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  #751  
Old 02-28-2019, 01:58 PM
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Shirley, you meant to say "running dog"?
The fat orange dog doesn't run. He barely walks.
  #752  
Old 02-28-2019, 02:06 PM
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I'm curious to know how the Kim regime views Trump's political position and how he perceives his value as a counterpart going forward.
I expect that as Trump's position weakens. the Kim regime's propaganda will shift (perhaps quite suddenly) from relatively polite and respectful to full-bore mockery of the "American running-dog leader" who was completely dominated and outwitted by the Grand High Supreme Leader.
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  #753  
Old 02-28-2019, 02:11 PM
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Shirley, you meant to say "running dog"?
I'm the setup guy. It's up to someone else to deliver. Burns to your Allen, iow.
  #754  
Old 02-28-2019, 02:15 PM
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The fat orange dog doesn't run. He barely walks.
He can manage walking most of the time. Cite.
  #755  
Old 02-28-2019, 02:21 PM
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He can manage walking most of the time. Cite.
I was thinking of his penchant for using golfs carts while other world leaders walk, or driving one across the greens on his golf courses.

I'm surprised he doesn't insist on an escalator for boarding Air Force One. He could avoid that small bit of exercise, and the TP would not have been visible.
  #756  
Old 02-28-2019, 02:21 PM
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I expect that as Trump's position weakens. the Kim regime's propaganda will shift (perhaps quite suddenly) from relatively polite and respectful to full-bore mockery of the "American running-dog leader" who was completely dominated and outwitted by the Grand High Supreme Leader.
A shorter term goal might be to drive a political wedge between South Korea and the United States. In this case, it wasn't Kim Jung Un who walked away from the negotiating table; it was Trump.
  #757  
Old 02-28-2019, 02:24 PM
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I cannot help but think Trump was going to be OK with any outcome of this meeting. Agreement reached - yay, see how I am the bestest negotiator?! No agreement reached - yay, now I can say that I should stay in office to continue the work we are doing with Kim, because if I am impeached and thrown out, North Korea will attack!

Last edited by snowthx; 02-28-2019 at 02:24 PM.
  #758  
Old 02-28-2019, 02:27 PM
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I've seen the insult "running dog" more times than I can count and have never understood it - what is so much more insulting about a "running dog" than just...."a dog?"
  #759  
Old 02-28-2019, 02:48 PM
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Ask the Chinese Communists.
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Running dog is a pejorative term for an unprincipled person who helps or flatters those more powerful and often evil. It is a literal translation of the Chinese pejorative 走狗 (Chinese: zǒu gǒu), meaning a yes-man or lackey, and is derived from the tendency of dogs to follow after humans in hopes of receiving food scraps. Historian Yuan-tsung Chen notes that while "In the West, a dog is a man's best friend; but in China, dogs are abject creatures. In Chinese, no idiomatic expression was more demeaning than the term 'running dogs.'"[1]

Historian Chang-tai Hung says the term "imperialist running dog" (diguozhuyi de zougou)[2] was used to invoke negative mental imagery; "The image of...a running dog parallels that of the United States as a wolf. Both bestial representations provide convenient and familiar symbols that political artists can target, but they also validate the use of violence since the annihilation of beasts is justified. ...[The representations of enemies as beasts such as running dogs or rats] call to mind repulsive creatures that inflict damage on the nation."[2]
  #760  
Old 02-28-2019, 03:02 PM
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Ah thanks.
  #761  
Old 03-01-2019, 03:46 PM
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The talks have collapsed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/w...am-summit.html

I can't say I'm surprised, and as I mentioned earlier in this thread (and in others), the sticking point is sanctions on North Korea and the complete dismantling of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

There has to be an intermediate solution that both sides are willing to accept. We have to be willing to accept NK as a member of the nuclear club and we have to be willing to offer some concessions on sanctions - which won't be easy because Japan will have something to say about this as well.

In exchange, North Korea needs to accept a freeze to its missile and nuclear weapons programs, and it must allow UN inspections unfettered access 24 hours a day any time they want. Even that concession is going to be hard because it's not the nature of a totalitarian thug to agree to such concessions in practicum (remember Saddam Hussein, for instance).

My personal disdain for Trump aside, his unique position in American politics arguably positioned him uniquely to be someone who might actually have an opportunity at getting some traction in dealing with North Korea. Trump's not accountable or tethered to status quo politics, which is an opportunity for change. Unfortunately, I think having Bolton (and perhaps Pompeo as well, but especially Bolton) means that the US is probably going to make offering a 'middle ground' possible, and I think a middle ground is the only real way out of this impasse for the time being.
You meant "impossible" I presume?


As I said back in June: (note contemporaneous bolding)

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Pretty clear what the supposed roadmap is. Turn down the military heat to a simmer (mostly in ways that allows the US to scale down military expenditures and deployments, natch) and dangle economic inducements offered by SK, Japan & China (not US, natch), hoping that the prospect of all those will convince NK to disarm as a prerequisite to begin receiving those inducements.

The obvious sticking point will be when Kim starts making small gestures towards disarmament, but will be hesitant to go full CVID, with all that entails. It will then become a long, drawn-out game to see how many inducements they can get upfront, before full CVID is achieved.

It could work, but the timetable is unlikely to be to Trump's liking. I'd be surprised if full, credible CVID is achieved within Trump's lifetime with that kind of approach. It's basically setup to encourage delaying tactics and foot-dragging, until one or more of the parties has had enough.

And as Trump said back in June:
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No. I think he will do it. I really believe it. It was really the engine testing site in addition to all of the other things that they agreed to do. They have a powerful engine testing site. Again, weíre able to see because of the heat it emits. Iím able to ó Iím very happy with those two points. The two points you mentioned. You may be referring to the thing not in. The engine testing site. I think he will do these things. I may be wrong. I may stand before you in six months and say, hey, I was wrong. I donít know Iíll ever admit that. Iíll find some excuse.

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Old 03-01-2019, 04:14 PM
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I knew I originally wanted to make another point in my post above, but it just came back to me upon reread...


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We have to be willing to accept NK as a member of the nuclear club...
Wait, wut?


That's not how any of this works! Kicking them out of the nuclear club is the whole point of this all, otherwise Japan, SK and others will want to join, too. You simply can't expect the world to regularly feed your people while you spend your resources building weapon systems which will make future threats more effective. You think we should lessen sanctions AND accept the nukes permanently?!
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:17 PM
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You meant "impossible" I presume?
Yes, correct - sorry.
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:22 PM
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I knew I originally wanted to make another point in my post above, but it just came back to me upon reread...


Wait, wut?


That's not how any of this works! Kicking them out of the nuclear club is the whole point of this all, otherwise Japan, SK and others will want to join, too. You simply can't expect the world to regularly feed your people while you spend your resources building weapon systems which will make future threats more effective. You think we should lessen sanctions AND accept the nukes permanently?!
As long as the current regime is in power, I don't see how we force them to give up their nuclear weapons. Kim has no incentive to give them up and every incentive to keep them.

His deal is this: lift some sanctions just enough so that his regime isn't feeling the pressure, and he'll stop building missiles, building nukes, and shooting missiles over Japan and threatening to blow up the Korean peninsula. He might give Trump more time to reconsider, but that won't always be the case.
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:35 PM
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As long as the current regime is in power, I don't see how we force them to give up their nuclear weapons. Kim has no incentive to give them up and every incentive to keep them.

His deal is this: lift some sanctions just enough so that his regime isn't feeling the pressure, and he'll stop building missiles, building nukes, and shooting missiles over Japan and threatening to blow up the Korean peninsula. He might give Trump more time to reconsider, but that won't always be the case.
Well, I know what Kim wants, and it is a conundrum, to be sure. But you think Trump/we should just give him what he wants?!


As for incentives, there are innumerable incentives on the table. I've never expressed any confidence that they would ever work, but they are there and can't be denied. Shit, not least among the incentives would be sharing a Nobel prize with his best pal and living in peace and prosperity in a reunified Korea happily ever after.
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:08 PM
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Well, I know what Kim wants, and it is a conundrum, to be sure. But you think Trump/we should just give him what he wants?!
In the short-term, we take incremental steps toward a longer term goal of possible denuclearization. We lift sanctions to ease pressure on the regime and to allow food and energy to go into the country on a limited scale. In turn, they must declare all military facilities that are involved in missile and nuclear weapons production and allow international inspectors.

I would also much rather see multilateral talks than bilateral, which is partly why I have suspected all along that Kim is just using this as an opportunity to dislodge the United States from East Asian politics. If that's the case, then we could become politically irrelevant - or much less so - before the process of denuclearization ever has a chance to be completed.
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:30 PM
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In the short-term, we take incremental steps toward a longer term goal of possible denuclearization. We lift sanctions to ease pressure on the regime and to allow food and energy to go into the country on a limited scale. In turn, they must declare all military facilities that are involved in missile and nuclear weapons production and allow international inspectors.

I would also much rather see multilateral talks than bilateral, which is partly why I have suspected all along that Kim is just using this as an opportunity to dislodge the United States from East Asian politics. If that's the case, then we could become politically irrelevant - or much less so - before the process of denuclearization ever has a chance to be completed.
No. Just...no. The last thing we want to do, now, is take the pressure off of the NKs without real, solid and substantial concessions on their part. And they aren't giving them so far. This is exactly what I thought Trump was going to do, basically make a really, really bad deal because it would shift public attention and appease those who think like you seem too. If the NK's agree to disarm completely wrt nuclear weapons and agree to halt all ballistic missile testing, THEN we can talk about taking the pressure off...once we put in place some sort of verification system to ensure they have, in fact, done what they said they would. I'd also want some sort of automatic sanctions that go back into place if they violate any of their agreements.

As far as I know, multi-lateral talks have gotten us exactly as far as these bi-lateral ones have, and my expectation is that this would remain the same regardless. Until and unless North Korea knows...knows for a fact...that the only way they are going to get anything is to give up their nukes, it won't matter if it's the US, China, Japan, South Korea and Zimbabwe for that matter, or just the US. China won't apply the pressure they could, and NK won't care about the rest, as long as it thinks that it can have it's cake and eat it too.

This is the one time Trump did something right...by doing nothing at all. I wish he'd do more nothing, maybe do nothing for the rest of his term. It would be a great benefit to us all...
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  #768  
Old 03-01-2019, 05:54 PM
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As has been said before, the talks only "collapsed" from the US's point of view. For Korea, it was a smashing success, when their leader forced the President of the United States of America to meet him in Vietnam so Jong could say "Thank u, next" to Trump, causing the US Presidential Delegation to flee Vietnam with Trump's tail between his legs.

You know. Like a dog.
Yeah, for the second time, a US president was forced to retreat form Vietnam. The only difference is, is that this time, it was North Korea that beat us.
  #769  
Old 03-01-2019, 10:50 PM
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No. Just...no. The last thing we want to do, now, is take the pressure off of the NKs without real, solid and substantial concessions on their part. And they aren't giving them so far. This is exactly what I thought Trump was going to do, basically make a really, really bad deal because it would shift public attention and appease those who think like you seem too. If the NK's agree to disarm completely wrt nuclear weapons and agree to halt all ballistic missile testing, THEN we can talk about taking the pressure off...once we put in place some sort of verification system to ensure they have, in fact, done what they said they would. I'd also want some sort of automatic sanctions that go back into place if they violate any of their agreements.
Let's rewind the videotape. About 12-15 months ago, Kim Jung Un was firing missiles over Japanese airspace and well on his way to building a pretty respectable nuclear stockpile. Right now, by all estimates, he has considerably slowed, if not stopped, production of missiles and nukes. He still has the ones he produced before, but so what?

You don't understand how this works: there is no way that North Korea will agree to disarm before sanctions are taken off the table. That assumption demonstrates that you clearly don't understand how he thinks. Kim Jung Un has a 50/50 chance of being able to lob a missile or two toward the United States and destroying Los Angeles and San Francisco. If the U.S. does anything to threaten his regime, war is on the table. And what he wants us to understand is that war could have consequences.

Sorry, but you don't understand how this works

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  #770  
Old 03-02-2019, 09:15 AM
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Please show your work on the calculation of that probability.
  #771  
Old 03-02-2019, 09:37 AM
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It's unfortunate that the summit didn't go well, but it's not surprising. The USA was showing signs of being very deluded about what North Korea was putting on the table. And maybe the USA's wishes were reasonable, but the summit shouldn't have happened if the American negotiators hadn't bothered to, like, read what North Korea was saying very consistently.

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Right now, by all estimates, he has considerably slowed, if not stopped, production of missiles and nukes.
North Korea has stopped testing them, but they're probably still producing them.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 03-02-2019 at 09:40 AM.
  #772  
Old 03-02-2019, 03:03 PM
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Let's rewind the videotape. About 12-15 months ago, Kim Jung Un was firing missiles over Japanese airspace and well on his way to building a pretty respectable nuclear stockpile. Right now, by all estimates, he has considerably slowed, if not stopped, production of missiles and nukes. He still has the ones he produced before, but so what?

You don't understand how this works: there is no way that North Korea will agree to disarm before sanctions are taken off the table. That assumption demonstrates that you clearly don't understand how he thinks. Kim Jung Un has a 50/50 chance of being able to lob a missile or two toward the United States and destroying Los Angeles and San Francisco. If the U.S. does anything to threaten his regime, war is on the table. And what he wants us to understand is that war could have consequences.

Sorry, but you don't understand how this works
Building nukes is a pretty expensive process. NK would like nothing more than to stop dumping money down the proliferation hole, but they cannot and will not, as long as there is any threat of war against them.

Nukes prevent invasion, as you can either use them on your own territory against the invaders (something that very little in the international community would condemn you for), or should your regime be in danger of being overtaken, you can use them as retaliation against the home of the countries that are at war with you.

So, yeah, if the US is toppling the regime, then they may well do what they can with the weapons they have. We don't fully know the capabilities of the missles, but it is actually unlikely that they would "destroy" LA, even if they hit, they would only take out a square mile or two, not the whole of the city, and the probability of them even hitting is rather slim as well. Chances are much higher that a dolphin is bonked in the head as the missile falls well short and sinks into the ocean.

However, launching their nukes is essentially suicide, and would only be used as a last ditch. I personally do not think that we should retaliate in kind, being that conventional weapons are more then enough to completely destroy the military and govt of NK, but we probably will use them and utterly fuck up the entire country.

They will not launch them unprovoked, they will not launch them because negotiations are breaking down, they will not launch them for "anything" the U.S. does to threaten his regime, but only in response to the actual dissolution of his government.

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  #773  
Old 03-05-2019, 10:41 PM
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https://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/70055...cket-test-site

As expected, Kim is going back to putting pressure on the US.

Don't expect China to help enforce sanctions this time around. The US wanted direct face-to-face talks? Well that's what it got.

The real takeaway from this is that Trump can't negotiate for shit. He's good at "negotiating" when he has the leverage to walk away, but when it comes to presidentin' he's too fucking stupid to realize when walking away won't work.
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Old 03-06-2019, 10:30 AM
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Is there even any evidence that North Korea is capable of putting a nuclear warhead on a missile? Or capable of delivering one in any means short of a ship?
  #775  
Old 03-06-2019, 11:09 AM
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I move we either close this thread or at least severely re-title it. The OP has been debunked more times than the Loch Ness Monster. Now it hangs out in the forum like a dirty gym sock in the J. Paul Getty Museum.
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  #776  
Old 03-06-2019, 11:14 AM
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The author of the OP has also been booted, possibly multiple times, but it's worth having an ongoing discussion of the NK situation. I wouldn't mind a change to a more accurate and generic title though (e.g. "US-NK missile negotiations thread").
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Old 03-06-2019, 11:21 AM
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i move we either close this thread or at least severely re-title it. The op has been debunked more times than the loch ness monster. Now it hangs out in the forum like a dirty gym sock in the j. Paul getty museum.
This post makes 8-year old me all sorts of sadz. COME BACK, NESSIE! I STILL BELIEVE!

(And, no, I think the title... combined with thread starter (which, I assume, cannot be changed)... is *perfect*.)

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  #778  
Old 03-06-2019, 01:19 PM
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I move we either close this thread or at least severely re-title it. The OP has been debunked more times than the Loch Ness Monster. Now it hangs out in the forum like a dirty gym sock in the J. Paul Getty Museum.
I like the title. Like fine spirits, it grows ever more delicious with age.
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Old 03-06-2019, 01:43 PM
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I vote we just add '(LOL!)' to the end of the title and call it a day.

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Old 03-06-2019, 02:13 PM
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I would laugh except for the fact that Donald Trump's ego and John Bolton's delusional bellicosity make for an extremely dangerous foreign policy cocktail.
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Old 03-06-2019, 02:18 PM
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I vote we just add '(LOL!)' to the end of the title and call it a day.


"Narrator: In fact, neither of these things occurred."
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Old 03-06-2019, 02:46 PM
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https://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/70055...cket-test-site

As expected, Kim is going back to putting pressure on the US.

Don't expect China to help enforce sanctions this time around. The US wanted direct face-to-face talks? Well that's what it got.

The real takeaway from this is that Trump can't negotiate for shit. He's good at "negotiating" when he has the leverage to walk away, but when it comes to presidentin' he's too fucking stupid to realize when walking away won't work.
You have an odd way of looking at this. First off, your article says that there is evidence they are putting a site back together. That's a bit different from the norm of before this cluster fuck where they were tossing weapons over Japan every few months. Even if we get back to that, which we haven't yet, I'm not seeing how this puts pressure on the US per se...sounds more like they will be resigned to crushing sanctions at that point and going back to doing exactly what they were doing before, but in an even weaker position.

Secondly, I DO expect China to...well, perhaps not perfectly enforce, since they never have done that anyway...but to at least make noised about enforcing them, since regardless of their trade war with the US, they put themselves on the hook officially on this with their vote at the UN. In addition, and contrary to what you seem to believe, they NEED the US to halt further trade tariffs, which we could still do at this point, and roll back the ones we have done, so they aren't going to switch directions on what they have been doing. Hell, this is one of the few times I think Trump is actually playing this the right way wrt playing North Korea against China and playing China against North Korea. Both countries want something from the US, in fact they both need something...badly. It's exactly the position to negotiate from, especially since they both need something different but related. China needs, absolutely, no more tariffs and, really, an end to the trade war. North Korea needs the sanctions lifted or, at a minimum lessened, regardless of what China does or doesn't do wrt their under the table breaking of the sanctions from their side. Whatever China is doing currently, it's less than they were before they went along with the UN sanctions, and they can't shift that without losing face AND the potential for Trump et al to slap even more tariffs on them and extend the trade war even further. Yeah, it's hurting the US...but it's hurting China a hell of a lot more at this point.

I'm not saying Trump is a genius or that his ridiculous art of the deal is some sort of holy writ, but your interpretation of things is weird from my perspective. Is North Korea trying to put some pressure back on the US to gain some leverage in future negotiations? Yeah...militantly unsurprisingly they are. And if appearing to rebuild their missile testing site is what it takes, that's cheap at any price. When they start firing rockets again, THEN I think we'll have a good case that the negotiating tactic ultimately failed. But, frankly, this was trying something we hadn't tried before, and the negotiating tactics we used in the past, through several different administrations from both major parties were dismal failures, so I'd say fuck it....at least we tried something else. The definition of crazy, to paraphrase, is to try the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Trump is an asshole, and has done vanishingly little good or right, but this...I can at least see that it's not the same old same old, and there is some plausible reasons and rationale as well as logic behind giving it a try.
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  #783  
Old 03-06-2019, 04:44 PM
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Let's rewind the videotape. About 12-15 months ago, Kim Jung Un was firing missiles over Japanese airspace and well on his way to building a pretty respectable nuclear stockpile. Right now, by all estimates, he has considerably slowed, if not stopped, production of missiles and nukes. He still has the ones he produced before, but so what?

You don't understand how this works: there is no way that North Korea will agree to disarm before sanctions are taken off the table. That assumption demonstrates that you clearly don't understand how he thinks. Kim Jung Un has a 50/50 chance of being able to lob a missile or two toward the United States and destroying Los Angeles and San Francisco. If the U.S. does anything to threaten his regime, war is on the table. And what he wants us to understand is that war could have consequences.

Sorry, but you don't understand how this works
Ah, I missed this earlier. I think I do understand how this works, a hell of a lot better than you seem too. So, let's rewind as you say. Preceding those 12-15 months, NK was increasingly aggressive with their missile testing and nuclear weapons tests. Since we started this little dance, they have scaled those back. Not only that, but China was brought on board, for the first time, with actual sanctions...sanctions it signed on to officially and in the open via the UN. So, at a minimum, we have accomplished a huge amount compared to the dick all we accomplished in the past with Democratic or Republican administrations. Even if lil' Kimmy 3.0 decides to go back to his evil ways and starts tossing missiles about or testing new bombs we gained 12-15 months...time where North Korea was weakened further economically due to the sanctions.

As to disarming, I never said that this was likely. That's you putting words in my mouth that you thought I said. I don't expect them to offer to get rid of the things completely. But that's what we should hold them too. MY expectations, since I DO know how this works, is that the sanctions will continue in place until there is a regime change. The reason for this is that it continues to sap the North Koreans, especially with the Chinese at least officially and nominally committed to sanctions as well (they always have ignored that under the table, but that means it IS under the table, and they can't do what they did before as openly to prop up the regime). The North Koreans are basically between a rock and a hard place, and giving them an inch at this point allows them breathing room which we can't afford. Basically, it's going to come down to whether the regime can hold on long enough for Trump et al to be out, and hopefully the next administration to change it's mind to take the pressure off, or whether the NK communist party folds. There really is no other path. The NKs CAN'T change...if they give in, or open up, they won't survive. As I've said in other threads, the CCP isn't a sure bet that THEY will survive, with even the limited amount they have had to open up to gain the economic benefits they have. The NKs? No chance.

As to your scary 50/50 thingy there, it's total horseshit. Oh, sure, NK COULD, in theory, toss a missile at the US. It's a lot less than 50/50 that it actually would destroy 'Los Angeles and San Francisco', but it's not zero. What is zero is the chances that NK could survive even the attempt. You look at things very oddly, as I said...you seem to see the potential threat of NK doing something, but don't see the other side of that, which is that it's like saying a sickly child could stab this armored knight over here in the foot. That would definitely hurt the knight and suck...but the ramifications towards the child are pretty ghastly, especially since the child can't run away, and the knight isn't exactly known for his restraint when attacked.

Currently and at this time, the US is in the drivers seat wrt this situation. As I said in the other post, China wants something badly from the US. North Korea does as well. And the US has been able to play both against the other, to a degree, and get both to work on the other. China doesn't want to lose it's chance at getting Trump et al to stop this stupid trade war...they NEED the US to stop. More importantly, they need the US to not increase tariffs any more and THEN stop them down the road. As long as that carrot is out there, China is not going to shake things up wrt NK, and they are going to apply pressure on NK to play right. Part of China's offer to let lil' Kimmy use his shinny train to go to the latest meeting was for China to be able to have him observe some of the best parts of China, to show him both Chinese power but also to show him what potential there is for him and NK economically. For NK's part, they need the US to lift the sanctions...not because of US to NK trade, but because if the US does it, that will allow everyone else too as well (including China). They need that...badly. So, while they might bluster and make a show of restarting their missile testing facilities, I don't expect them to actually go back to tossing missiles like they were or setting off nukes for 'testing' like they were. I expect them to make a show of putting the pieces back in place, and maybe doing some testing, but not on the scale they were.

From our perspective, frankly, even if they DO go back to what they were doing we gained in this, as they are in a weaker position, and weakening all the time. Their infrastructure is falling apart, their military equipment is aging, they don't have the funds or open access to technology they did, and the clock is ticking.

Basically, it's you who doesn't seem to understand how this actually works...or to grasp that what we were doing in the past, which you seem to be advocating, didn't work. Ever. It propped up an evil regime, giving it breathing room and resources that it used to try and leverage the situation further. Now, we've allowed the monster to grow to the point where they could be a threat...but not an existential threat. Not to us, not to South Korea, not to Japan. But if they make that threat a reality, it WILL be an existential one for them.
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  #784  
Old 03-07-2019, 12:32 AM
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Ah, I missed this earlier. I think I do understand how this works, a hell of a lot better than you seem too. So, let's rewind as you say. Preceding those 12-15 months, NK was increasingly aggressive with their missile testing and nuclear weapons tests. Since we started this little dance, they have scaled those back.
Yeah NK tested the exact same number of warheads that India tested, and then they stopped. Know why? Because the tests worked. NK now has fully fusion-boosted weapons. So now let's resume your pseudo-intellectual wankoff, how does this play out in your mind?
  #785  
Old 03-07-2019, 06:32 AM
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North Korea, clebrating the release of their newest state propaganda video, thank Trump the fool, statesman?, sucker for the footage.
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/...ong-un-1209105

The documentary shows a smiling Kim talking with Trump while walking together inside a Hanoi hotel last week.
It shows Kimís black limousine passing through a Hanoi street lined with residents waving flags. The footage also shows Kim visiting the North Korean Embassy where some skipped and wept with emotions before they took a group photo with the backdrop of a huge picture of Kimís late father and grandfather.
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Old 03-07-2019, 09:54 AM
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That last paragraph was quoted from the article, but I failed to add quotes around the pasted text.
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Old 03-07-2019, 11:52 AM
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Ah, I missed this earlier. I think I do understand how this works, a hell of a lot better than you seem too. So, let's rewind as you say. Preceding those 12-15 months, NK was increasingly aggressive with their missile testing and nuclear weapons tests. Since we started this little dance, they have scaled those back. Not only that, but China was brought on board, for the first time, with actual sanctions...sanctions it signed on to officially and in the open via the UN. So, at a minimum, we have accomplished a huge amount compared to the dick all we accomplished in the past with Democratic or Republican administrations. Even if lil' Kimmy 3.0 decides to go back to his evil ways and starts tossing missiles about or testing new bombs we gained 12-15 months...time where North Korea was weakened further economically due to the sanctions.
Right, but when did North Korea stop testing missiles and developing it's nuclear program? What happened before they started their little detente? I don't disagree that sanctions were putting pressure on the North Korean regime, but that was manifest not simply by their coming to the negotiating table, but rather by the rapidity and the urgency with which they continued to develop their advanced weapons capabilities.

I don't disagree that sanctions were putting the squeeze to North Korea and that they wanted to see if there was a way they could seek some measure of diplomacy out of us. And particularly with Trump's tendencies to ignore the foreign policy wonk establishment, they felt they were probably in a unique position to reach achieve something, even if only symbolically and temporarily. But what your analysis seems to overlook is that this moment was only going to be 'right' in the North Korean mind when they felt like they had some credible leverage to bring to the talks. And that only happened once they got their weapons tested. Kim's demands are still the same: the sanctions have to be removed before this process can go any further. And that's because sanctions are a clear and present danger to his regime.

The other problem we have now is our little trade war with China has basically taken away incentives for China to comply with sanctions. That's not to say that China wants to see North Korea become the Pakistan of East Asia, but there's really not much they can do at this point beyond occasionally putting economic pressure on North Korea whenever they feel that they're destabilizing the region. There's already evidence that lower fuel prices in North Korea are the result of China's assistance.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/N-...pite-sanctions

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Originally Posted by XT View Post
MY expectations, since I DO know how this works, is that the sanctions will continue in place until there is a regime change. The reason for this is that it continues to sap the North Koreans, especially with the Chinese at least officially and nominally committed to sanctions as well (they always have ignored that under the table, but that means it IS under the table, and they can't do what they did before as openly to prop up the regime).
See the link above.

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The North Koreans are basically between a rock and a hard place, and giving them an inch at this point allows them breathing room which we can't afford. Basically, it's going to come down to whether the regime can hold on long enough for Trump et al to be out, and hopefully the next administration to change it's mind to take the pressure off, or whether the NK communist party folds. There really is no other path. The NKs CAN'T change...if they give in, or open up, they won't survive. As I've said in other threads, the CCP isn't a sure bet that THEY will survive, with even the limited amount they have had to open up to gain the economic benefits they have. The NKs? No chance.
You say this without a shred of evidence that regime change is even a remote possibility at this point. But assuming there's a regime change, what would replace it, exactly? Libertarian democracy?

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As to your scary 50/50 thingy there, it's total horseshit. Oh, sure, NK COULD, in theory, toss a missile at the US. It's a lot less than 50/50 that it actually would destroy 'Los Angeles and San Francisco', but it's not zero. What is zero is the chances that NK could survive even the attempt. You look at things very oddly, as I said...you seem to see the potential threat of NK doing something, but don't see the other side of that, which is that it's like saying a sickly child could stab this armored knight over here in the foot. That would definitely hurt the knight and suck...but the ramifications towards the child are pretty ghastly, especially since the child can't run away, and the knight isn't exactly known for his restraint when attacked.
I'm not for a moment suggesting that North Korea would even fathom the idea of entertaining a direct strike against the United States - certainly not as a first option. That was not the point.

The point is, if you're an American general or a member of the national security team, that's now a scenario that has to be taken into consideration. An American city getting nuked is no longer fictional or hypothetical; it's a potential reality. If North Korea continues to develop their technology to the point where they can build a credible arsenal of, say, 15, 25, or 50 of these kinds of weapons, then they're essentially untouchable. They're almost there already.

No, the idea that Kim Jung Un is going to go berzerk and just launch missiles at the US is insane. But what's not insane is the notion that should the United States decide that a first strike and regime are our options, Kim Jung Un would respond with ferocity and pose threats to the United States that Iraq and Iran currently don't. The history is already quite clear: the United States isn't going to attack nations with a credible nuclear counter-strike capability.

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Currently and at this time, the US is in the drivers seat wrt this situation. As I said in the other post, China wants something badly from the US. North Korea does as well. And the US has been able to play both against the other, to a degree, and get both to work on the other. China doesn't want to lose it's chance at getting Trump et al to stop this stupid trade war...they NEED the US to stop. More importantly, they need the US to not increase tariffs any more and THEN stop them down the road. As long as that carrot is out there, China is not going to shake things up wrt NK, and they are going to apply pressure on NK to play right.
That would appear not to be the case at this time, and besides, I don't really think that the trade war and North Korea are inextricably tied to each other, except in terms of what China will do to undermine an American foreign policy objective as a way of putting pressure on Trump to get what it wants from trade talks. If Trump really believed that starting a trade war with China was the way to get them to comply with North Korean sanctions, then that's a really stupid move -- like mind-boggling so. And there's already evidence suggesting why this is stupid.

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Part of China's offer to let lil' Kimmy use his shinny train to go to the latest meeting was for China to be able to have him observe some of the best parts of China, to show him both Chinese power but also to show him what potential there is for him and NK economically.
I seriously doubt that this is the case. Look, the Kim family gets around; they know that life in other countries is better than in North Korea. They know that other countries have better economies than theirs and that life could be better for their people. I don't think China needs to show them anything. China wants to be - insists on being - a part of this process because of their historical ties to the Korean peninsula and because they don't want North Korea striking deals with a global adversary that would undermine their interests.

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For NK's part, they need the US to lift the sanctions...not because of US to NK trade, but because if the US does it, that will allow everyone else too as well (including China). They need that...badly. So, while they might bluster and make a show of restarting their missile testing facilities, I don't expect them to actually go back to tossing missiles like they were or setting off nukes for 'testing' like they were. I expect them to make a show of putting the pieces back in place, and maybe doing some testing, but not on the scale they were.
North Korea will give peace a chance, but not forever. And now that Trump has given Kim an opportunity for face-to-face talks, Kim has something else that he badly lacked before: a measure of credibility as a leader. KJU has already shown the world a different side to him, a willingness to be flexible. He's shown the world that he's not a madman. That's otherwise known as a 'PR coup,' and that's something that Trump cannot just hit the rewind button on. What's worse is that international opinion of Trump is not just largely unfavorable, but highly so. Who would have more credibility if talks break down and we go back to the threats of "fire and fury"? Kim is using information warfare against Trump, and he's using it surprisingly effectively given his country's very limited exposure to outside media. Kim only had his weapons program as leverage; now he has exposure and he's perceived as being capable of responsible leadership. Thus, it's Kim who increased his leverage, not Trump, whose only been able to occasionally use his meetings as a distraction from his mounting legal and political jeopardy at home (and don't think for a moment that this is lost on Kim, either).

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From our perspective, frankly, even if they DO go back to what they were doing we gained in this, as they are in a weaker position, and weakening all the time. Their infrastructure is falling apart, their military equipment is aging, they don't have the funds or open access to technology they did, and the clock is ticking.
They've had shit infrastructure and shit military equipment for decades. Even so, they have the capacity to make things really, really messy if diplomacy fails, and there's not a single rational person who doubts that.

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Basically, it's you who doesn't seem to understand how this actually works...or to grasp that what we were doing in the past, which you seem to be advocating, didn't work. Ever. It propped up an evil regime, giving it breathing room and resources that it used to try and leverage the situation further. Now, we've allowed the monster to grow to the point where they could be a threat...but not an existential threat. Not to us, not to South Korea, not to Japan. But if they make that threat a reality, it WILL be an existential one for them.
The evil regime was propped up by the Soviets, and then later China. We didn't prop up anything. Simply put, we had few options for dealing with North Korea without making a mess out of the peninsula, and we had, and continue to have, a responsibility not to do that.
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Old 03-07-2019, 12:37 PM
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The other problem we have now is our little trade war with China has basically taken away incentives for China to comply with sanctions. That's not to say that China wants to see North Korea become the Pakistan of East Asia, but there's really not much they can do at this point beyond occasionally putting economic pressure on North Korea whenever they feel that they're destabilizing the region. There's already evidence that lower fuel prices in North Korea are the result of China's assistance.
This isn't new, and I mentioned it myself so it's not exactly news to me. However, China is on record at the UN with putting in place sanctions, so they have to be at least a bit covert in how they break them, otherwise they lose face. The important thing is they are on record with doing them. Basically, the majority of NK's external trade comes from China, and that hasn't changed.

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But what your analysis seems to overlook is that this moment was only going to be 'right' in the North Korean mind when they felt like they had some credible leverage to bring to the talks. And that only happened once they got their weapons tested. Kim's demands are still the same: the sanctions have to be removed before this process can go any further. And that's because sanctions are a clear and present danger to his regime.
I obviously disagree. Oh, I'm sure in their minds they want it all...they want a locked down population, locked down information blackout, nuclear weapons AND free hand to trade and make money and do what they like. Sucks to be them. Just because that's their expectation doesn't mean we have to conform to it. There is a fundamental disconnect. North Korea must give up their nuclear weapons and program. They won't do that. So...impasse. Sanctions remain in place. What China does or doesn't do wrt sanctions is moot from our perspective. In the past when we and most of the rest of the world put sanctions on NK, China openly traded with them. Not only that, factions in China openly transferred technology to them, including missile and nuclear technology. Today, China is, on the surface, agreeing to sanctions, while doing what they have always done (btw, in this context, 'China' actually means various factions within the CCP)...trading with them and transferring technology to them.

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See the link above.
How does it address what you quoted? How is it not something I mentioned already, and already know about? It says basically the same thing in your link right there in what you quoted.

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You say this without a shred of evidence that regime change is even a remote possibility at this point. But assuming there's a regime change, what would replace it, exactly? Libertarian democracy?
Well that's a strawman out of left field...or right field I suppose, since it's you strawmaning me and you probably think I'm a right winger or something. Regime change is ALWAYS a possibility in an authoritarian dictatorship. Seriously, you need evidence this could happen? The Chinese themselves could, if they wanted too, affect regime change in North Korea. If they actually made their threat a reality, as you posited, that would certainly be regime change due to extreme explosive poisoning.

As to what I expect to replace it, I have no idea. Ideally it would be a merger between South Korea and North Korea into a unified Korea, but that is so fraught with issues and problems that it's hard to even contemplate. I certainly don't expect a 'Libertarian democracy', whatever the fuck that is. The point, however, is that we are at an impasse. We aren't (at least not until we have our own regime change next year) going to stop the sanctions until and unless North Korea gets rid of it's nukes and nuke programs. They aren't going to do that. China is going to continue to do what it's been doing. What might change is, North Korea MIGHT go back to a higher pace of testing nuclear weapons and/or missile technology.

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I'm not for a moment suggesting that North Korea would even fathom the idea of entertaining a direct strike against the United States - certainly not as a first option. That was not the point.
Well that's good. Because that's what you said. I realize that you are implying it's a threat, but a threat is just that...a threat.

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The point is, if you're an American general or a member of the national security team, that's now a scenario that has to be taken into consideration. An American city getting nuked is no longer fictional or hypothetical; it's a potential reality. If North Korea continues to develop their technology to the point where they can build a credible arsenal of, say, 15, 25, or 50 of these kinds of weapons, then they're essentially untouchable. They're almost there already.
You mean the same potential reality we've been looking at since the early 50's? Yeah, it's certainly theoretically possible. I seriously doubt that North Korea has 15, 25 or 50 weapons that can hit the US, if by that you mean the continental US. They MIGHT have a handful...probably less than 10, maybe less than 5...that they can actually mount on their current missiles. Sure, they can and almost certainly will work to extend that, but then we are back to the sanctions and how they are crippling North Korea. And have been, on and off, for decades now. The thing is, they will only be able to do so much with what they have, and it's forcing them to do trade offs...do we feed the people or build nukes? Or, probably more critically to them, do we do maintenance and perhaps upgrades on our tanks, artillery, soldiers weapons or feed said soldiers or focus on rockets and nukes? For the last 10 years at least they have chosen to focus on rockets and nukes to the exclusion of almost everything else. And what does that buy them? Nothing. The US was never going to invade them...they are too close to the Chinese sphere of influence and the US has been courting China on a number of fronts. As you've acknowledged, they aren't going to launch those nukes at the US or anyone else, unless they have a total death wish. China, with an order of magnitude more weapons and (working, tested and verified) systems isn't going to either, because the US has an order of magnitude more than they do...and at that point we are talking about the end of the world as we know it, and I'm not feeling too fine.

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That would appear not to be the case at this time, and besides, I don't really think that the trade war and North Korea are inextricably tied to each other, except in terms of what China will do to undermine an American foreign policy objective as a way of putting pressure on Trump to get what it wants from trade talks. If Trump really believed that starting a trade war with China was the way to get them to comply with North Korean sanctions, then that's a really stupid move -- like mind-boggling so. And there's already evidence suggesting why this is stupid.
But they are. I'm sorry you don't see it, and that it's boggling your mind, but you should think about it. I don't know if Trump et al planned it like this (I have serious doubts), but it's how it's playing out. China needs the US the US to not up the tariffs another notch. They are seriously getting hurt as it is. They also need the US to get rid of the ones we have in place, since, again, they are seriously getting hurt.

But please, tell me what the evidence is that it (presumably my analysis, though maybe you mean the trade war itself? If so...I sort of agree and disagree, as I think it's the right thing to do that's being done for the wrong, stupid reasons).

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North Korea will give peace a chance, but not forever. And now that Trump has given Kim an opportunity for face-to-face talks, Kim has something else that he badly lacked before: a measure of credibility as a leader. KJU has already shown the world a different side to him, a willingness to be flexible. He's shown the world that he's not a madman. That's otherwise known as a 'PR coup,' and that's something that Trump cannot just hit the rewind button on. What's worse is that international opinion of Trump is not just largely unfavorable, but highly so. Who would have more credibility if talks break down and we go back to the threats of "fire and fury"? Kim is using information warfare against Trump, and he's using it surprisingly effectively given his country's very limited exposure to outside media. Kim only had his weapons program as leverage; now he has exposure and he's perceived as being capable of responsible leadership. Thus, it's Kim who increased his leverage, not Trump, whose only been able to occasionally use his meetings as a distraction from his mounting legal and political jeopardy at home (and don't think for a moment that this is lost on Kim, either).
What other choice do they have? Up post you said they wouldn't seriously consider attack the US. Do you now say they would? Or do you mean they would consider attacking South Korea? Japan? Both of those actions would ALSO bring the US in like a ton of bricks...and not just the US. Hell, if they launched a nuke at South Korea, that would almost certainly bring CHINA in...and not on North Korea's side.

What leverage do you think that Kim is increasing on Trump?? Seriously, this is the biggest disconnect between us here, especially since you aren't going into specific details, merely attacking my own points. Let's say Kim goes back to full on nuke testing and ramped up missile tests. And so? What, exactly, does that do except further drain North Korean resources, further alienate them from regional and even global nations, and probably drive a further wedge between North Korea and China, as, again, OFFICIALLY, China is against them doing further testing and OFFICIALLY is on board with sanctions. Whatever China might do behind the scenes, they would have to take an official position on this, and if they backtrack or change up they will look weak. And the CCP doesn't like to look weak.

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They've had shit infrastructure and shit military equipment for decades. Even so, they have the capacity to make things really, really messy if diplomacy fails, and there's not a single rational person who doubts that.
Yes they have and had. No doubt. But you seem to be missing the point, which is if they are focused on doing all that other stuff you are talking about, they still can't focus on fixing or improving that stuff, especially as the sanctions are still in place. If they could get everything they want from China either today or in the past, then they wouldn't worry about the sanctions and we wouldn't be going through any of this dance. Obviously, unlike you, the ARE worried about it and DO want it gone. I really don't see how you can seemingly hold two contradictory views on this...it's a real puzzle. If they can do it all with the sanctions in place, why did they even agree to halt testing in the first place and come to the table? If China can and is giving them all they want and need, and if China is cool with them doing said testing (why they would go on record with the UN being kind of strange), then, again, why stop?

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The evil regime was propped up by the Soviets, and then later China. We didn't prop up anything. Simply put, we had few options for dealing with North Korea without making a mess out of the peninsula, and we had, and continue to have, a responsibility not to do that.
Sure we did, just to a lesser degree. We have periodically put sanctions in place, then taking them off (to one degree or another), provided humanitarian aide and other assistance in an attempt to bribe them to be good and play nice...all of which also helped prop them up. Hell, we allowed the regime to change the UN packaging on aid and supplies to North Korea packaging so as not to make the regime look bad.

Anyway, what I'd like as a reply, assuming you want to reply, is not another lengthy post like yours and mine where we cut and paste each others posts and parse and dissect them ad nausium. Can you post just your thoughts on what leverage you are talking about you think Kim is going to have over Trump if he decides negotiation is fruitless since he can't possibly give up, in his own mind and probably in the minds of the NK communist party, the stuff Trump is requiring for there to be forward movement on this? Additionally, I'd like your thoughts on what you think we should be doing. Those are things that will be shorter and I can reply too more easily. Feel free to ask me short, direct questions too if you like. One other thing...I won't assume you don't know anything about this stuff, please do me the same curtsy. We obviously have a different viewpoint, but I'm willing to be civil (well, for me) if you are.
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  #789  
Old 03-07-2019, 02:14 PM
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Can you post just your thoughts on what leverage you are talking about you think Kim is going to have over Trump if he decides negotiation is fruitless since he can't possibly give up, in his own mind and probably in the minds of the NK communist party, the stuff Trump is requiring for there to be forward movement on this?
His nuclear weapons program is leverage - he already has it and can presumably make it bigger and more menacing. He can always go back to brinkmanship at any time. More than that, I think the summits have given Kim badly needed credibility and legitimacy, which he didn't have before. Contrast that to Trump's perceived lack of legitimacy. That's also leverage.

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Additionally, I'd like your thoughts on what you think we should be doing. Those are things that will be shorter and I can reply too more easily. Feel free to ask me short, direct questions too if you like. One other thing...I won't assume you don't know anything about this stuff, please do me the same curtsy. We obviously have a different viewpoint, but I'm willing to be civil (well, for me) if you are.
I think we should be willing to suspend some of the sanctions in exchange for allowing a total freeze of his nuclear weapons program, including his missiles. Those sanctions can be restarted if he is found to be in violation of his end of the deal. We would have international and American inspectors involved, and we'd have the ability to inspect as we please. The longer-term goal would be to achieve denuclearization in exchange for gradual phasing of sanctions and assisting with North Korea's energy needs.
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Old 03-07-2019, 02:32 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

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His nuclear weapons program is leverage - he already has it and can presumably make it bigger and more menacing. He can always go back to brinkmanship at any time. More than that, I think the summits have given Kim badly needed credibility and legitimacy, which he didn't have before. Contrast that to Trump's perceived lack of legitimacy. That's also leverage.
Well, as you say, he's already got it. Making it bigger doesn't really leverage it more, even if he could make it really, really big. It doesn't do anything more for him if it's 10 rocket equipped nukes or 100...or even 1000. Unless he wants to risk obliteration, it's as meaningful as the fact that Russia has something like 7K nukes verse the US 4-6K nukes, depending on what number you use. Russia has more than us. And that does, what, exactly? Or, conversely, the US has whatever thousand of the things, and China has several hundred...what does our own nuclear numbers advantage do for us? Nada. Just makes it unlikely we will use them or they will use them.

I sort of agree with you about the legitimacy part. It's what I thought initially, and I'm not convinced my first impression was wrong. Basically, we should have never met with Kim, certainly not our President meeting directly with him. To me, that does give him a crust of legitimacy, and actually lowers us. We should have simply continued with the sanctions, increasing them every time they ramped things up until they couldn't be increased anymore and then just ignored NK and let them deal with things. Personally, I think Trump's goal was always China, and North Korea was just what he saw as a means to an end, which is to pressure China into stopping their gross violations of the WTO agreements they signed, IP theft and the rest. Sadly, Trump seems to have been focused on bringing those good, high paying low skill with high benefits jobs back to 'Merica and Making A'merkia Great Agin, instead of the real issues, but I think it's still paid us some results. I realize that MMV on this and you disagree...just my take.



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I think we should be willing to suspend some of the sanctions in exchange for allowing a total freeze of his nuclear weapons program, including his missiles. Those sanctions can be restarted if he is found to be in violation of his end of the deal. We would have international and American inspectors involved, and we'd have the ability to inspect as we please. The longer-term goal would be to achieve denuclearization in exchange for gradual phasing of sanctions and assisting with North Korea's energy needs.
It's a reasonable answer, and one I'd be more willing to entertain if we hadn't played that song and dance many times in the past. Unfortunately, we have done exactly this, they have frozen stuff for a while, and then ramped things up, and we've ramped up sanctions again...rinse and repeat. We've done this for decades with little in the way of results. I think taking a hard line this time is the right move. Like I said, what I was afraid of is Trump would do what you are saying here...I thought he would back down, give in, maybe sign some sort of peace and trade deal or remove or lower the sanctions, declare victory and see whether folks still were thinking about his Russia transgressions. A distraction seems to be his usually operating method...that and just chaos. I'm actually happy with what he did actually do, which was walk away.

Again, I get that MMV. This is one of the few times I'll ever say I'm in any sort of agreement with Trump, which makes me feel more than slightly ill admitting, but there you go.
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  #791  
Old 03-08-2019, 03:22 AM
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Is there even any evidence that North Korea is capable of putting a nuclear warhead on a missile? Or capable of delivering one in any means short of a ship?
We know they have the bomb. We know their missile technology has been improving. Closing our eyes and ears and insisting that they simply don't have a nuclear deterrent is an invitation for them to attempt to demonstrate that they do in a very dramatic way, as China was pushed to do in 1966 after the USA repeatedly cast doubt on its ability to put nuclear warheads on a missile.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 03-08-2019 at 03:26 AM.
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:40 AM
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We know they have the bomb. We know their missile technology has been improving. Closing our eyes and ears and insisting that they simply don't have a nuclear deterrent is an invitation for them to attempt to demonstrate that they do in a very dramatic way, as China was pushed to do in 1966 after the USA repeatedly cast doubt on its ability to put nuclear warheads on a missile.
I think that would be the next step in terms of any escalation. My take is that the Kim regime felt reasonably satisfied that they had established enough credibility that they could come to the negotiating table with a consensus that they were a nuclear power. That being said, there's the matter of scope and degree -- just how powerful is that arsenal and how powerful can it become? What are their true capabilities? We can assume that, for the moment, they're rudimentary at best, relative to other nuclear powers. But if negotiations break down for good, Kim will want to do something he hasn't done before.
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:36 AM
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Thanks for the reply.


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Well, as you say, he's already got it. Making it bigger doesn't really leverage it more, even if he could make it really, really big. It doesn't do anything more for him if it's 10 rocket equipped nukes or 100...or even 1000. Unless he wants to risk obliteration, it's as meaningful as the fact that Russia has something like 7K nukes verse the US 4-6K nukes, depending on what number you use. Russia has more than us. And that does, what, exactly? Or, conversely, the US has whatever thousand of the things, and China has several hundred...what does our own nuclear numbers advantage do for us? Nada. Just makes it unlikely we will use them or they will use them.
As I said in my post to Lord Feldon, I don't think that Kim would be satisfied with just making his arsenal bigger; he would want to do something to escalate the brinkmanship -- making his arsenal more formidable would be his insurance policy against preemptive military actions on our part.

Something that I failed to mention in my previous post is that, in my view, Kim's brinkmanship has a dual aim: One is obviously to pressure the US to end sanctions (and at some point even get some outside foreign aid, which was on the table in the original framework of 1994) -- pretty much nuclear nuclear blackmail, you could say. But I believe that there's another aim, which is to undermine the United States' role in the region. He can do this if he convinces our regional partners, South Korea and Japan, that our presence complicates things and that they would be better off with more of a diplomatic alliance than a military partnership.

This also dovetails with China's aims, which I suspect is one of the reasons why China has a high tolerance for Kim (within certain parameters). When policy wonks discuss China's interests, they immediately mention their role in the Korean conflict and the value in having North Korea as a buffer, and there's certainly truth in that. However, I think that North Korea holds even more value from China's vantage point. China sees North Korea as a potential wedge between the United States and South Korea, and perhaps even Japan if the country takes a hard turn to the right and decides to invest in its own indigenous military capabilities at some point. What China doesn't want, though, is for Kim to overplay his hand with an escalation that goes so far as to convince the United States that it needs to eliminate North Korea once and for all with military action in a 'preventative' first strike - from China's POV, that would be a monumental disaster, and I think this is the real reason that China participated in sanctions against Kim, not because of trade. I don't think those issues are really related, except in the sense that Trump's decision to impose tariffs on East Asian countries gives them less of an incentive to cooperate where foreign policy is concerned.

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I sort of agree with you about the legitimacy part. It's what I thought initially, and I'm not convinced my first impression was wrong. Basically, we should have never met with Kim, certainly not our President meeting directly with him. To me, that does give him a crust of legitimacy, and actually lowers us. We should have simply continued with the sanctions, increasing them every time they ramped things up until they couldn't be increased anymore and then just ignored NK and let them deal with things.
The reality is, Kim Jong Un's willingness to meet with Trump put pressure on Trump to meet with him. North Korea's willingness to use diplomacy instead of brinkmanship was going to put pressure on the United States to respond in kind. Not meeting with Kim and doubling down on sanctions would have gone nowhere, especially if Kim had decided to suspend testing and nuclear enrichment on his own for a brief period of time. Kim also knew that Trump wanted a meeting in order to make himself look more 'presidential' and to distract the American public from his problems at home. Give the devil his due, Kim set this up masterfully.

It's not just American optics that matter, though; South Korean optics matter -- a lot. And Kim has obviously taken that into consideration as well. South Korea undeniably has a strong distaste for North Korea's leadership, but they have always had very strong sentiment for uniting the Korean peninsula, even if only diplomatically and economically, and even if unifying under one government is essentially impossible. South Koreans also have complicated feelings about America, with occasional accusations that we meddle in their affairs without Korea's interests at heart. Koreans have a long history of foreign invasion, occupation, and political meddling, and in some circles, our presence is viewed as an extension of that legacy even today. So it's a complicated dance, to say the least.

With that background in mind, it's worth noting that South Korea elected a moderate-left wing government recently, which is the faction that tends to be less pro-America than the center-right. Moreover, in the past 2 years, as is the case globally, views of American leadership have nosedived, with less than 20% of South Koreans having favorable views of Donald Trump's leadership according to one poll I recently viewed. By contrast, while Koreans probably don't like KJU that much, a majority were supportive of his recent talks with the South Korean president. So again, Kim is playing this out adroitly.

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It's a reasonable answer, and one I'd be more willing to entertain if we hadn't played that song and dance many times in the past. Unfortunately, we have done exactly this, they have frozen stuff for a while, and then ramped things up, and we've ramped up sanctions again...rinse and repeat.
The 1990s framework is often cited as an example of the Kim regime's shiftiness; however, the reality is more complicated than what many believe. When that framework was agreed to by then-president Clinton, the Clinton administration was touting it as a foreign policy success. The problem is, it needed funding and essentially ratification by congress. That agreement was reached in 1994...which was also the year that Republicans won the election and took control of the congressional purse strings. The Republicans wanted to contrast themselves as the party of hawks and also the party of fiscal austerity. They didn't want Clinton's framework to succeed, so they didn't fund it. That meant that other countries like Japan and South Korea had to step up in America's place, but Kim Jong Il believed that it was crucial to have American support for the measure. Additionally, because of the complications in funding, there were delays in starting the civilian nuclear energy product, which only incensed Kim Jong Il. Already pissed about the problems with the framework, George W Bush infamously included the North Korean regime in the 'Axis of Evil'. Once you talk about regime change, once you threaten regime change, particularly when economic conditions are already grave, authoritarian regimes take notice. Regimes like Kim don't take those kinds of threats sitting down.

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We've done this for decades with little in the way of results. I think taking a hard line this time is the right move. Like I said, what I was afraid of is Trump would do what you are saying here...I thought he would back down, give in, maybe sign some sort of peace and trade deal or remove or lower the sanctions, declare victory and see whether folks still were thinking about his Russia transgressions. A distraction seems to be his usually operating method...that and just chaos. I'm actually happy with what he did actually do, which was walk away.

Again, I get that MMV. This is one of the few times I'll ever say I'm in any sort of agreement with Trump, which makes me feel more than slightly ill admitting, but there you go.
It'll be interesting to see how the rest of this year unfolds. North Korea is apparently facing a major food shortage, so if there's a time when sanctions might actually be effective, it could be now. Another problem that Kim has is that Trump's walking away might have been an embarrassment, which could be both good and bad. It could be good in the sense that it might lead some weakening of his position. But I suspect he will deal with that through purges, and there will probably be heightened sensitivity on his part going forward.
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Old 03-08-2019, 11:55 AM
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My take is that the Kim regime felt reasonably satisfied that they had established enough credibility that they could come to the negotiating table with a consensus that they were a nuclear power.
I think that's definitely what North Korea was thinking, but what if Trump didn't think that? What if he thought North Korea was coming not as a nuclear power seeking detente, but as an impoverished state humbly seeking relief from his "maximum pressure" sanctions?

Trump was making noises about not really caring if North Korea gave up the bomb quickly. Some watchers thought this was a hopeful sign that he was actually being pretty realistic about the path forward, but what if he actually didn't care about the timeline because he believes Vladimir Putin was right about the missiles not working and he doesn't think North Korea has a credible deterrent?

If that's actually what happened...shit.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 03-08-2019 at 11:58 AM.
  #795  
Old 03-08-2019, 01:22 PM
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I think that's definitely what North Korea was thinking, but what if Trump didn't think that? What if he thought North Korea was coming not as a nuclear power seeking detente, but as an impoverished state humbly seeking relief from his "maximum pressure" sanctions?

Trump was making noises about not really caring if North Korea gave up the bomb quickly. Some watchers thought this was a hopeful sign that he was actually being pretty realistic about the path forward, but what if he actually didn't care about the timeline because he believes Vladimir Putin was right about the missiles not working and he doesn't think North Korea has a credible deterrent?

If that's actually what happened...shit.
I think both are probably somewhat true: Kim believed that he had more leverage with his new nuclear toys, but I also believe that he really is desperate to end sanctions as well. I don't think Donald Trump, the man himself, gives a toss one way or the other. But John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are visible in the background. Bolton is from the old school and believes that American power can be used to break its opponents. The real question is, what if they're wrong? What if they're wrong and it doesn't break Kim, but instead makes him more determined not to give in? It's at that point that I would begin to worry about the mental state of Donald Trump, who might take such defiance personally and do something dumb.

Last edited by asahi; 03-08-2019 at 01:24 PM.
  #796  
Old 03-08-2019, 02:21 PM
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So now let's resume your pseudo-intellectual wankoff, how does this play out in your mind?
Back off. If you need to post in this manner, take it to The BBQ Pit.

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  #797  
Old 03-08-2019, 05:28 PM
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Something that I failed to mention in my previous post is that, in my view, Kim's brinkmanship has a dual aim: One is obviously to pressure the US to end sanctions (and at some point even get some outside foreign aid, which was on the table in the original framework of 1994) -- pretty much nuclear nuclear blackmail, you could say. But I believe that there's another aim, which is to undermine the United States' role in the region. He can do this if he convinces our regional partners, South Korea and Japan, that our presence complicates things and that they would be better off with more of a diplomatic alliance than a military partnership.
Sure, he'd love that. Simply put, it's not going to happen, no matter what. China is the natural dominant force in the region, leaving aside the US and it's alliances. No matter how powerful Kim et al makes their nuclear capability, which I'll get back to in a second, it won't make them the regional power OR displace the US. Nor will it allow him to blackmail the US or anyone else. Again, China, who DOES have a very credible threat, is not able to do this...why would North Korea be able too??

As to Kim making his threat more tangible or capable I suppose, there are limits. Essentially, the North Korean budget is not unlimited...quite the opposite. To do even what they have done has pushed them to the brink, even if we leave aside the crushing sanctions...which we obviously can't leave aside, since it's ongoing. Taking them off would certainly allow NK to expand it's capability, but consider...the North Korean GDP is something like $12 billion dollars a year. If we tripled that it's really nothing. Certainly it's not enough for Kim to create some sort of super capability game changer. It might be enough for him to build a few dozen missiles equipped with actual multistage nukes but...well, so what? China has an order of magnitude more than that, and the US an order of magnitude more than China does. Russia has even more.

Quote:
This also dovetails with China's aims, which I suspect is one of the reasons why China has a high tolerance for Kim (within certain parameters). When policy wonks discuss China's interests, they immediately mention their role in the Korean conflict and the value in having North Korea as a buffer, and there's certainly truth in that. However, I think that North Korea holds even more value from China's vantage point. China sees North Korea as a potential wedge between the United States and South Korea, and perhaps even Japan if the country takes a hard turn to the right and decides to invest in its own indigenous military capabilities at some point. What China doesn't want, though, is for Kim to overplay his hand with an escalation that goes so far as to convince the United States that it needs to eliminate North Korea once and for all with military action in a 'preventative' first strike - from China's POV, that would be a monumental disaster, and I think this is the real reason that China participated in sanctions against Kim, not because of trade. I don't think those issues are really related, except in the sense that Trump's decision to impose tariffs on East Asian countries gives them less of an incentive to cooperate where foreign policy is concerned.
Hm. Well, I sort of disagree with your assessment. Oh, I agree that China sees North Korea as a buffer, and certainly in the past they have seen them as a perfect foil, distracting the US and allowing China to play good cop, as well as buff their foreign policy and regional creds. However, when they were unable to rein in North Korea wrt their nuclear testing and missile testing, that was a major blow to Chinese face in the region. It is probably one of the key things, at least in their minds, as to why the US and Trump went forward with the trade war (this would be what the CCP would think anyway, IMHO) which has seriously hurt the Chinese. Then when Trump had bi-lateral talks directly with Kim, it further cut them out. They have gotten some of that back, by having Kim come to China several times, and of course allowing him to take his train through China to Vietnam for the latest talks...but overall, it's a net negative. And I also disagree that trade and this are unrelated or uncoupled...I think they are related and coupled, both in their minds, in our minds and in North Korea's minds as well. It's a club the US is able to hold over China's head...and North Korea knows it. We might overplay that club, certainly I don't think Trump is capable or perhaps even understands most of this, but right now I think it's playing one off over the other. China isn't going to stop it's official sanctions, no matter what they do under the table, not until and unless they get some sort of agreement from the US to not impose additional tariffs, and probably not until they get the ones already in place taken off. I doubt Trump is going to stop those tariffs until and unless there is some major concession from North Korea (personally, I'd hold out for major concession from China wrt WTO and IP rights, but that's just me), and North Korea knows that they will have to play nice as they are in a precarious place because of this.

If the US actually had a decent leader and we had followed through on the TPP we'd be in an incredibly strong position right now. Even as it is, I think we are in a pretty strong position wrt the region, especially now that other regional nations are waking up to the threat the Chinese have become.

Quote:
The 1990s framework is often cited as an example of the Kim regime's shiftiness; however, the reality is more complicated than what many believe. When that framework was agreed to by then-president Clinton, the Clinton administration was touting it as a foreign policy success. The problem is, it needed funding and essentially ratification by congress. That agreement was reached in 1994...which was also the year that Republicans won the election and took control of the congressional purse strings. The Republicans wanted to contrast themselves as the party of hawks and also the party of fiscal austerity. They didn't want Clinton's framework to succeed, so they didn't fund it. That meant that other countries like Japan and South Korea had to step up in America's place, but Kim Jong Il believed that it was crucial to have American support for the measure. Additionally, because of the complications in funding, there were delays in starting the civilian nuclear energy product, which only incensed Kim Jong Il. Already pissed about the problems with the framework, George W Bush infamously included the North Korean regime in the 'Axis of Evil'. Once you talk about regime change, once you threaten regime change, particularly when economic conditions are already grave, authoritarian regimes take notice. Regimes like Kim don't take those kinds of threats sitting down.
I think that's another debate, but the key is that we have gone through this cycle several times and what we were doing wasn't working...and by 'we', I don't just mean the US. As for Kim not taking threats sitting down, I'm unsure what you think he and they can do about it. You already said that them doing a first strike is off the table. I agree. They aren't going to invade South Korea either. They can't use their nukes as some sort of blackmail, since it's not a credible blackmail tool...they know the US (and China for that matter, as well as a bunch of other nations) won't allow them to use those nukes without dire consequences. And they have put all their eggs in that basket. For those who think the US is ever-ready to invade, I suppose this is a deterrent from that, as if China being their ally wasn't enough, but other than purely defensive it gains them very little. It's a threat in theory, but not in reality...and the cost has been the erosion of the rest of their country. Even their military is in bad shape. So, he can sit down, stand up or howl at the moon, and it really makes little difference. There is a reason he's and the NKs are even bothering with these negotiations, and it's not because they are coming from a position of strength. It's because they are increasingly desperate for some sort of accommodation. We have even been able to leverage China into being at least nominally on board with sanctions and censure, and that's a serious issue from their perspective. Myself, I think even if they start testing again, something I expect at some point as the one card they can play without destruction, it will be at a smaller pace and less threatening...it will be a ploy to gain them a bit in their negotiations. But they basically have a busted flush, and China isn't exactly holding 4 aces at this point either.
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  #798  
Old 03-09-2019, 12:19 PM
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Things are beginning to escalate now:

North Korea now appears to be preparing for a possible missile launch.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...?noredirect=on

And in turn, this has prompted the US and South Korea to restart joint military exercises.

...which displeases North Korea not so surprisingly.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/north-...-joint-drills/

There's an added new element of danger here in that both Kim and Trump have lost some face. Both are going to be out to show the other that they're not giving in and that they're not going to back down. Once you throw that element into an already volatile situation, it becomes even more desperate. This is one reason why the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was so hazardous, because Kruschev and JFK didn't want to be the first to back down and risk being labeled as 'weak'. What ultimately resolved that standoff was that the US agreed to pull missiles out of Turkey and the Russians agreed not to brag about it in public (the Cliff's Notes version of that outcome anyway).

This is why I felt we needed to offer a temporary relief in terms of freezing some of the sanctions. This would have allowed more time for both sides to talk, and North Korea would have had an incentive not to develop their weapons program. Moreover, had we achieved agreement to have full access and verification of their facilities, we would have had time to think of our next move if talks broke down, as it takes some time to throw out inspectors and restart those facilities. But as things stand now, we're quite possibly heading into a very dangerous abyss here.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:34 PM
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It's at that point that I would begin to worry about the mental state of Donald Trump, who might take such defiance personally and do something dumb.
Oh he'll do something dumb alright.

Let's just hope that he doesn't do something dumb that gets a whole lot of people (North Koreans included) killed.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:59 PM
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Oh he'll do something dumb alright.

Let's just hope that he doesn't do something dumb that gets a whole lot of people (North Koreans included) killed.
What I fear is that John Bolton in particular, for his own delusional reasons, would encourage the president to act on his worst impulses. Trump by himself doesn't worry me, but Trump and Bolton are a dangerous cocktail. This is where I miss someone like John Mattis, someone who actually reckons with reality and understands the consequences of our behavior. Bolton makes Rumsfeld look rational, pensive, even humble.

Last edited by asahi; 03-09-2019 at 12:59 PM.
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