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Trump Undermines the Military Option

President Trump is right to try to pursue diplomacy with Kim Jong-un, and to meet with him personally.

It’s typical that Trump does game-changing stuff and everyone objects that he’s breaking protocol by not having deals in hand first. How well has “protocol” worked before? That’s the point of Trump.

But I hope there is more than meets the eye here. What I’ve seen isn’t very much – more promises from North Koreans. That’s very old school. But hopefully there’s a lot we don’t know about.

Either way, Trump should not be weakening the military option. The perception that he would use force is what brought North Korea to the bargaining table. But weaken it is exactly what he did during his press conference Tuesday when he described how horrific a war could be.

Question: Thank you, Mr. President. Could you talk about the military consequences for North Korea if they don’t follow through on the commitments that you’re talking about? Could there be military action?

Trump: Well, I don’t want to talk. Yeah, I know. That’s a tough thing to talk about because I don’t want to be threatening. I don’t want to be threatening. They understood that. And you’ve seen what was, perhaps, going to happen.

And you know, Seoul has 28 million people. We think we have big cities. Seoul has 28 million people. We think we have big cities. You look at New York, where it has 8 million people. We think it’s a big city. Seoul has 28 million people. Think of that. And it’s right next to the border. It’s right next to the DMZ. It’s right there. I mean, if this would have happened, I think — you know, I’ve heard, oh, a hundred-thousand people. I think you could have lost 20 million people, 30 million people. This is really an honor for me to be doing this because I think, you know, potentially, you could have lost, you know, 30-, 40-, 50 million people. The city of Seoul, one of the biggest cities in the world, is right next to the border.

Mr. President, don’t get carried away by the effect you think you are having on Kim. You have done the right thing by meeting with him. But he is a venomous snake who runs concentration camps and kills his own brother and uncle. His goal is to keep his nuclear weapons and to unite the Koreas under his rule.

I suspect Trump understands that and is doing “art of the deal” stuff by entering a phase where he pretends Kim is his best buddy. But he still has to send the right signals, and horror of war isn’t one of them.

6 Responses to Trump Undermines the Military Option

  1. He doesn’t want to go to war with NoKo.
    We don’t want to go to war with NoKo.
    NoKo doesn’t want to go to war with us.
    Everyone knows that “button” is still sitting on the desk in the Oval Office.
    Let’s let this play out, let’s see what happens before everyone gets all hysterical and demands immediate gratification.

  2. I came to WHD because I knew the rest of the media would be repeating the same old thing. I believe, Keith, that unlike Obama, Trump has been in this position before and one shiny day hasn’t fooled him either. Probably getting Rocket Man out of North Korea to see a bit of the world has been the most effective part of this effort. We’ll see. I am glad that President Trump mentioned Otto Warmbier – my heart grieves for what his parents must be going through even if they know that the world continues on it way even in the face of a tragedy.

    • Exactly right. I read it years ago and am now rereading it. It’s a roadmap for how Trump approaches issues and projects. Even now. It’s why he is light years ahead of his adversaries or for those who cannot “understand” him. Yet, it’s all (or mostly all) in his book written many years ago. I understand his “praise”, if we want to call it that, for Kim, completely. It’s a tactic to get Fat Boy to the place he wants him, psychologically, (along with many other tactics). I’m sure he loathes the guy, but he clearly knows exactly how Kim’s brain is wired up. Would it be more productive to insult Kim and have the guy all wound up with anger and then try to get a deal with him? Of course not. But the “smart set” still doesn’t get it, and probably never will. It’s why they’re always two months behind Trump and always will be.

      • Right on. I loved it when Trump even showed off the Beast to Kim. ‘My ride is bigger than your ride.’ Perfect catnip play.

  3. That ‘uncomfort’ you feel Keith what is the mastery of the Trump mind game…

    He is testing his Rocket Boy on so many levels… if he stays on course he gets more rewards and less punishment…

    I think Trump has Mr Kim’s attention.

    PS — The ‘look at my car’ was an awesome move…. a friendship move, an alphamale move and a ‘if you think the technology on my car is cool…Imagine what my nuke button is like’ move.