Just so. That is until one concludes that drawing a line in the sand cannot be delayed further. Never issue an ultimatum that you aren’t willing to commit to…

  34. Alan F Says:

    Trump, along with his top cabinet officers, seem to be doing good-guy-bad-guy negotiation and seem to really mean it. And, the tone of the MSM is to disable support for this effort as much as possible by portraying Trump as the reckless fool.

  35. parker Says:


    One of my uncles, a WW2 Pacific theater vet, was called back for the Korean war. He was a Marine sniper and a quiet, tough man. He taught me how to shoot with dad’s blessing, when I was eight. He was of the opinion I expressed. Nip it in the bud or have to come back and root it out for good at a greater cost in blood and treasure.

  36. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “The best way to move in that direction now is to sanction more Chinese entities that support the illegal and dangerous activities of the Kim Jong Un regime.

    Directly pressuring China is risky strategy for sure, and it could upend the U.S.-China relationship as we know it.” WAPO

    Given that US intelligence estimates have been wildly ‘optimistic’ and that they project that N. Korea is less than a year away from full nuclear ICBM capability with a 60 nuke arsenal… what chance do increased sanctions have of bring the N.K. pit bull to heel?

    And directly pressuring China WILL upend the U.S.-China relationship. Not that we really have one. We’re busily selling them the rope with which they intend to hang us….


    I too once held to that view but since then I’ve read real disagreements as to the effect of an EMP. But if their effects are so devastating, why didn’t the Soviets use them? Why haven’t the Chinese? It’s true that Iran is pre-experimenting with them but that is because the dream of such a weapon is impossible for the Mullahs to resist. What’s stopping Putin from launching a few from a sub off our coasts?

    On the other hand, terrorists taking out just 9 key electrical substations would take down our electrical grid… possibly for years and if the Chinese ran into ‘difficulties’ in replacing the transformers… our electrical grid might never get back up.

    The public doesn’t want to know how vulnerable we are because normalcy bias is part of the human condition.

  37. M J R Says:

    Frog, 7:10 pm — “MJR: Here’s your spellcheck: It is ‘reining’, as in ‘reining in a horse’, that you meant to use, not ‘reigning’, which means ruling.”

    OMIGOSH!! My bad. Absent-minded. Thank you. And . . . ribit.

  38. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    I’m in full agreement. Human nature, in the aggregate is to put off ‘biting the bullet’ when the certainty of the deaths of hundreds of thousands is weighed against the possibility that millions will die.

    Chamberlain was NOT an accident. The majority of the British public supported him because they weren’t willing to accept an intolerable truth; that war once again loomed on the horizon. So too with the West today.

  39. Alan F Says:

    Neo mentioned F.L. Lucas, an Englishman (almost two years ago, I think), saying around 1938 “We have lost the courage to see things as they really are”. I have revised it for the 21st Century: We, in the comfortable West, are blinded by naive humanitarian beliefs from seeing things as they really are.

  40. Cornhead Says:

    Just now NK says it will launch 4 missles at Guam. Only 160,000 people live there and I know two of them.

    NK will not launch. Kim has overstated his case.

    But if I am wrong and Kim launches, we will shoot the missles out of the sky.

  41. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    When we don’t know the particulars beforehand, I’m somewhat skeptical that we can reliably shoot missiles out of the sky.

    If instead of targeting Guam, the Norks target “waters near” Manilla in a surprise launch, can we shoot down those missiles, under those conditions? I’m doubtful that the tech is that advanced.

    Hopefully I’d be happily surprised. But hope is a prayer not a strategy.

  42. JFM Says:

    Maybe Trump should consult with former Secretaries of State Albright, Powell, Rice, Kerry, and Clinton to find out their secrets for dealing successfully with North Korea. On second thought, never mind.

  43. Richard Saunders Says:

    Geoffrey Britain — I think you are quite wrong about damage to the US economy by a trade war with China. The US can easily survive for a year doing without hand towels from China that are $1 a dozen cheaper than hand towels made elsewhere. The Chinese millionaires and billionaires can’t survive for a year without the cash flow from sales to the US, which means China wouldn’t survive it.

    What it would take is two phone calls from the President:

    To the Department of Homeland Security: “Madam Acting Secretary, I’ve heard that Chinese ships pollute worse than any others. And that they smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants. I want the next Chinese ships to be stopped and checked very closely, stem to stern by the Coast Guard. and I want ICE to open every container and check it. Every single one.”

    A week later, to the President of China: “We’ve really got to do something about that lunatic in North Korea. Say, Mr. Xi, that’s a nice little trade surplus with the US you’ve got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.”

    Problem solved.

  44. Zigzag Says:


    Who gives a flying #@$^ how Japan reacted?

    This annual hand-wringing about Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a colossal bore. Knowledge of the Japanese national character and obsession with group agreeability and cohesiveness also suggests that apart from free lunch aspects of the weeping and wailing, another big plus is that it’s the ONE thing that the Japanese left and right can both agree on.

    Seriously. Too much worrying about perceptions and feelings and not enough concentration on the fact that Nuclear weapons are becoming commodity items. Unfortunately, a large number of Koreans are going to have to go up in smoke per encourager les autres. Clinton, Bush II, and Obama should all burn in hell for allowing things to reach this point.

    A true measure of Trump’s character will be his willingness (or lack thereof) to take very unpleasant measures soon and be accursed and demonised by all the ‘Good Thinkers’ for doing what has to be done to deal with what *their* idols should have nipped in the bud.

  45. parker Says:

    BTW GB or anyone else, the UN is a stinking cesspoul of corruption and antiUSA grifters. Personnaly I favor ending our membeship and relocatling the UN to Harare. Let those grifters smell the reality of their dreams of a world without the West. Same goes for the leftists of the West, Move to where your mouth is. But because you are not totally divorced from reality you will continue to reside in NYC, Seattle, etc, And live in gated compounds with armed securiy forces. May special people reap the unintended consequencses of what you virtue signal. And do knock on my door in the deplorabke flyover land, I have a hand loaded 357 surprise for you. Its organic lead and no animals were harm in its production.

    Yes, that is over the top. But that is the code they live by. Them and the horse they rode in on.

  46. parker Says:


    I agree. Japan got what it deserved. Most Japanese I know through practicing martial arts in Japan agree.But, I know for the most part Japanese who lived through the war and the aftermath.

  47. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    I had no idea that our $25 BILLION dollar trade deficit consisted of robust sales in hand towels… who’d a thunk it ? 😉

    Careful what you wish for… though that’s NOT an argument against the US implementing measures designed to erase that deficit. Just a feeling that a trade war would be far more harmful to both countries than you credit.


    The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was absolutely the right thing to do. At the time, military estimates of the death toll to invade and conquer Japan ranged from 5-25 million. Those figures were based on the civilians fighting to the death and suicides on some of the islands we had taken.

    That said, what counts today is the indoctrination of succeeding generations that has occurred in the schools and media. How many under 35 know of the Bataan Death March, the Rape of Nanking and the treatment of civilian populations (comfort women) and allied prisoners of war by the Japanese?

    I imagine a poll taken among the young would reveal that the majority who recognize the names Hiroshima and Nagasaki, view it as proof of America’s ‘Empire’.

    If Trump attacks N. K. it will be offered as proof of his “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Since impeachment and conviction are a political process, rather than a legal one, if the GOPe decides it offers enough political cover, they’ll happily join the democrats in voting for conviction.


    I can smell the UN’s stinking cesspoul of corruption all the way down here in FL. Harare sounds like a fine idea.

  48. Michael Says:

    The Korean problem should have been resolved decades ago, but there was no appetite to do so; we wanted to be ‘nice and sensitive’ kind of guys. I have always felt failure to do so constituted a kind of war crime on our part in that we let so much suffering to occur. When things got hairy we tried to buy the North Koreans off – and those who were not fools knew that was like trying to buy silence from a blackmailer so we are now at a Rhineland-type moment.

    Somewhere I read that rather than solve the problem we just kicked the can down the road and now there is precious little road left.

    We now have to finally solve the problem or forever live in the shadow of tin-pot dictators. The children scream that we should not antagonize the crocodile and maybe he might “eat me last – maybe he might even be so satiated that he won’t eat me at all’.

    Ain’t gonna happen.

    The only hope is that the Koreans realize that at the first shot they will do (maybe considerable) damage but will shortly after cease to exist and act accordingly. There were such moments during the Third Reich but they did not turn out very well. But hope springs eternal. And besides, short of absolute surrender that is only a temporary solution – sort of building a bit more road and leaving the problem for the next guy.

    So it would seem that the only options are surrender or war.

    Hope for surrender but don’t bet the farm. Surrender may in itself bring some unpleasant options but I guess that would probably be better than have someone drop an atomic bomb on you.

    That leaves war (a direct result of not dealing with the problem when it was easy). Two things are certain: no matter what we do Seoul will be toast (either partially or totally) so deal with it, and we will only get one chance (the democrats and the world will see to that) hence the only real option is nuclear.

    By accident of birth I just missed the first nuclear strike but I fully expect to see the second (in all probability an exchange rather than a strike) but honestly did not expect that it would be us – I was thinking India/Pakistan or the middle east.

    War. There are so many scenarios. The outcome also depends on who shoots first. What will the Russians do? What will the Chinese do? Probably nothing as who needs WWIII and besides if we lose more than two or three cities due to the inevitable leakers the county will probably tear itself apart socially so they win by default. What Europe does will be to scream loudly but otherwise be totally irrelevant. Poor Elon will most likely never get to Mars. The United States will be despised (even thou everyone else will breathe a huge sigh of relief and carry on – but not too much) and may not be able to continue as a country. The only good I can see is if the North Koreans hit Washington City while congress is in session; other than that I see no sense in the exercise. All choices are bad and damned if you do and damned if you don’t (again, a direct result of not dealing with the problem when it was easy).

    Ironically Korea is made for a nuclear war. Using current technology we have in place I can see where we could nuke the place while releasing relatively little if any fallout whereas the North Koreans have neither the will or ability to do so, so even if we ‘win’ we will probably get the worst of the exchange.

    It is said that the North Koreans have LA targeted. I figure that with their guidance they will probably hit Riverside and that will be the end of me.

    Everyone should just go home and have a party.

  49. Ken Mitchell Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    “August 9th, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    I had no idea that our $25 BILLION dollar trade deficit consisted of robust sales in hand towels… who’d a thunk it ? 😉”

    A lot of that trade surplus is electronics for Apple and other Silicon Valley companies. The President might want to point out to Tim Cook that if all iPhone production is in China, Apple would be destroyed by a trade war – and that Apple might want to repatriate some of their cash and manufacturing to the USA. Oh, yeah, and maybe a small tax amnesty to get that cash back home….

  50. Matt_SE Says:

    Everyone else kicked the can to this point, so they’re not in a position to criticize (especially Bill Clinton). The Norks will never have enough nukes to substantially injure the US. If they ever attack anyway, it will be a costly lesson in why we should never suffer dictators to own nuclear weapons.

  51. Zigzag Says:


    If Trump does nuke the Norks, the very nature of the thing means that all constitutional bets are off.

    Actually all Constitutional Republican bets ARE off already. Have been for a while now and it’s a one-way street. I recall getting in a bit of trouble here last year and being called a paid Trump electoral shill — which I am most assuredly not.

    It’s just that people don’t like to look unpleasantness and horror in the eye. The USA is already in an analogous historical period to roughly the timeline which goes Gracchis -> Sulla. It’s all there in the air… waiting for the spark to ignite it.

    Even if that above aside was just total fantasy (which I fear it is not), any generals in the chain of command who took part in said hypothetical nukeing of the Norks would also have their heads on the highly debased and corrupted constitutional republican chopping block afterwards. So, I think a necessary result of any action against NK would have to be some kind of military calling of the Left’s bluff. The Joint Chiefs are not going to do life in Leavenworth in the name of Due Process.

    I realise the whole thing is fraught and complicated. And I realise that that there are plenty of traitorous, corrupt, and political generals… but at the risk of oversimplifying, I don’t see how it is possible to attack NK without taking action Back Home too, simply as a matter of self-preservation.

    Kicking cans down the road in geopolitics of one’s own life tends to limit options in the end and things take on a logic of their own, no?

  52. Zigzag Says:

    In other words, if it turns out that whoever is in control decides that there is a clear and present danger to the USA and that there really is no choice but to take military action against North Korea, then (unless said persons are totally naive idiot) pure cold logic will require a temporary (at least) suspension of chunks of the Constitution and doing whatever it takes to guarantee lifetime immunity for those ‘responsible’ for doing something so evil and unethical and outside the pale as actually acting in the best interests of the people of the USA.

  53. FOAF Says:

    We have seen this coming since at least 1994. All the wise, educated, responsible, sober, diplomatic foreign policy “experts” of three administrations, Democrat and Republican alike, have had nearly 25 years to try to keep NK from going nuclear. And what it has gotten us is this unhinged commie nutjob able to nuke the mainland US or close to it. Trump may do no better but he can hardly do worse.

  54. steve walsh Says:

    Trump’s words on NK are intended for the ears of others, like China. I am hopeful that behind closed doors smart, clear thinking people are determining what it is that NK hopes to accomplish with its belligerence. It could be that Trump is playing right into Kim’s plan – by threatening fire and fury does Kim’s claim to nuclear weapons for self-defense have credibility? Not to me, but what I think doesn’t matter. As an armchair global politics observer, could it be that Kim’s puffing and bluster are a defensive response to the sanctions and other internationally supported pressures having their intended effect? Dunno.

    What I do know is that there is no good to come from saber rattling with a seemingly unhinged political leader. I’m speaking of Kim, of course.

  55. F Says:


    Harare is much too nice a city to use as an alternative UN Headquarters. My choice would be Cairo or Islamabad, with a second choice something like Nouakchott.

  56. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Clint Eastwood’s words would have been more economical.
    Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Obama and Hillary would have asked what additional concessions Un wanted.

    So, all things considered, what’s the problem?

    Said it before: Obama’s timing was better than Neville Chamberlain’s. Obama got out of office before the appeasement game blew up. Now all the Right Sort of People have the opportunity to blame a republican. How delicious.

  57. Tatterdemalian Says:

    Obama spent eight years destroying our ability to deter dictators. We will almost certainly have to go to war, just as we did in Iraq, to re-establish that deterrent.

    Can’t think of a better place to do that than North Korea. Make sure to cut off the northern border to keep back Chinese reinforcements this time, though. They will try to support Kim Jong Un, regardless of what promises China makes not to.

  58. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Is it any worse than than what Mattis promised? he was rather low keyed. Well, may not so much.

    The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.

  59. The Other Chuck Says:

    My worst fears about this ass of a president are coming true. He is a man with adolescent emotional development facing off against a deranged and increasingly dangerous pawn of the communist Chinese. What could go wrong?

    Here is an article from Axios that Drudge linked below his own black and white retro explanation. I find it little comfort that his top generals have decided to never be out of the country at the same time. What are they going to do, rush to the White House at 3:00 AM to intervene?

    Sam Jayne / Axios
    Here’s one of the most intriguing — and consequential — theories circulating inside the White House:

    The generals, the New Yorkers and Republican congressional leaders see themselves as an unofficial committee to protect Trump and the nation from disaster.
    This loose alliance is informal.
    But as one top official told us: “If you see a guy about to stab someone with a knife, you don’t need to huddle to decide to grab the knife.”
    The theory was described to us in a series of private chats with high-ranking officials:

    The generals — White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — speak frequently, see the world similarly and privately express a sense of duty to help steer Trump. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, is an ally.
    The New Yorkers, including economic adviser Gary Cohn and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell (with 25 years of foreign-policy experience), have subsumed some of their personal views to blunt Trump’s worst ideas. This crowd is highly skilled at communicating with the president (using visuals and grand positioning) to refine or moderate “America first” provocations. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is also very involved, helping demand a process where POTUS has all the information to make domestic and international economic decisions.
    Republican congressional leaders won’t win any profiles in courage for standing up to Trump. But almost all could move against the president if special counsel Bob Mueller finds crimes, or the president succumbs to radical instincts.
    These officials see their successes mostly in terms of bad decisions prevented, rather than accomplishments chalked up:
    They view their main function as getting real facts to the president, and injecting their belief in the importance of alliances and military relationships around the world.
    As an example, if Trump had plunged ahead with his thirst for a trade war, the U.S. might not have won China’s backing in the U.N. vote last weekend for sanctions against North Korea.
    These officials pick their battles, knowing that Trump is going to go ahead with some decisions — like renouncing the Paris climate agreement — no matter what.
    And much of what they do is silent. AP reported that Mattis and Kelly, when he was still Secretary of Homeland Security, “agreed in the earliest weeks of Trump’s presidency that one of them should remain in the United States at all times to keep tabs on the orders rapidly emerging from the White House.”

  60. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    What would a man of mature emotional development “facing off against a deranged and increasingly dangerous pawn of the communist Chinese” do?

    “if Trump had plunged ahead with his thirst for a trade war, the U.S. might not have won China’s backing in the U.N. vote last weekend for sanctions against North Korea.” axios article

    Anyone who claims that more sanctions are going to stop Kim is selling snake oil to desperate people in denial of the reality we face.

  61. Kyndyll G Says:

    This was always coming, from the first moment that North Korea threatened and stomped its feet and got appeasement. I have no idea why anyone is stupid enough to think that appeasement gets rid of bad guys; it never has and never will. All it accomplishes is more time for the bad guy to get stronger and bolder – which is perceived by those doing the appeasing as either a “peaceful solution” or simply kicking the can. Whether it’s a good idea for Trump to stand up and tell the fat little piggy “No” now, today, is debatable but that it was always going to end badly was set in stone the day we in the West began capitulation.

    Chances are, the more time passes, the worse off it ends. It should have been stopped long ago but … appeasement is so politically popular, and standing up to dangerous tinpot bullies is not.

  62. DNW Says:

    ” Obama got out of office before the appeasement game blew up. Now all the Right Sort of People have the opportunity to blame a republican. How delicious.”

    That’s right. Appease the murderous little godlets of North Korea for decades, with the conscience salve of intermittent and various sanctions which never work, and then say it’s the Republican’s fault when this pustule of a country explodes. Oh I guess there have been reports of somewhat effective sabotage efforts, and the effects of cyber attacks … but here we are nonetheless.

    People wonder what a responsible president would do. Responsible Presidents did nothing for decades, even while North Korea engaged in criminal acts of aggression sufficient for a casus belli.

    One of the more comical commentaries I heard the other day was when some clown began referencing Kennedy’s “handling” of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Could members of the modern commentariat be that historically clueless?

    Little Kim has us targeted. He wants to kill us. No one in the universe gives a shit about him and his worthless landmass and its hapless inhabitants apart from that. He won’t go away. Being a cosmic nuisance is his raison d’etre, his revenge on a reality that whelped a piece of crap like him. In that he is much like the typical liberal, only much more extreme. “Pay attention to me or I’ll kill you!”

    I think it may be near the time for a massive conventional attack on all North Korea’s port facilities and infrastructure. They will have nothing but an army left. Dams burst, electric power out, shipping destroyed, capital city in ruins …

    An ultimatum may work to give him enough rope to hang himself. Technically we are still at war with them … in case any of the sensitives among us have forgotten.

    Or we could just wait 6 months until he has working rockets and not just midget subs capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and hope that we have tiny drones which can ferret him out and kill him in the before then.

    Maybe we’ lose Los Angeles, do or don’t; anyway you slice it. I hope commenter Michael gets out first.

  63. Gringo Says:

    My suggestion is to start talking about Japan and South Korea getting nuclear warfare capabilities. China DOES NOT WANT Japan and/or South Korea to go nuclear.

  64. FOAF Says:

    “My worst fears about this ass of a president are coming true. He is a man with adolescent emotional development …”

    Sorry, “Other Chuck”. The “adults” blew this one, badly.

  65. DNW Says:

    Thank goodness that Obama gave us peace in our time.

  66. Frog Says:

    Geoffrey B @ 7:42 pm:
    We have subs carrying ICBMs with MIRVs, so retaliation for a nuclear EMP is certain. But that will do nothing to mitigate the damage to the US itself.

  67. DNW Says:

    So, 6 months from now, Lil Kim has a workable warhead capable of surviving re-entry and hitting the continental U.S.

    He does not immediately attack. He demands the reunification of the Koran peninsula under his control, and demands supplies, technology, and bank credits from the west; or else he will strike the U.S. for its “depraved indifference” to borrow a phrase from his like-minded U.S. dwelling leftist allies.

    How does Left Angeles, vote?

    They vote: Millions for tribute! Not one cent for defense!

  68. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Kyndyll G,

    I have no idea why anyone is stupid enough to think that appeasement gets rid of bad guys; it never has and never will.”

    Churchill put his finger firmly upon the answer; “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”


    “Little Kim has us targeted. He wants to kill us.”

    I don’t think that’s the purpose of his pursuit of nuclear ICBM capability. Not that he wouldn’t love to kill us all but I don’t think he’s suicidal.

    Gullible liberals are partially right in their assertion that the N. Koreans are pursuing nuclear ICBM capability for its deterrent value.

    Where they go wrong is in imagining that the Norks fear invasion or attack from the US. That’s pablum for N. Korea’s masses.

    They want nuclear ICBM capability to deter American military intervention when they invade S. Korea.

    That’s what this has always been about for the Norks. Unification, just like Vietnam.

    They rightly judge that America will NOT sacrifice its cities for Seoul.

    Once that precedent is established, China will seize Taiwan and seize full control of the South China Sea. Which is what China’s support for the Norks has always been about for the Chinese. N. Korea is China’s sacrificial pawn, one judged well worth sacrificing if it turned out that they had miscalculated.

    But of course they haven’t miscalculated at all, since today’s snowflakes are NOT willing to support the Kennedy Doctrine; “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

    Snowflakes are opposed to liberty for anyone but themselves. Too stupid to realize that liberty denied to those with whom they disagree cannot exist for anyone. Liberty limited to the ‘approved’ results in tyranny.


    “My suggestion is to start talking about Japan and South Korea getting nuclear warfare capabilities.”

    Too late and a political non-starter.

  69. DNW Says:

    Here is the real problem Trump faces. Suppose we wipe him out with stunning and unexpected efficiency.

    1, The country in ruins, the Lady Bountifuls of the west begin bleeding.

    2, Success of that sort will itself redound negatively on Trump, as his political enemies shriek that we should have known all along that much of what Lil Kim was doing was for bluff and show, and that we have caused huge amounts of collateral damage in order to squelch an “uncertain” threat.

    The reaction of the American progressive class to the highway of death, their focus on nuclear and biological WMD to the exclusion of all the other prohibited weapons of Saddam, illustrates their likely reaction this time too. They ignored the violations of the terms of the cease fire, and the fact that there was nothing more than a conditional cease fire during a state of war, and the subversion of sanctions by our supposed allies and U.N. members.

    If we completely rolled up the Norks in a day or two, it would just be the beginning of troubles.

    No, it will probably have to be that a city full of progressives be incinerated, before the left sees the Norks as a bigger enemy than Trump.

    But then, dear progressives, what do you think the rest of the country will say about what has befallen you?

  70. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    I would remind those who say that President Trump does not know how to conduct foreign policy that the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions against North Korea last Saturday; I emphasize that both Russia and China agreed with the United States. How often has that ever happened? North Korea’s knee jerk response was to threaten military retaliation.

    So, I ask those who oppose any pre-emptive military response, “Do you think we should get the Security Council to approve another resolution, this time adding that ‘We really, really mean it!'”?

  71. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “What would a man of mature emotional development “facing off against a deranged and increasingly dangerous pawn of the communist Chinese” do?”

    If Obama is the example, it’s “surrender and blame Republicans.”

  72. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Not mentioned in the comments so far is that it appears Obama knew about North Korea’s miniaturized nuclear warheads back in 2013 and did nothing. Miniaturization is/was key to having a long-range weapon.

  73. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions against North Korea last Saturday; I emphasize that both Russia and China agreed with the United States.” Cap’n Rusty

    It is in both Russia and China’s strategic interest for Kim to achieve nuclear ICBM capability. He’s both their sacrificial pawn or their ‘rogue’ client state.

    No way will Kim ever threaten them. Nor would blackmail work, Putin and Xi could care less what happens to millions of innocents.

    Their approval in the UN of new sanctions is an attempt to send a message to Kim; don’t blow it by leaving the US no choice but to attack. All Kim has to do is refrain from threats and quietly insist that his purpose is entirely defensive. Just as the Iranians are doing. Once he has his nuclear deterrent, then he can blackmail the West. Instead, his ego is causing his mouth to write checks his ass can’t cash…

  74. Big Maq Says:

    Appeasement almost never works, unless one counts buying time for preparation as the goal (Chamberlain wasn’t preparing way back then).

    Like school yard bullies, ultimately, some things might come down to the inevitability of a fight, but have other levers been sufficiently pulled?

    The mishandled wars in the Middle East since 9/11 pretty much threw most citizens off of the proposition of war, and ushered grave mistrust of the accuracy of our “intelligence”.

    So, yes, there is very little appetite for war, for many folks who are not just “snowflakes”.

    Easy to be a keyboard warrior, than a real one on the DMZ.

    Good leadership makes the case and brings a consensus of citizens along with them. BUT, it takes credibility and trust.

    Bad leadership just wings it.

    Bad leadership doesn’t coordinate their messaging and planning within their organization, nor across our allies.

    Bad leadership goads the foe into escalation and action, losing us the ability to manage the escalation and the initiative on timing.

    Bad leadership doesn’t explore and execute alternatives to a war, nor give them time to take effect.

    Bad leadership is more worried about their personal image in all this, and in responding “in kind” (whether that is strategically appropriate or not), than in the consequences and tradeoffs for all involved, and on bringing our citizens and allies on board.

    The bluster is more likely than not to lead things out of our control, imho.

    If we have to do it, trump needs to make the friggin case and organize for it.

    So far, the rhetoric seems to be all hot and designed to provoke rather than resolve anything.

  75. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Big Maq,

    “Easy to be a keyboard warrior, than a real one on the DMZ.”

    I put my life on the line in Nam for 18 months and was honorably discharged. And with nuclear ICBMs, all of us are on the DMZ.

    “Good leadership makes the case and brings a consensus of citizens along with them.”

    Right. If only Trump calmly states that, America can’t afford to wait until after Kim has nuclear ICBMs, so as to be sure of his intentions, as that would put at risk millions of innocent American citizens… Schumer and the rest on the left will join ‘the consensus’.

    “History shows that we can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea.” written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and published today in the New York Times

    “Bad leadership goads the foe into escalation and action”

    Right. If only Trump would stop goading Kim, he’d see reason. Just as if only Churchill had stopped goading Hitler, he’d have seen reason.

    News flash! Dishonest ‘logic’ is equating resistance to evil with evil itself.

  76. groundhog Says:

    Just because not a lot is discussed about defensive weapons doesn’t mean more things don’t exist.

    Current Stealth aircraft existed 10 years before it became public.

  77. Big Maq Says:

    @GB – you’ve been making some reasonable arguments on this thread.

    It is not about making kju see “reason”. And, it is not about merely bringing schumer along.

    Like obama’s “red line”, trump’s bluster may well be “called”, and then what?

    Will our collective pants be around our ankles?

    A p*ssing match is not what is needed right now, and trump doesn’t have a great track record of having things organized behind much of his boasts and claims.

  78. huxley Says:

    Big Maq: I don’t find Obama’s “red line” with Trump’s “fire and fury” closely comparable.

    Trump is known for his whackjob bluster and “negotiating positions.” Furthermore “fire and fury” means what exactly?

    Obama was considered a serious, sober leader, who claimed he didn’t bluff. “Red line” is a serious term which is supposed to be more than a metaphor.

    When Obama did nothing after Assad brazenly used chemical weapons again, Obama was busted as a bluffer and lost whatever influence he had in the Middle East.

    Result: hundreds of thousands dead and crazy European refugee problems.

    If Trump doesn’t bomb NK tomorrow, it won’t damage his credibility.

    In the meantime I rather think it is salutary for the Norks and the rest of the world ponder what American “fire and fury” might mean. We’ve had enough serious, sober talk about NK and all it has done is the grease the rails for NK to develop nuclear weapons.

  79. Tatterdemalian Says:

    No, a p*ssing match is exactly what is needed, followed by another US attack to prove that Obama’s promise to never fight anyone anymore is no longer valid.

    As long as the world thinks the US is too afraid of international opinion to use any of the weapons at our disposal, we will never be able to deter dictators and powermongers with words alone.

  80. Big Maq Says:

    “And with nuclear ICBMs, all of us are on the DMZ.” – GB

    As a generality true.

    But, as for the norks, likely not yet, though that capability on the horizon is the fear.

  81. Big Maq Says:

    @huxley – true it is not a one for one exact analogy.

    The point is, if trump doesn’t follow through on such a high profile threat, that only emboldens our foes.

    I don’t think our foes will give trump a pass because he is somewhat erratic.

    There might be more “variance” around the question of how far they can go, but they will surely know that they can go the next step.

    Heck, I would, by my current read of trump.

    That is a bad position to be in, aside from the p*ssing match aspect.

  82. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Big Maq,

    And, it is not about merely bringing schumer along.

    You’re the one who suggested that, “Good leadership makes the case and brings a consensus of citizens along with them.”

    That only applied when the democrats still believed that, “Politics stops… at the water’s edge” Daniel Patrick Moynahan’s sentiment was abandoned by the dems long ago, at least since Obama’s election in 2008 and, with Clinton’s giving high tech to China, arguably well before Obama. And half of the electorate does not a ‘consensus’ make.

    “Like obama’s “red line”, trump’s bluster may well be “called”, and then what?”

    It’s already happened. Two days ago, Trump declared the consequence if Kim delivered another threat. The very next day… the Norks formally stated that their plans to attack Guam would be in place within the next two weeks.

    Trump now has to put up or shut up. It’s only been a day but all I’m hearing are crickets.

  83. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Well, Trump was talked out of acting proactively.

    Today he said, “let’s wait and see what he (Kim) does with Guam.” Then he said that if the Norks attack Guam, they’ll experience severe repercussions.

    Americans in Guam must take comfort knowing that if they are nuked, America will avenge their deaths.

    So Trump, yielding to political reality is placing at risk 162,000+ American lives. And possibly millions of innocent lives.

    A world of nuclear blackmail awaits.

  84. The Other Chuck Says:

    Geoffrey Britain –
    “What would a man of mature emotional development ‘facing off against a deranged and increasingly dangerous pawn of the communist Chinese’ do?”

    He would first of all stop inflaming the situation publicly. Then he would assemble the best and most trusted minds to lay out a strategy based on America’s safety first, and our allies second. He would quietly move assets into positions at some distance, but close enough to get into place when needed. At the same time he would pull back his shoulders, take a deep breath, stop thinking about his personal affronts and petty hurts, and act like the leader of the free world.

    To repeat BigMag:

    Good leadership makes the case and brings a consensus of citizens along with them. BUT, it takes credibility and trust.

    Bad leadership just wings it.

    Bad leadership doesn’t coordinate their messaging and planning within their organization, nor across our allies.

    Bad leadership goads the foe into escalation and action, losing us the ability to manage the escalation and the initiative on timing.

    Bad leadership doesn’t explore and execute alternatives to a war, nor give them time to take effect.

    Bad leadership is more worried about their personal image in all this, and in responding “in kind” (whether that is strategically appropriate or not), than in the consequences and tradeoffs for all involved, and on bringing our citizens and allies on board.

  85. The Other Chuck Says:

    If you haven’t read David French’s piece at NRO, you need to. It is the best summary to date of the situation vis-à-vis Trump’s choices and N. Korea. It’s a must read:

  86. huxley Says:

    The point is, if trump doesn’t follow through on such a high profile threat, that only emboldens our foes.

    I don’t think our foes will give trump a pass because he is somewhat erratic.

    There might be more “variance” around the question of how far they can go, but they will surely know that they can go the next step.

    Heck, I would, by my current read of trump.

    Big Maq: Again, by my current read of Trump and world leaders, I disagree.

    I greatly doubt world leaders read Trump’s threats as “red line” ultimatums.

    But neither of us read minds, so it’s my opinion against yours.

  87. om Says:

    Oh, for the good old days. I haven’t seen the phrase “keyboard warrior” since the second Iraq War. It (the slam) sucked then, too. But just being a veteran doesn’t magically make a person wise either.

    We’ve all been sold the line that the Norks artillery puts Seoul in grave imminent danger. streif at Red State had a contrarian assessment yesterday. He’s a Army veteran who was stationed in S Korea, for what that’s worth. The point is the left and Kim Jun Un (aka Whoa Fat at AOS) want to be seen as the biggest threat possible.

    Or is President Trump the biggest threat? Time will tell.

  88. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    That sounds great until one faces the fact that the ONLY way to stop the Norks is with nuclear force.

    Specifically, first putting in place tactical nukes to use against the N. Korean artillery targeting Seoul. Then launching a nuclear strike against Pyongyang.

    Since that is a political non-starter both domestically and internationally, it won’t happen.

    French writes a plausible scenario until he states,

    [A N. Korean] “assault on the South would likely come in response to a perceived existential threat.”

    That’s classic “blame the victim” rationalization. The Norks know damn well that we don’t want a resumption of the Korean War. And the N. Koreans have been pursuing nuclear ICBM capability since the 1950s…

    No, unification of Korea under the North has always been the doctrinal goal of N. Korean administrations and they know full well that nuclear ICBM capability is the only way to deter America from interfering when they invade.

    The end of this road is spelled out in French’s scenario;

    “through the United Nations came a clear and unmistakable message: “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has sufficiently punished the criminal regime in the South and seeks a cease-fire and resumption of the armistice. If no such cease-fire is forthcoming, then the DPRK will treat any attempt to take the DPRK city of Seoul as a direct threat to its national existence and will turn Tokyo, San Francisco, and Los Angeles into lakes of fire.”

    No one knows better than the DPRK that the U.S. can be deterred.”

    The Norks know this because we’ve been demonstrating it for decades. If anything, French underestimated the number of ‘third party’ populations they’ll threaten and hold hostage. Why would the Norks limit themselves to just Tokyo? Manilla, Sydney, Mumbai, the list contains a multitude of choices.

    Nuclear blackmail awaits and Iran is watching…

  89. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    Never said or even implied that being a veteran conferred wisdom. But ‘keyboard warrior’ implies a willingness to send others to do what that person secretly fears to do themselves. That charge can’t stick when the writer has already demonstrated otherwise. Once aware Big Maq got that, but that doesn’t stop you from trying anyway. Which reveals some nastiness about you.

    Lets ask the citizens of Seoul if they take any comfort from assurances that a N.K. artillery bombardment might not be as bad as they fear.

  90. om Says:


    I did not mean to imply you were a “keyboard warrior” but neither do I accept that just because one has served in the military one is wise by default.

    Read the article, or go and ask the citizens of Seoul. I’ll wait for a report on your field trip. You have your own kind of nasty, BTW.

  91. om Says:


    You seem to discount all the non-nuclear weapons systems that have been in service for the last 25 or more years. Ever hear of “drones,” counter battery fires, an Air Force? Oh, I forgot, nuke em till they glow and the rubble bounces. Sheeesh.

  92. om Says:

    Here’s the link to streiff from HotAir too:

    But, you may already know the answers, so never mind.

  93. blert Says:

    French is crazy.

    1) NORK mechanised units are CERTAIN to suffer amazing mechanical breakdowns. Easy to build, easy to break is a Soviet design philosophy.

    2) Chatter across NORK command networks is CERTAIN to be spotted.

    We are talking about a nation that essentially shuts down at night to save power.

    Such a blackout means that Kim can’t move his armies at night — not really… battalions, yes… armies, no.

    3) The ROK army is ALWAYS paranoid about penetrations. By now, it’s very hard for Kim to find troopers BIG enough to ‘pass’ as ROK troops.

    ( Stature is a BIG thing culturally for Koreans, BTW. They pride themselves for being taller than Japanese and Chinese folks.

    This is such a Big deal that when the negotiations occurred, the US HAD to use especially tall officers.

    Ridgway was never photographed. )

    4) ROK positions on the DMZ are always on a hair trigger — as in ready for counter-battery fire.

    Most of that fire will come from MLRS systems. Such rockets don’t strike individual artillery tubes. They take out multiple football fields of this or that — in the blink of an eye.

    In 1991 Iraqi troops only had to see ONE barrage — before everyone — officers included — dropped everything and ran like rabbits. Entire artillery brigades dissolved in seconds.

    In contrast, the MLRS can take counter battery fire. It shoots and scoots. It’s built like a TANK.

    The ROK has a LOT of MLRS batteries. These rockets also out range all but the heaviest artillery.

    They are so effective that the US Army retired all of its long range counter battery artillery tubes.

    5) The NORK armies can’t afford to use radio. Kim does not have a smart weapons inventory remotely like the South — or the US.

    But, without radio, Kims crews can’t co-ordinate nothing.

  94. Zigzag Says:


    Supposedly the NK Artillery aimed at Seoul is dug in to mountainsides.

    It’s one thing to flense an Iraqi Brigade in the open dessert with MLRS bomblets, fuel air bombs, whatever other nasties are available. It’s totally another thing to disable artillery tubes in rocky terrain natural fortifications. Not saying it cannot be done, but it’s apples to oranges.

    Also, Norks don’t need to use radio for arty command and control… Well-buried shielded twisted pair Ca. 1960 will do quite nicely. We’re talking fixed positions, remember. And targeting is mostly pre-laid. The Norks are mostly not aiming to hit particular spots… just ball park stuff.

    I’ve no doubt they can be sorted in fairly short order… Won’t necessarily be business as usual in Gangnam during and after though.

  95. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    streiff makes a few questionable assertions but for the sake of discussion, let’s say he’s right. Doesn’t matter. What matters is what people believe. And what people believe is that a resumption of the Korean War would be BAD. That at least hundreds of thousands would die. That’s BAD.

    The reason what people believe is definitive is because it affects what they’ll consider and ultimately, what they’ll do.

    Kim isn’t going to attack Seoul and invade UNTIL he has nuclear ICBM capability. That’s his deterrence against US involvement. Rightly or wrongly, the Norks think they can take S. Korea mano a mano. That belief coupled with their certainty that once they have nuclear ICBM capability it will effectively deter US intervention is what is driving their actions.

  96. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Demoncrats were always the US war party. When you elect a Demoncrat as leader, expect WAR.

  97. Ymar Sakar Says:

    It seems to me that he has accomplished a lot without much help from Congress, or anyone else.

    The idea that the Executive Branch is helpless before the other 2 branches, is why Americans failed to understand the US Constitution.

    That’s not how it works. And citizens should have known that a long time ago.

  98. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “Demoncrats were always the US war party.”

    Mostly as a side effect of being the US authoritarian party. There are benefits to being a dictator, one of which is nobody dares question you when you kill a bunch of children to take down the terrorists hiding behind them.

    Or, more often, blames it on the US libertarian party.

  99. blert Says:


    Smart bombs, smart thermo-barric bombs mean that fixed position heavy artillery is toast.

    I have no doubt that many NORK artillery tubes are dug in like the Guns of Navarone… which means they are largely known.

    BTW, M198 and M777 howitzers have spectacular ranges — especially with trick smart shells.

    Counter battery fire is now such a fine art that the US Army assumes that one must shoot and scoot. You just can’t stay put until enemy long range fires have been suppressed.

    French’s scenario has the NORK armies crossing the DMZ in a surge.

    It can’t be pulled off. South Korea has trick obstacles that will drop across all roads — and minefields aplenty.

    GB said it well: Kim’s game plan is to erect an atomic shield — and then — finally — shove south to Pusan. With atomics in hand, he figures it will be surely a walk-over… Beijing applauding from the bleachers.

  100. blert Says:

    It’s notable that THAAD is now being deployed — tout suite — a full 180 from policy prior to the last missile shoot.

    BTW, Kim has ONLY demonstrated IRBM capability so far.

    He’s also working fanatically on solid fuel rockets — and those suitable for ballistic missile submarines.

    I hear tell that Seoul is requesting permission to build atomic submarines and to upgrade its own ballistic missiles — for greater throw weight.

    I’d figure that these missiles figure into Seoul’s counter battery fire scheme.

  101. Zigzag Says:


    I’ll defer to your points re ease of taking out fixed positions. Still worry that quantity has a quality all of its own. It’s not inconceivable that NK has an order of magnitude more tubes individually dug in than can be neutralised in (say) 24 hours.

    Not a great fan of Koreans of any ilk having nukes — wonderful people though many of them are, they *do* have a tendency toward (shall we say) shrill emotionalism. But if NK is going to have them, then it’s a no-brainer for ROK to do likewise and then of course the Japanese need to wake up from their post-1945 emasculated slumbers and nuke up pronto.

    It’s a pity, the genie is out and partying, but at least ROK and Japan are relatively sane state actors. Also a bit of neighbourhood proliferation is just what John Chinaman needs to refocus his energies on colonising Africa instead of betting against the Thucydides House.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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