Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   Politics & Elections (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=34)
-   -   North Korea suspending missile testing and closing nuclear site; Trump the statesman? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=853430)

iiandyiiii 12-07-2019 06:11 PM

I'd just like to sit back and remark upon how utterly absurd the OP of this thread is, and that it's almost unbelievable that some folks really thought this was a possibility with this President. It was eminently foreseeable that the Trump foreign policy WRT North Korea would be bumbling, chaotic, and nonsensical, with no significant positive results.

KarlGauss 12-07-2019 06:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 22014247)
I'd just like to sit back and remark upon how utterly absurd the OP of this thread is, and that it's almost unbelievable that some folks really thought this was a possibility with this President. It was eminently foreseeable that the Trump foreign policy WRT North Korea would be bumbling, chaotic, and nonsensical, with no significant positive results.

Some might claim that a three year interval of 'peace' with North Korea is a positive result. If you believe(d) that NK will never relinquish its nuclear weapons (which needed no confirmation IMO), the best one could hope for is a prolongation of the status quo, a relatively peaceful one. So it is not a totally absurd belief.

ETA: It is definitely absurd though to attribute any rational, considered plan to Trump.

HMS Irruncible 12-07-2019 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KarlGauss (Post 22014277)
Some might claim that a three year interval of 'peace' with North Korea is a positive result.

I'm really not sure it counts as a positive that a sham diplomatic effort took 3 years to collapse and leave us in a more dangerous position than before.

I am glad we didn't have a nuclear war in the past 3 years, but we don't get to live in that 3-year period indefinitely. The bill is now due. We traded those 3 years of detente for the current reality in which NK diplomatic and military position has strengthened, and the US diplomatic position has weakened.

Snowboarder Bo 12-08-2019 02:12 AM

North Korea is no longer waiting for the end of the year: North Korea says it carried out ‘very important test’

Trump is a dupe. He did everything Kim wanted: he backed off and allowed NK to carry on with their plans with little or no scrutiny.
Quote:

North Korea said Sunday it carried out a “very important test” at its long-range rocket launch site that will have a key effect on the country’s strategic position.

The Korean Central News Agency said the test was conducted at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on Saturday afternoon. It said that the result of the test was reported to the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party.

The test results will have “an important effect on changing the strategic position of (North Korea) once again in the near future,” the agency reported.

The report didn’t say what the test was about. But media reports say a new satellite image indicated North Korea may be preparing to resume testing engines used to power satellite launchers at the site.
Quote:

The U.N. bans North Korea from launching satellites because it is considered a test of long-range missile technology.

After repeated failures, North Korea successfully put a satellite into orbit for the first time in 2012 in a launch from the same site. North Korea had another successful satellite launch in 2016.

At the United Nations, a statement released by North Korea’s U.N. ambassador, Kim Song, said that denuclearization had “already gone out of the negotiation table.” It said North Korea does not need to have lengthy talks with the United States as the end-of-year deadline set by its leader Kim Jong Un for substantial U.S. concessions in nuclear diplomacy looms.
Which means, they already got what they wanted, for the most part.

Bijou Drains 12-08-2019 08:27 AM

I could see the North Korean nutjob trying to hit an uninhabited US island with a missile. Something like one of the Aleutians.

Left Hand of Dorkness 12-08-2019 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KarlGauss (Post 22014277)
Some might claim that a three year interval of 'peace' with North Korea is a positive result.

Yeah, man. The number of American troops dying in the Second Korean War was really appalling. Letting our men and women in uniform come home is 100% positive.

(Maybe I'm missing something here--but what are you talking about?)

asahi 12-08-2019 08:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo (Post 22014749)
North Korea is no longer waiting for the end of the year: North Korea says it carried out ‘very important test’

Trump is a dupe. He did everything Kim wanted: he backed off and allowed NK to carry on with their plans with little or no scrutiny.Which means, they already got what they wanted, for the most part.

It was wise, I think, to back off and engage with North Korea -- that part of the equation wasn't wrong. But it was damn wrong to engage without a realistic game plan. The only thing Trump got out of this that was in any conceivable way positive was an unprecedented, and limited, period of detente with a dangerous despot.

But the threat of a North Korean conflict never went away because he fundamentally misunderstood what Kim was asking for, and even if others did understand his motives, they insisted on sticking to an outdated game plan that insisted on meeting US demands first -- unrealistic demands, I might add -- before any sort of real negotiation could take place.

Trump's reckless trade war with China didn't help, either. Where's the incentive for China to enforce sanctions now? And now South Korea and Japan both have to seriously question the value of their alliance with the US. Under normal circumstances, that value would be self-evident: every single president up to this point, Republican and Democrat, realized the importance of that alliance for all parties. Trump seriously does not have the slightest fucking clue what he's doing, and his damn fanboys better wake up and smell the shitcake that's baking in the oven.

Snowboarder Bo 12-08-2019 12:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KarlGauss (Post 22014277)
Some might claim that a three year interval of 'peace' with North Korea is a positive result.

Quote:

Originally Posted by asahi (Post 22014928)
It was wise, I think, to back off and engage with North Korea -- that part of the equation wasn't wrong. But it was damn wrong to engage without a realistic game plan. The only thing Trump got out of this that was in any conceivable way positive was an unprecedented, and limited, period of detente with a dangerous despot.

I'm with Left Hand of Dorkness on this one: what the fuck are you two talking about? :confused:

How is the past 3 years any different than the previous 20? A Kim is still in power and he's been advancing his countries nuclear weapons goals steadily. If anything, he's had less resistance from the US and other nations since Trump took office; it's been easier for North Korea to work towards their goals these past few years.

Trump has squandered three entire years with respect to North Korea and he's done it in such a way that the fourth year can already be written off.

Chisquirrel 12-08-2019 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo (Post 22015202)
Trump has squandered three entire years with respect to North Korea and he's done it in such a way that the fourth year can already be written off.

And somehow managed to piss of pretty much all of our allies in the region.

asahi 12-08-2019 02:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo (Post 22015202)
I'm with Left Hand of Dorkness on this one: what the fuck are you two talking about? :confused:

How is the past 3 years any different than the previous 20? A Kim is still in power and he's been advancing his countries nuclear weapons goals steadily. If anything, he's had less resistance from the US and other nations since Trump took office; it's been easier for North Korea to work towards their goals these past few years.

Trump has squandered three entire years with respect to North Korea and he's done it in such a way that the fourth year can already be written off.

I'm not sure what your disagreement is about. I agree that Trump has made it easy for North Korea to pursue his nuclear ambitions. My only point was that Trump -- and I think it's a case of a broken clock just happening to be right twice a day -- had an opening to engage Kim in a manner that could have turned out to be productive.

But as I said in my post, Trump's team -- and probably because his team is himself -- had absolutely no game plan. So while the engagement part was, in my view, the right step toward progress, it was squandered because Trump fundamentally misunderstood how to use his opportunity to make substantive progress, and for that, he would have had to talk about suspending a portion of the sanctions in exchange for a verifiable system of suspending his weapons program.

What we needed was a North Korean version of the Iranian deal -- something that allows a stubbornly hostile regime like North Korea to have a motivation to play nice with the US and other global powers. My view is that Kim is not using this opportunity to say 'Ha ha, you're a sucker, fat ass!' -- I think what Kim really wants now is a deal that suspends sanctions.

This is an extremely dangerous situation for the very reason that Kim is now to the point at which he will most surely engage in provocation in order to get sanctions stopped. If I'm reading it right, though, he's at a point where he's feeling more confident about his ability to survive these sanctions, and he's confident that he can discourage any kind of military strike against him, which leads me to believe he must think that he has - and he probably does have - some pretty impressive bombs and missiles to play with. And he's about to show us what he's got. And as always, it's going to be how the military and his the CiC responds to that challenge.

asahi 12-08-2019 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chisquirrel (Post 22015321)
And somehow managed to piss of pretty much all of our allies in the region.

Worse, we're losing serious credibility as anything other than being a pain in the rectum. Japan and South Korea must now question why they're hosting over 100,000 military personnel between the two of them when we're basically telling them every day "Sorry, pal - you're on your own." What the US has gotten out of that alliance was the ability to project power. It's losing that now, and it's not just NK that benefits, but also China and Russia.

Snowboarder Bo 12-08-2019 02:48 PM

America’s influence, once so dominant, waning under Trump:
Quote:

Three years into Donald Trump’s presidency, America’s global influence is waning. In interviews with The Associated Press, diplomats, foreign officials and scholars from numerous countries describe a changing world order in which the United States has less of a central role.

And in many ways, that’s just fine with the White House. Trump campaigned on an ″America First″ foreign policy and says a strong United States will mean a stronger world.

“The future doesn’t belong to globalists,” Trump told the U.N. General Assembly in September. “The future belongs to patriots.”

Trump insists he’s abandoning globalism for bilateral ties more beneficial to the U.S..

But there’s little sign of that.

Instead, once-close allies — France, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Turkey, Germany and more — have quietly edged away from Washington over the past three years.
Quote:

Because those longtime friends of Washington? Many are now looking elsewhere for alliances. Very often, they look to China or Russia.

In Islamabad, for example, where the U.S. was once seen as the only game in town, Pakistan’s government now gets military aid and training from Russia and billions of dollars in investment and loans from China. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte is nurturing closer ties to Beijing despite his nervousness over its expansionism in the South China Sea. In Egypt, long one of America’s closest Middle Eastern allies, Cairo now lets Russian military planes use its bases and the two countries recently held joint air force exercises. In Ukraine, which has looked to U.S. military aid for years to try to keep an expansionist Russia in check, Trump’s questionable loyalty is seen as creating a dangerous vacuum.

“Once the U.S. role in Europe weakens, Russia’s influence inevitably grows,” Vadim Karasev, head of the Kyiv-based Institute of Global Strategies said.
Quote:

China has been delighted by what it sees as the voluntary abdication of U.S. leadership, particularly on free trade and climate change.

Trump’s pullout from the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, opened the way for Beijing to push ahead with its own alternative free-trade agreement.

Meanwhile, China has gone from being a climate change curmudgeon to sometimes reaping praise as a global leader on the issue.

The White House’s National Security Council did not respond to requests for comment about this story.

Bijou Drains 12-21-2019 10:05 AM

Seems that little rocket man is about to do more missile testing for Christmas

https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/20/polit...sts/index.html

Snowboarder Bo 12-23-2019 10:43 AM

New construction seen at missile-related site in North Korea
Quote:

A new satellite image of a factory where North Korea makes military equipment used to launch long-range missiles shows the construction of a new structure.

The release of several images from Planet Labs comes amid concern that North Korea could launch a rocket or missile as it seeks concessions in stalled nuclear negotiations with the United States.

North Korea has warned that what “Christmas gift” it gives the U.S. depends on what action Washington takes.

One of the satellite images taken on Dec. 19 shows the completion of a new structure at the March 16 Factory near Pyongyang, where North Korea is believed to be developing and manufacturing vehicles used as mobile launchers for long-range ballistic missiles.

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Middlebury Institute, said in an email that the construction seemed to be an expansion of the factory, which would be “big news.”
Satellite pics at the link.

asahi 12-23-2019 02:05 PM

Here's why North Korea is a threat, and thanks to Trump's bungled diplomacy, potentially an even bigger threat than it was before 'detente'.

North Korea still hasn't gotten what it wants, which is an ease of sanctions -- we already know that, but it's important because this is a major reason why it's acting out.

In the past, North Korea has used its weapons programs to project strength and to send the message that it's capable of anything. The one advantage the US had until maybe 12-24 months ago was the knowledge on both sides that if the US ever wanted to use military force as a way to eliminate the North Korean threat, it could do so, and while an outbreak of war would potentially be catastrophic for South Korea and Japan, the US could probably escape significant harm to its mainland.

Now? That is probably no longer operative. If North Korea wants to shoot missiles over Japan once a week, or if it wants to harass South Korea on the border, it can do so and there's not much the US can do to make North Korea stop -- nothing except do what I suggested in the beginning, which is to negotiate for an easing of sanctions in exchange for good behavior. But the US nuclear umbrella looks like it's got some holes in it - and don't think Japan won't notice.

Snowboarder Bo 12-23-2019 10:16 PM

John Bolton thinks Trump's approach to North Korea is a failure (3:49 CNN clip)

Axios has the exclusive, tho:
Quote:

Originally Posted by John Bolton
We're now nearly three years into the administration with no visible progress toward getting North Korea to make the strategic decision to stop pursuing deliverable nuclear weapons,

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Bolton
Time is on the side of the proliferator. The more time there is, the more time there is to develop, test and refine both the nuclear component and the ballistic missile component of the program.


Bijou Drains 12-24-2019 10:33 AM

It's already Christmas in North Korea. So the surprise can happen at any time.

Snowboarder Bo 12-24-2019 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donald Trump
Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test. I may get a nice present from him. You don’t know. You never know.

https://apnews.com/a0c322ada689cc214d75e6b9a2f91720

asahi 12-24-2019 11:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo (Post 22044104)

In rare agreement with Bolton, time is indeed on the side of the proliferator, but not just in the sense that it allows NK (or Iran or anyone else) to develop weapons; it weakens leverage that we have to make an agreement that is on terms favorable (reasonable) to both parties.

There's a difference between having an agreement in, say, 1998, or 2003, or even 2013, when the US can reach a constructive framework in which it demonstrates not only to its allies but potential foes as well that we can strike a balance between pressure (when truly necessary) and incentives to encourage constructive behavior and trust....and an agreement in 2020 or 2021 in which the US is basically forced to admit that its policies of pressure first, pressure only, unconditional disarming is a demonstrable failure. In the latter scenario, the US is a card player that overplays its hand and demonstrates to friends and foes alike that we don't know what we're doing.

Such a result forces partners like Japan, South Korea, and others to reevaluate their relationship with the United States. They have to ask whether the supposed advantages of relying heavily on the US for protection is worth it, and whether we're really going to be there in the event that they need us. The US is powerful not just because it's powerful but also because we can project power. And we've been able to project power because other countries have allowed us to use their territory and ports of call for military purposes. In short, Trump's behavior with NK, with Russia, with Turkey, and with Iran are discrediting the US as a major world power. We're losing the ability to project power. We're in danger of creating a power vacuum - one that *will* be filled by one or more powers, and with powers that will neutralize what they consider to be irksome tendencies of the US, such as the occasional tendency to speak up about human rights.

asahi 12-24-2019 11:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bijou Drains (Post 22044761)
It's already Christmas in North Korea. So the surprise can happen at any time.

I've wondered what benefit they could possibly get from humiliating Trump, which seems a little risky to me.

HMS Irruncible 12-24-2019 01:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asahi (Post 22044877)
I've wondered what benefit they could possibly get from humiliating Trump, which seems a little risky to me.

Nobody's ever gonna want your carrot if they realize you never swing the stick.

asahi 12-24-2019 01:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible (Post 22045075)
Nobody's ever gonna want your carrot if they realize you never swing the stick.

I wouldn't rule out the possibility that Trump ends up swinging his stick violently.

I remember on another thread people referring to Kim Jung Un as "crazy," but although I tend to agree that Trump is probably war-averse, I simultaneously believe that Trump has little ability to calculate the consequences of his actions - which makes him dangerous.

It's not Kim who is crazy or out of touch with reality; it's more likely that our president is the crazy one, and the one crazy enough to start a war, even if by accident. It has been clear for some time that the Kim regime always had an endgame in mind when they were firing missiles over the Sea of Japan. So while Kim's brazen and provocative, that endgame - lifting of sanctions - is evidence that they are actually somewhat sane. They can be reasoned with. You may not like doing business with the mafia, but it's not so bad once you know how they operate and what they want.

It's Trump, not Kim, who is unpredictable, who doesn't really know what he wants, who has a very, very vague idea of what he wants to accomplish, and who has an equally vague understanding of the consequences of his behavior. Someone like that is much, much more likely to propose a peace process out of ignorance because he operates blithely under the assumption that he can just bullshit his way through the process the way he does real estate deals in New York or Florida. And when he awakens and realizes that he's being mocked by Kim and that his intelligence is being mocked by someone like Bolton, he's being set up for humiliation. And that same person is much, much likely to overreact and assume that he (well, our military) has infinite powers that it does not have to neutralize North Korea without regard for the consequences. He will care more about protecting his own ego than he will protecting the millions of people who stand to be harmed by his fake bravado.

HMS Irruncible 12-24-2019 08:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asahi (Post 22045111)
I wouldn't rule out the possibility that Trump ends up swinging his stick violently.

Not sure if I was clear, but I meant Kim feels like he has to swing his stick occasionally for credibility purposes. Plus domestic consumption. Of course Trump experiences that same pressure, but you asked about Kim's actions.

Quote:

It's not Kim who is crazy or out of touch with reality; it's more likely that our president is the crazy one, and the one crazy enough to start a war, even if by accident.
I've argued the same elsewhere 2 years ago, probably in this same thread. Though I think there's a lot of merit to this argument, to me I see other factors having more weight than they once did:
  1. The military establishment is a lot more accustomed to, skeptical of, and inured to, Trump's tantrums.
  2. Trump is a great big chickenshit and everybody knows it.
You might argue that we're in a more dangerous place than ever because Trump might not be 100% chickenshit, and NK might miscalculate. There is some merit to that. But given Trump's record of bluster and backing down in these past 2 years, I feel there's a strong argument that Trump is indeed 100% chickenshit and will not take any action that might damage a hair of his head, to say nothing of his re-election campaign.

If I had to make guesses at this point, I would guess NK would do some provocative things as they have in the past - provocative tests most likely, drone shootdown like Iran, maybe even a ship sinking or artillery barrage. Trump will bluster that Kim has lost his shot at a condo development, and will tear up the "agreement" on television. His base will declare victory and we'll all move on to the next thing.

Bijou Drains 12-25-2019 08:33 AM

90 minutes left of Christmas in N. Korea. I guess they probably want to do whatever they plan to do during the day here in the US.

asahi 12-25-2019 08:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bijou Drains (Post 22046082)
90 minutes left of Christmas in N. Korea. I guess they probably want to do whatever they plan to do during the day here in the US.

It could also be at the end of the year or the beginning of next year; IIRC, the detente unofficially ends at the end of this year.

Bijou Drains 12-25-2019 08:57 AM

or maybe their plan was to do something today but they are having technical problems. Rockets are hard, just ask Boeing.

asahi 12-25-2019 09:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bijou Drains (Post 22046113)
or maybe their plan was to do something today but they are having technical problems. Rockets are hard, just ask Boeing.

That's possible, too.

But it's pretty clear that we're about to go back to the pre-2018 behavior from North Korea - whether it's tomorrow or next week or next month isn't important.

simster 12-25-2019 09:31 AM

Just like Trump, Kim wants to make sure everyone is paying attention to him, so he will make these announcements and _maybe_ follow thru with them.

I thought it interesting that he made his promise as the impeachment in the house was revving up toward the inevitable - and maybe the 'present' was delayed until the articles are sent to the senate

"how dare you impeach a president in this heightened state of crisis with N.Korea - afterall, Only Trump can go there"

asahi 12-25-2019 09:34 AM

Meanwhile, Trump's subdued reaction was priceless.

"Maybe it's a vase"

Hell, his reaction - the same expression that he had on his face when he walked out with Putin in Helsinki - gives himself away. You can tell that even he knows he's bullshitting himself and has no idea what he's doing or talking about.

Bijou Drains 12-28-2019 02:44 PM

Experts say Little rocket man never halted efforts to build new weapons

https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...741_story.html

HMS Irruncible 12-28-2019 05:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bijou Drains (Post 22046082)
90 minutes left of Christmas in N. Korea. I guess they probably want to do whatever they plan to do during the day here in the US.

Not terribly surprising... like most Asian countries, Christmas has no real significance. However, New Years is a really important holiday, so I wouldn't be surprised if the fireworks are scheduled on/around that time.

Snowboarder Bo 12-29-2019 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bijou Drains (Post 22049623)
Experts say Little rocket man never halted efforts to build new weapons

https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...741_story.html

Duh. Only a fucking idiot would have thought they were actually stopping those efforts.

Fear Itself 12-29-2019 12:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible (Post 22049797)
Not terribly surprising... like most Asian countries, Christmas has no real significance. However, New Years is a really important holiday, so I wouldn't be surprised if the fireworks are scheduled on/around that time.

Is Korean New Years on January 1? The Chinese New Year is in the spring I believe.

HLMGTFY:

Saturday, January 25 is Korean New Year in South Korea. I don't see anything different for North Korea.

HMS Irruncible 12-29-2019 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fear Itself (Post 22050717)
Is Korean New Years on January 1? The Chinese New Year is in the spring I believe.

Korea celebrates both the lunar new year and the Gregorian new year. Gregorian New Year (January 1) is on the List of public holidays in North Korea. It's not the most important holiday, but it's infinitely more important than Christmas.

HMS Irruncible 12-29-2019 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wguy123 (Post 22010196)
"The relapse of the dotage of a dotard" is Trump in a nutshell.

I think of this poor translator a lot. He can't tell the boss that he wrote this viral ad copy that's catching on like wildfire, and is actually very good work, because he'd have to admit it's unintentional humor from not doing his job very well.

Bijou Drains 12-31-2019 07:08 AM

As I mentioned I think they had tech problems that prevented the Christmas surprise. Rather than have a firm deadline they likely will wait until they think the rocket is good to go.

asahi 12-31-2019 03:25 PM

I wouldn't read too much into the fact that the Christmas present hasn't arrived yet. There may well have been technical problems, but another (I think likelier) possibility is that they want to make sure that they're ready to show it off, whatever it is. They don't want to be embarrassed. NK also probably wanted to hold off until the end of the year.

Horatius 01-01-2020 11:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asahi (Post 22046154)
Meanwhile, Trump's subdued reaction was priceless.

"Maybe it's a vase"

Hell, his reaction - the same expression that he had on his face when he walked out with Putin in Helsinki - gives himself away. You can tell that even he knows he's bullshitting himself and has no idea what he's doing or talking about.



If I was Kim, I'd be commissioning a vase with a mushroom cloud on the side of it right now.


But, I'm not, so this is what Kim is doing:

Kim Jong Un warns hostile US policy means there will never be denuclearization on Korean Peninsula

Mijin 01-02-2020 01:58 AM

My youtube feed for some reason was showing me news shows that were over a year old (:smack:) and it was funny to hear many of Trump's defenders pivoting from whatever terrible thing Trump had done that day by invoking "C'mon people, how can you criticize him for corruption / ripping up alliances / lying like a 5 year old? He's achieved peace on the Korean peninsula!!"

Now that we're essentially back to square one I'm sure those people will now freely criticize trump, and not find other things to pivot to.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:33 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.