Why the US Hasn’t Brought “Fire and Fury” to North Korea

As the world ponders the meaning of President Donald Trump’s threat of “fire and fury” on North Korea, it’s worth asking why his predecessors never took those steps to stop its nuclear program. Trump isn’t the first president to threaten North Korea. The others were all bluffing.

When Bill Clinton was confronted with the threat of North Korea’s exit from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he considered military force. But he ended up going for negotiations in what became known as the Joint Framework Agreement. The North Koreans froze their plutonium program in exchange for fuel shipments and a light water reactor from the U.S. Neither side ever fully delivered.

Then there was George W. Bush. He didn’t like North Korea. He put the nation in the original “axis of evil.” On his watch, the U.S. discovered Pyongyang had a secret uranium enrichment program, in violation of the spirit of Clinton’s deal. Then in 2006, North Korea tested its first nuclear device. By 2007, Bush had lifted crippling sanctions on the regime’s elites and entered into new negotiations. And surprise: The North Koreans backed out of those talks at the end, too.

By the time Barack Obama came into power, the North Koreans were back to building up their program. They perfected missiles, sunk a South Korean ship and shelled a South Korean island. The current tyrant, Kim Jong Un, ascended to power and proceeded to consolidate his position, killing his uncle and later his half brother. All the while, Obama pursued a policy of “strategic patience,” aimed at not rewarding Kim’s regime for its provocations and rogue behavior.

Now Trump has inherited a mess. Not only is Kim testing ballistic missiles at an alarming rate, as the Washington Post reported this week, but also the Defense Intelligence Agency now assesses North Korea can miniaturize a nuclear warhead so that it can fit inside a missile. Game, set, match.

So why didn’t the last three presidents take out North Korea’s nuclear facilities when they had the chance? The answer is Seoul, the thriving capital of South Korea. The North has enough artillery pieces within range of this metropolis to kill hundreds of thousands of people, which could very well begin a world war and throw the global economy into a tailspin.

Past presidents have understandably feared the North would retaliate in this way. But for some today, that fear is fading. John Plumb, a former director of defense policy and strategy for Obama’s National Security Council, told the Atlantic last month: “If I were the Trump administration, I would be looking at the threat to incinerate Seoul and trying to figure out how real it is. Because to me, it’s become such a catchphrase, and it almost — it starts to lose credibility. Attacking Seoul, a civilian population center, is different from attacking a remote military outpost. It’s dicey, there’s no doubt about it.”

Intelligence officials have said in recent months that this threat remains very real. While there are steps the U.S. can take to mitigate the problem, such as dropping cluster munitions on the big guns, it’s an imperfect and high-risk strategy. An attack on North Korea would be unpredictable and could unleash far worse on U.S. forces (which have been stationed in South Korea for more than 60 years), not to mention allies like Japan.

All of this gets back to Trump’s bluster. At this point we as Americans ought to expect more careful words from the president. At the same time, nothing Trump said was that different from the implicit threat against North Korea, or any power that threatens American cities with nuclear destruction.

Don’t get me wrong: There are few people on the planet more deserving of “fire and fury” than Kim Jong Un. But would such a strike even eliminate its nuclear program? How far is Trump willing to go? Will he order an invasion of North Korea to topple the regime? And if he does, would he commit the manpower, capital and time to stabilize the country once the Kim dynasty falls?

According to retired Admiral William Perry, Clinton’s second secretary of defense, the U.S. couldn’t even take out North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure with military strikes, given how much it has expanded in the last 20 years. What’s more, the price paid by South Koreans would be unacceptable. This is what he told a group of journalists this spring at an event sponsored by the Hoover Institution.

It’s possible that Trump is counting on his reputation as an impetuous novice — one who Kim just might fear would roll the dice by attacking North Korea. But Trump’s ultimatum allows the boy-tyrant in Pyongyang to test the president’s mettle. (Already the North Korean state media has threatened Guam.) We can expect more taunts and threats in the coming days, proving Trump’s threat was hollow. As hollow as past presidents’ pledges to do the same.

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Speculation News Gets Trumped 

From now on, I will only refer to “fake news” as speculation news because that’s what they only embrace: speculation, not the facts. Now these speculations could be eventually proven somewhat true, however I believe that this new term effectively describes how they mislead the American people. Anyhow, here’s my commentary for today… 

You hear that? It’s absolutely nothing. Complete silence. That silence is the Trump-Russia collusion “scandal” dying. A few weeks ago, all you heard was that Trump campaign officials had contacted Russians before and after November. But this was all a diversion. 

After Hillary’s humiliating loss in November, the left began smearing Trump as a Putin puppet because they couldn’t accept defeat. We heard the words “special prosecutor”, “treason”, and even “impeachment”. Now notice that the narrative is dead. Why? Because President Trump launched missiles at Syria, right on Russia’s doorstep. You don’t do that if you’re in cahoots with the Kremlin. 

So with the collusion theory up in smoke, guess what the Democrats have been reduced to. Here’s what Congressman Swalwell tweeted out to all of his random followers:

“Help me connect the #TrumpRussia dots. Submit your tips & we’ll follow the evidence & and post online”- CONGRESSMAN ERIC SWALWELL VIA HIS TWITTER ACCOUNT 

So Democrats are setting up an internet tip hotline? Congress has investigative powers and they’re asking Joe Smith from Arkansas to see if he has any tips. Obviously they have nothing. As if they wouldn’t think that anyone wouldn’t notice that they completely dropped the Trump-Russia thing, the left has now started a new anti-Trump narrative, that President Trump completely flipped his opinions on NATO and China from the campaign trail to now. 

Donald Trump campaigned on, and stills believes, that NATO members are not equally paying their contribution costs. Now, NATO member countries have begun ponying up more money. Also, with the Russian and Syrian conflicts going on, NATO needs to be as strong and as united as possible to be an absolute pain to Putin. With China, President Trump understands that a warmer relationship with China ices out Russia and to help control the North Korean conflict. 

In conclusion, pay close attention to the ever changing anti-Trump narratives that the media spews out, they reveal more about the media and less about the President. And also the media will always be in attack mode, but the key is to know their playbook: faking (and speculating) scandals, smearing, and using flip-flop allegations will be employed interchangeably throughout the news cycle. But President Trump, unlike most Republicans, doesn’t cave in when he’s attacked; so the media will continue to be steamrolled over and is left barely and desperately grasping for straws.

Donald Trump as the Commander-In-Chief 

The president’s job approval numbers are likely to go up because he took strong action against Syria after the tyrant Assad gassed his own people.

There are also a number of developments on the military front. U.S. warships are heading toward the Korean Peninsula because the nutty dictator of that country continues to test ballistic missiles in violation of international law. Also the two U.S. warships in the eastern Mediterranean continue to monitor Syria. There’s also an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, the George H.W. Bush. 

So you can see that President Trump and the Pentagon are sending signals that if world order is threatened, America will respond. It’s just a damn shame that we are the only country willing to take this stand. 

There is no reason for Russia to prop up Assad in Syria, the man is a war criminal. Also, China does not try to control the North Korea situation when it absolutely could. Staunch allies like Britain, Australia, Canada and France do help us out, but it’s on a limited basis. Unfortunately policing the world falls to America, with all the danger and expense that entails. President Trump would be wise to pick his spots. The attack on Syria worked and was approved by most in the world who care about protecting innocent people. 

Yes, Russia and Iran are now threatening the USA, but so what? Those countries have thrown in with the devil, and we cannot back away from their bluster. 

However, a confrontation with Russia is not what anybody needs, so President Trump would be wise to talk to Putin quietly and try to get the guy to wise up by helping his economy. Iran is truly a hopeless situation, but the mullahs do not want to commit suicide. How the nuke treaty will eventually play out is one of the great world mysteries. 

It is likely that North Korea will be the next problem we have to deal with. If they test a nuclear device again in violation of international law, something must be done. 

Can Donald Trump convince the Chinese to partner up with us against North Korea? That would end the problem and be good for world order and business. Again, it is a mystery why the Chinese will not exert their strength and influence on North Korea. 

Summing up, President Trump gained a measure of respect for his actions against Syria, the U.S. military is gearing up, but caution is the word.