Saying only “absolute force” will work on Trump (ABC News). From another story: After President Donald Trump shocked his national security team with his off-the-cuff fire-and-fury remarks about North Korea on Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is trying to walk back his boss’s comments—without saying Trump was off base. “What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson told pool reporters Wednesday morning (Weekly Standard). USA Today notes “The U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean is home to 7,000 American military personnel, strategic bombers and Navy ships within striking range of Pacific hot spots, including the Korean Peninsula” (USA Today). From David French: As my colleague Jim Geraghty notes today, among the lessons that the North Koreans took from the Gulf War was simple: “Don’t let the United States mass its forces.” I’d go even farther — given our military advances since 1991, the lesson is more simple: “Don’t let the United States strike first” (National Review). The New York Times, which claims Trump “seemed to cultivate this sense of alarm” believes there is no real threat (NY Times). Looking back at Bill Clinton’s deal that led him to claim North Korea was no longer in the nuke seeking business, Jim Geraghty notes “As with the Iran deal many years later, the deal with North Korea was not a formal treaty and thus never ratified by Congress. Of course, the North Koreans cheated; the U.S. provided oil, two light water reactors, and a new electric grid, altogether worth roughly $5 billion, in exchange for promises” (National Review). From Hillary Clinton, circa June, 2016: “Donald Trump’s statements about North Korea show that he has more interest in making Kim Jong Un like him than backing up our friends and allies in the region” (Newsweek).
January 19, 2018