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Trump Incorrectly Faults Obama for Not Freeing Otto Warmbier

President Trump Tuesday suggested Barack Obama screwed up by not getting Otto Wamrbier out of North Korea immediately, before he was put into the coma that killed him.

So, like, how should Obama have gotten Wamrbier out? Threaten nuclear war?

Trump spoke to reporters in the Oval Office during a photo op with Ukrainian President Poroshenko:

It’s a total disgrace what happened to Otto. It should never, ever be allowed to happen. And frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the results would have been a lot different . . . He should have brought home that same day. The results would have been a lot different. What happened to Otto is a disgrace. And I spoke with his family. His family is incredible.

I’m getting little concerned that Trump is conducting foreign policy based on emotion. Our approach to places like North Korea needs to be based on cold, hard calculation, not how we feel about Otto Warmbier.

Warmbier’s case is tragic. He was by all accounts a great young man — smart, personable, and endlessly curious about life. Unfortunately in this case, curiosity killed the cat, and he made a very bad decision to go to North Korea. I deeply hate what happened to him, and you can excuse a kid a dumb idea, but it was still his decision.

Trump in April bombed Syria, citing the deaths of “beautiful babies.” While that’s tragic, the doomed beautiful babies we happen to see are not a reason to bomb Syria. Trump was right to do it, but only because he was enforcing the red line against the use of chemical weapons, which is a serious national security issue. As you may remember, the red line was drawn by Obama, who crapped in his pants the minute Bashar Assad crossed it.

Trump also spent what appears to be considerable diplomatic capital getting an American released from Egypt, and then made a very big deal about it. Two days later, North Korea seized a hostage, and within a couple of weeks grabbed another one.

I doubt it’s a coincidence. And Trump’s comments today on Warmbier only shows our enemies that we can fall prey to sentimentalism when conducting foreign policy, which not only perverts our national security objectives, but gives the bad guys added incentive to . . . take more hostages.


13 Responses to Trump Incorrectly Faults Obama for Not Freeing Otto Warmbier

  1. Presumably, Obama could have gotten Warmbier out the same way that Trump did. I do agree that Trump should keep emotion out of it. And, I hope that it was made clear in the discussions w/ NK re: Warmbier’s release that the taking of another American hostage will not be tolerated.

  2. Of course it’s not Obama’s fault this young man wandered into NoKo and found himself a victim of the worst and most brutal regime in the Far East.
    He surely can’t or won’t blame the victim or his family or the tour group for this most terrible outcome.
    As for the bombing of Syria – it was a long time coming and about time, too. After almost a decade of wishy-washy foreign policy and rump kissing of tyrants, MrTrump returned our intent to keep peace and/or civility in the world – even if we have to bomb them out of existence.

  3. Unlike Obama we didn’t pay to get his return. There was no special deal attached to get this boy home to die.

    Trump bombed our enemies. I have no problem with that. However he wants to characterize it to the public is ok by me. He clearly knows what the objective was an he ordered it.

    By the way, the “beautiful babies” thing. The Democrats use that stuff all the time. No one seems to object.


  5. “So, like, how should Obama have gotten Wamrbier out? Threaten nuclear war?”

    No. He could’ve simply turned over five, hardened, Islamic terrorists.

  6. “I’m getting little concerned that Trump is conducting foreign policy based on emotion.”

    Worse than the #hashtag foreign policy we’ve had for the last eight years?

  7. Come on, Obama didn’t want the family to go on TV to talk about this, or even put out yellow ribbons, lest they hurt North Korea’s feelings! Obama gave zero help to the American (Marine, I think?) who wandered into Mexico and was held for quite awhile. I’m sure Obama was very busy springing terrorists out of Gitmo.

    • Gotta disagree with Keith here….

      1. Trump did not name Obama – small point.
      2. Emotion.. We are not ‘afraid’ of KimJungCrazy because he is rational. We fear people who MIGHT get pissed off and do something.
      3. Risk — the risk goes to our enemies.. You do not know exactly what Trump will say and do.. The variability of expected outcome drives them mad.

  8. Our President Donald John Trump did not get where he is by letting emotion impact his decision making. Please to not conflate the way he speaks about it to us with the cold hard reasoning and calm evaluation that went into actually making decisions. He has deep feelings, and they guide his integrity in decision making, not the decisions themselves.

    President Trump made his position very clear on both these kinds of hostage situations 37 years ago. It was a wise – hard, but wise – position then, and it remains so today, so I think he should stick with it. In an interview with Playboy magazine in 1990, he was asked:
    Interviewer:” Would you rescue our remaining hostages in Lebanon?”
    Donald Trump: “Number one, in almost all cases, the hostages were told by our Government not to be there. If a man decides to become a professor at Beirut University, when he was told not to be there, and that person is captured–”
    Interviewer: “He deserves it?”
    Donald Trump: “You feel very bad for him, but you cannot base foreign policy on his capture. With that being said, when they killed our Colonel Higgins, I would have retaliated militarily immediately. I would have hit something vital to them. And hit it hard. In any other case, I would let the takers of hostages know that they’d have one week to return that hostage. And after that week, all bets would be off. You would not have any more hostages taken, believe me. Weakness always causes problems.”