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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Yep, It’s Definitely Donald Trump Who’s the Tyrant Here

Hitler. Mussolini. Stalin. Pol Pot. al-Assad. Hussein. Gaddafi. Franco. Kim Jong Il. Each one is considered a dictator, a tyrant who’s greed for power is only surpassed by their cruelty and inhumanity.

If you were to wade into the depths of #TheResistance on social media (which I don’t recommend), you’d also see a movement to brand Donald Trump a dictator and his administration a lawless tyranny over the nation.  To be sure, the Trump administration has done itself no favors is coming across as inept, overly ambitious and yet clearly out of its depth. They have said things that, yes, are frightening.

But let us be absolutely honest here. When it comes to tyranny in America, there is no tyranny except for that of the mob.

Social media is both a blessing and a curse. The instant communication of thoughts to the world allows for breaking news to break faster and hard-hitting news to hit harder. The downside is that it opens you and everyone you know and love up for ridicule, petition, and even expulsion from society.

Case in point, the lad from Google who wrote what is being called a “manifesto” opposing Google’s diversity policy. It seems that, virtually instantly, this person was the target of a mob whose sole purpose was to flush him out of The Collective.

It worked, too. Google fired the man (interestingly, a new social media platform called “Gab”, which touts itself as an ad-free, free speech platform, offered to hire him), and the Left was delighted that the wrongspeak was punished.

This is not the first time, however, that someone’s livelihood was destroyed over thinking or believing the “wrong” thing. We’ve covered countless times the bakers, photographers, and other business people whose lives were ruined and their businesses shuttered because they dared to not conform with the Left’s ideology.

“But Mr. Reagan Conservative,” some on the Left might cry, “this isn’t tyranny because mobs aren’t the government.” If you think that, you are wrong. It is with the help of the courts that these attacks on private businesses have flourished. It is the politicians who speak out and encourage this behavior that ruins the lives of people whose only crime is thoughtcrime.

For another example, take Chelsea Handler, the so-called comedienne who actually suggested we criminalize speech.

Where, exactly, does this type of legislation begin and where does it end? By the Left’s standards, virtually everything is racist, so that means if you laugh at something someone else deems is racist, you’re going to (at best) be fined. This is an actual proposal from someone who thinks there is no problem with criminalizing what someone finds funny. There is no end to this slippery slope, either.

Or take the case of Dana Loesch, who is under attack from journalists and Leftists because she appeared in an NRA video ad and says she wants to fact-check the media. The number of people who want to silence her by reporting her to the feds, threatening her husband and her children, and making graphic, sexual threats to and about her is appalling.

But this is the new norm. This is the world we live in now. We have to deal with the tyranny of the mob before we can move on to the tyranny of any White House occupant.

So, forgive me when someone calls Donald Trump a fascist dictator with one breath and turns around to advocate banning speech because they don’t like it.

 

Without Trump, Pritzker and Emanuel Would be Lonely, Sad and a bit Lost

As a resident of Illinois, I’m also involved and interested in state politics. As I’ve said before, I usually do not write that much about state politics, I usually focus on the nation as a whole; this will be one of my last post about Illinois politics, unless something worth writing about occurs.


What would Illinois Democrats do without President Donald Trump?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and billionaire J.B. Pritzker — the choice of boss Democrats for governor — spend their time talking and talking and talking about Trump.

With J.B. and Rahm it’s Trump this and Trump that. And they speak in excited, fearful and outraged tones.

If we were living in Neanderthal times, Rahm and J.B. would gather us around the campfire, pointing their fingers into the darkness at some demon spirit, and smile, thinly, as we huddled close to them for protection.

But these are modern times. Politicians don’t tell stories around the campfire. They use media.

Still, where would they be without Trump?

They’d be devastated, lost and lonely and afraid without Trump, because Trump is his own gift to them.

Because without Trump, they might have to address what’s been going on in Chicago and Illinois — from blood constantly flowing in the city’s streets to corruption and chronically bad schools, and even those idiotic Pritzker mystery toilets.

If you were in their shoes, would you want to talk about City Hall’s failure to stop the bloody gang wars or the failure to effectively address black unemployment?

Would you like questions about whether you used union plumbers to rip out the toilets of a building next to your mansion, so the toilet-less home could be termed “uninhabitable” and you’d get a nice property tax break?

If you were Rahm and J.B., would you like to talk about Democratic Boss Mike Madigan and the game of chicken he’s playing with Illinois schoolchildren and suburban taxpayers?

Or the $500 million Chicago Public Schools just borrowed that will cost an additional $850 million in interest payments?

If you were Rahm or J.B., or most any Democrat running, would you want to talk about Boss Madigan?

And just what would Pritzker say, exactly? That he can’t wait to be elected governor to do Madigan’s bidding, like some eager-to-please billionaire Mr. Belvedere?

It’s likely they really don’t like Trump. It’s also possible that you can’t stand him either.

Or, perhaps you do like him. Or perhaps you like some of his policies — like the appointment of a conservative to the Supreme Court with the promise of more to come — but you loathe all that vulgar Fifth Avenue Hillbillies drama in the White House.

But if you are a true student of politics, you’ll put aside tribal feelings and realize that Trump’s presence in the White House, his stupid tweets, and the things he says and how he says them, all give nourishment to Illinois Democrats like Emanuel and Pritzker.

And lately they’ve been trying to tie him to Gov. Bruce Rauner, even though Rauner doesn’t much like Trump.

But the Trump outrage is an easy story to tell and write, too, even if we’re not huddled around a campfire, fearful of a demon in the dark.

It’s much easier than talking about what decades of Chicago Democratic rule have done to the city and the state.

“I’m proud to be part of the resistance,” Pritzker announced the other day, standing in front of Trump Tower, which is to Democrats what Stonehenge must have been to wizards with blue face paint back in the day.

“When I’m governor, we’re not going to be silent like Bruce Rauner,” Pritzker said. “Illinois will be a firewall against Donald Trump’s destructive and bigoted agenda.”

“He is his own worst enemy,” Emanuel said of Trump, reaching into his pouch to slap a dab of Trump on Rauner. “I actually don’t think it’s an accident — since people say, ‘Oh we need a businessman’ — they don’t understand politics, and we see it in our governor’s office.”

So what we really need are powerful Chicago Democrats who’ve spent decades running the city and the state into the ground?

Don’t we already have that?

What is obvious is that Rahm and Pritzker and the other Democrats are good at taking their shiny Trumpian rattle and shaking it, furiously.

They focus our attention on the demon, to distract us. But from what?

How about the more than 2,220 shooting victims in Chicago through Aug. 2, and the more than 410 homicides so far ths year, most of them coming in the bloody gang wars that City Hall has no answer for? And violent crimes on the CTA that remain unsolved?

And black unemployment? Why talk of that, when it’s much easier, at least politically, for Democrats, to embrace Latinos, including immigrants who are here illegally. That is why Emanuel has now become desperate, seeking re-election.

Black unemployment in Illinois is the highest in the nation. And the share of 20- to 24-year-old African-American men who are neither working nor in school is 43 percent, according to a report presented in January by the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

President Barack Obama from Chicago — not Trump — was in power for eight years as many of those young men were jailed or shot down in the gang wars. And what was done?

And the Chicago Public Schools that didn’t prepare them for work has a long history of mismanagement, corruption and fiscal failure under the Democrats of Chicago.

But Emanuel and Pritzker don’t want the conversation to get awkward. So they control it, with helpers to shape the debate.

It’s so much easier to talk about Trump, isn’t it?

Why Do They Keep Losing? (the Democrats, I mean)

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Despite spending millions and millions of dollars, the Democrats still lost in Georgia’s 6th District.

You could see the pain on their faces: they thought they had this one.

But they didn’t.

Here’s why.

Let’s return to the shooting of Steve Scalise – or rather, the liberal reaction to it.

On MSNBC, and its twin sister, the campus lounge – we saw a ghoulish reiteration of one sad take:  the shooting wasn’t entirely unjustified. In fact, given Scalise’s voting record, it all makes sense!  Joy Reid rushed to point out the victim’s past, Hollywood trolls like George Takei echoed her assumptions, and a Connecticut professor actually thought it a mistake that a black officer helped save white people’s lives.

Johnny Eric Williams, a sociology professor from Trinity College, posted on Facebook a number of declarations, including that blacks shouldn’t help white people when they’re in danger. As Campus Reform reports, he wrote, “The time is now to confront these inhuman a**holes and end this now.” He was referring to whites.

How does this relate to the election? Good question. I’m getting there.

Such harmful and destructive comments do not impact the election directly, but create a detour from a winning strategy. Imagine you’re driving to work, and your car decides, independently, to go in the wrong direction, taking you further and further away from your destination.  For Democrats, that car is identity politics, and it’s taking their party further and further from a place where they might still resonate with the rest of America.

It’s steering the party down a destructive path that makes any correction or improvement impossible.

Today, more people are seeing the wrath of identity politics up close. It’s getting more coverage, and receiving more mockery.  Take for example, the identity cultists at Evergreen College who ran a professor out of town because he objected to their acceptable anti-Caucasian racism. Even liberals were shaken up by this. For a laugh, google “President of Evergreen College George Sumner Bridges” and click on the videos of him kowtowing to students – some of whom held him captive during the ordeal, even accompanying him to the bathroom.

Identity activists pretend to seek rights for the “collective,” but each day they become more like hardened fascists who desire a race and/or religion war.

The destructive impulse of young so-called minds is a tedious, immature one, which is why it’s so disgusting to see academics indulging it.  Instead of challenging the unformed and uninformed minds, teachers feed into their hysterical, unbending desires, resulting in a new world where life experience takes a back seat to identity.

The campus is now a place where the wisdom of a man or woman with a decade of military experience, plus another decade in the work world, takes a back seat to the infantile blathering of a 17-year-old with a nose ring. A self-indulgent whiner with no real challenges in life gets more respect than people who make things, defend things, value things.

In normal life, if a college freshman rejected civil discourse, got in your face and told you to shut up, he would be suspended, perhaps expelled. Now they are applauded, and allowed to harass another day. The campuses are under new management: the mob.

Because campus administrators have long ago abdicated their responsibilities in challenging bad ideas, those bad ideas graduate along with the students, spilling into the real world. The graduate, still angry and self-obsessed, can do nothing but spout bumper sticker slogans and blame everyone for everything.

No one will hire that.

So, their only refuge is either to return to school, or to enter political activism as a vocation – and perpetuate their non-productivity. As a result, campuses and political bodies become even more strident and intolerant, infecting all.

Which is why the Democratic Party is in trouble. For the last four decades they’ve bought the myth that America is the actual problem, and that the solution is to replace a single identity (American), with hundreds of sparring tribes. Now they must feed those tribes.

So when a party stands for nothing but envy, anger and retribution – how long before people decide it’s enough? If the Democratic Party were an actual party, their punch bowl has been spiked with rat poison.  Until they drain that bowl, the party’s candidates will continue to drop like flies.