North Korea

John Bolton as scapegoat

Featured image President Trump must be frustrated. That, at least, is the most innocent explanation I can think of for the way he behaves. Trump has plenty to be frustrated about. By now, if one believed candidate Trump, our border with Mexico should be secure, thanks to a big beautiful wall paid for by Mexico. It isn’t. By now, the trade war with China should be won. After all, Trump assured us »

Two cheers for Trump’s North Korea policy

Featured image It’s amusing to observe how some on both sides of the political divide are talking about President Trump’s North Korea diplomacy. Some anti-Trumpers castigate the president for “making nice” with a despicable dictator like Kim Jong Un, when there is no realistic hope of a deal that leads to North Korea’s denuclearization. Some Trump supporters applaud Trump’s outreach to the dictator as an “art of the deal” moment that may, »

New White House press secretary runs interference for media. . .literally

Featured image Stephanie Grisham is the new White House press secretary, having just replaced Sarah Sanders. Grisham has been Melania Trump’s spokesperson (and still is, I think). From what I have heard, she is decent, hard working, and tough. Today in North Korea, Grisham took on North Korean security personnel in order to enable members of the U.S. media to gain access to an area where President Trump was meeting with Kim »

Trump, Kim, and Otto Warmbier

Featured image President Trump returned from the Hanoi summit essentially empty-handed, but so did Kim Jong Un. It’s no surprise that Trump couldn’t persuade Kim to denuclearize. The prospect Trump held out to him — a booming economy like Vietnam’s — isn’t all that enticing. Kim has at least as much power, and almost certainly more, over North Koreans than the leadership in Hanio has over Vietnamese. Since his overriding goal is »

No deal

Featured image President Trump’s summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un — this one in Hanoi — has concluded with no agreement. I have embedded Trump’s 37-minute press conference with Secretary Pompeo in its entirety below (thank you, MSNBC). It is worth a close look. Kim wanted sanctions lifted in their entirety in exchange for too much of nothing (the dismantling of the Yongbyon nuclear complex). It had always worked for Kim »

Trump’s North Korea policy earns praise from experts

Featured image The Washington Post tells us that experts at Stanford University chart the degree of risk of war with North Korea, as they perceive it, on a color-coded chart. Bright red indicates high risk. When Barack Obama left office, eight out of 11 boxes were bright red. When President Trump started calling North Korea’s dictator “Little Rocket Man,” the number of such boxes increased to nine. Now, with the diplomatic relations »

Report: North Korea is working on new missiles

Featured image According to the Washington Post, U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. The Post cites “officials familiar with the intelligence.” It also provides a commercial satellite image, taken on July 7, showing the factory in question. The photo includes a vehicle the Post says is similar to »

Shocker: North Korea not denuclearizing, not cooperating

Featured image I doubt that any sensible, objective observer expected North Korea to denuclearize in response to President Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un. However, there was some reason to hope for a modicum of cooperation between the U.S. and North Korea on other issues, though such cooperation was hardly assured. As things stand now, there seems to be precious little cooperation and, of course, no movement towards denuclearization. The Washington Post »

The Latest From Michael Ramirez

Featured image I know, I’m jumping the gun on tomorrow’s Week In Pictures. But here’s the thing–I can access a preview of Steve’s post, which will go up in the morning, and these cartoons by Michael Ramirez aren’t included. So I offer these three cartoons, all created very recently, with a clear conscience. Michael envisions the Senate battle over confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, a completely unexceptionable nominee, to the Supreme Court. I »

Does Trump have “dictator envy”?

Featured image Philip Rucker of the Washington Post claims that President Trump is “open[ly] embrac[ing] totalitarian leaders around the world.” Rucker also tries to persuade us that Trump’s “embrace” is rooted in a desire to be a dictator himself. Rucker is one of the most persistent and intellectually dishonest Trump-hater among the Post’s squadron of “resisters.” However, I don’t deny that Trump went overboard in praising the odious Kim Jong Un. Thus, »

About that salute

Featured image President Trump’s enemies are expressing outrage that he saluted a North Korean general. They compare it to President Obama’s bow to the Saudi king, which Trump found objectionable, and find it far more offensive given the extraordinary odiousness of the North Korean regime. But Trump’s salute was nothing like Obama’s bow. I’m sure you’ve seen the video of the salute, but let’s recap what happened. Trump extended his hand to »

Trump and Kim: Who got more?

Featured image Any accounting of the diplomacy between President Trump and Kim Jong Un should take into account not only what was agreed to in Singapore, but also what was agreed to before the summit. It should not take into account mere agreement to strive for denuclearization, prosperity, peace, love, and understanding. What did Trump get for the United States? The release of three American captives; the return of remains of missing »

The Kim Destiny Pictures Video: Brilliant or Stupid? [Updated]

Featured image A long-time reader with whom we correspond frequently sent us a link to “President Trump’s Video Message To Kim Jong Un: ‘A New Peaceful World Can Begin Today,'” with the comment: “Have you guys seen this? Brilliant video.” Scott was less than impressed, and wondered what is good about it. Steve suggested that the video’s “goofy style” may be based on a psychological profile of Kim Jong-Un, or maybe on »

How anti-Trump hysteria helps the president on North Korea

Featured image Most of us realize that the hysterical anti-Trump resistance has difficulty keeping its talking points straight. The latest example concerns North Korea. Last year’s talking point was that Trump, with his “fire and fury” talk, was leading the U.S. into a nuclear war with North Korea. It was a ridiculous claim. The likelihood of Kim Jong Un launching a first strike against the U.S., thereby bringing on “fire and fury,” »

The agreement

Featured image From what I can tell, the summit in Singapore produced a “small ball” agreement. North Korea will return the recovered remains of POW/MIAs and work with us to recover and return additional remains. It will also shutter one missile engine testing site. The U.S. will stop holding the regular “war games” it conducts in conjunction with South Korea. (It’s not clear how the South Koreans feel about ending the “war »

What happened? TK

Featured image President Trump and the psycho formerly known as Little Rocket Man have concluded their summit conference in Singapore. Their time together included a working lunch resulting in a signed an anorexically skinny agreement with a provision committing North Korea to “complete denuclearization” (text here). President Trump followed up with a press conference (text here). My daughter Eliana followed the proceedings as the pool reporter on the scene. Eliana’s account for »

How to Read a Newspaper (Updated)

Featured image One of the most important skills I learned from my teacher of international relations, the great Harold Rood of Claremont McKenna College, was how to read a newspaper. I’m not referring to what order to read the paper, or how to “deconstruct” news stories to surmise what is left out, but rather as clues to what is really going on and who has the initiative. This skill was a variation »