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Mike Pompeo's Reckless Approach to North Korea Shows Why He Shouldn't Be Secretary of State

Pompeo's past support for regime change, and his current refusal to disavow the idea, disqualify him for the position of America's top diplomat.

Ron Sachs/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomRon Sachs/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomThere are many reasons CIA Director Mike Pompeo should not be secretary of state, but the biggest may be his reckless, dishonest, and incoherent remarks about North Korea to the Senate last week. This becomes all the more troubling given President Trump's Wednesday announcement that Pompeo is already at the forefront of U.S.–North Korea relations, having met with Kim last week.

Two exchanges during Pompeo's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee deserve note. The first, at the 53-minute mark of C-SPAN's video, began when Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) pressed Pompeo to clarify how he'd like U.S.–North Korea tensions to be resolved. Pompeo was evasive, claiming it is a "misstatement" to say he supports regime change and offering the exceedingly vague goal of "a position where Kim Jong-un is unable to threaten the United States with a nuclear weapon," which could mean anything from assassination to Kim's sudden embrace of America. When Cardin kept pushing, Pompeo said he has "never advocated for regime change" and is not doing so now.

A little over an hour later, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tried to nail down Pompeo's view of ground war on the Korean peninsula. Markey introduced the subject by citing Defense Secretary James Mattis' belief that the United States is "never out of diplomatic options" in North Korea; the Pentagon's assessment that "the only way to locate and destroy—with complete certainty—all components of North Korea's nuclear weapons programs would be through a ground invasion"; and the projection that between 30,000 and 300,000 U.S. troops would die in the first few days of such a war alone.

Pompeo was undeterred by the prospect of such catastrophe. "I suppose I could hypothesize such situations," he said of supporting a first strike ground war. "Could I imagine one? Yes....I can imagine times when America would need to take a response that moved past diplomacy" and on to unprovoked, mass-scale war on a regime armed with nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons it will almost certainly use if faced with the existential threat of a preventive U.S. attack.

This is reckless beyond belief, and it should disqualify Pompeo completely for the role of chief diplomat.

Global interventionist John Bolton's nomination to the post of national security advisor is ominous enough. Bolton should not be granted Pompeo's help in diminishing the role of diplomacy in U.S. foreign policy and undermining comparatively restrained administration voices like Mattis. The secretary of state should not be less committed to diplomacy than the secretary of defense.

Pompeo's testimony was also dishonest, and crudely so: He expressed support for regime change in North Korea less than a year ago. "As for the [Kim] regime, I am hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system," Pompeo said in Colorado last summer. "The North Korean people, I'm sure, are lovely people and would love to see him go." Anyone of good conscience agrees that Kim leads an inhumane and abhorrent government. But to deplore the regime is not the same as to hope for a forcible U.S.-orchestrated ouster, as Pompeo clearly did. If he lied about having "never advocated for regime change," why should we take seriously his claim he does not support it now?

Is this the representative the United States should have on the world stage? The president's proclivity for demonstrable falsehoods is well-established. Should we field a secretary of state with the same failing? Will the U.S. be credible at the negotiating table with a diplomat who so clearly contradicts himself on record? Will that enhance American security or foster global stability or peace?

And then there's the internal incoherence of Pompeo's remarks: In what scenario will an unprovoked U.S. ground invasion of North Korea not involve regime change? What hypothetical does Pompeo imagine in which he finds himself supporting the former without the latter? Even if regime change is not the primary goal of such an attack, it is inconceivable that Kim would believe his position safe and react accordingly.

U.S. ground war on North Korea, as M.I.T. political scientist Barry Posen has explained at The New York Times, would not be a surprise attack. It is "all but inevitable that many thousands of civilians, and American and South Korean soldiers, would die," Posen writes, as the Kim regime, deprived of its central aim of survival, would unleash hell on its way out.

Posen concludes the "complexity, risks, and costs of a military strike against North Korea are too high." Pompeo, incredibly, does not. This would be foolish in any case; it is madness coming from a man who would be secretary of state.

Photo Credit: Ron Sachs/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at Defense Priorities. She is a contributing writer at The Week and a columnist at Rare, and her writing has also appeared at Relevant Magazine and The American Conservative, among other outlets.

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    Man, i hate knowing that, two seconds after that picture was taken, Mike Pompeo unhinged his jaw and swallowed the photographer whole.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I just snorkel snorted my keyboard to death

  • MarioLanza||

    Reason.com proves it no better than the Graun. Conservative have their photos looking ridiculous and leftists look responsible. Unfortunately your reaction shows that the implicit bias to be effective and many naive people can't see through it.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I think a bigger reason he shouldn't be Sec. of State is that creepy ass Joker looking grin on his punchable face in that picture. Seriously, that face is the stuff of nightmares.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I dunno, man. He looks like if you punched him your fist would come back sticky.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    If it came back at all. It might get stuck.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Or bitten.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Mike Pompeo's approach to North Korea is nowhere near as reckless as Ellen Pompeo's approach to character acting on Grey's Anatomy.

  • MarioLanza||

    hmmm, no mention of the NoRK freeze of nuclear testing. That didn't happen under Obama. Quite the contrary.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Two authoritarians talking means they both understand each other.

    Trump gets blamed for getting NK close to nuking the USA.

    Trump gets blamed for trying to resolve Korea without going to war.

    Trumps gets blamed for using threats of tariffs to push China into pushing N Korea into realistic talks.

    Trump gets blamed for sending someone to NK to talk that is not approved by the Lefties.

    Me thinks the media does not have America's best interests in mind.

  • John||

    This article is Dalmia or Chapman level dishonest. I can't believe Reason publishes this crap. I should but it still surprises even me.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I can. Hating Trump appears to Trump anything remotely in America's interests. Another reason why progressives are our existential enemies. And the enemy that must be dealt with most of all if we are to survive as a country. Or at least as a country that in any way resembles a constitutional republic.

  • John||

    Oddly enough the only one on the staff who seems to have not lost his mind over Trump is Gillespie.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    That's something anyway. Nick isn't an idiot. When I see him take idiotic positions it's downright painful. At least he still has some sense.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Depends on whether or not he's wearing the Jacket.

  • Devastator||

    progressive are no more the "existential enemies" than the alt-right who hate immigration and thin women and minorities should know their place (aka go back to the 1800s) and that government should be more autocratic. Both are nuts and need to go away.

  • ||

    I don't know why they publish it either. Maybe buying the rights to syndicated content includes mandatory publishing?

    This is really an awful article. The Dalmia and Chapman comparisons are apt.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    Imagine my surprise to see LoveC and John fighting to see who can jam Trump's cock further down their own throats.

  • John||

    Imagine my surprise to find a lefty troll wasting everyone's time throwing shit.

    No one cares dumb ass.

  • Devastator||

    No we just don't want a warhawk doing peace talks.

  • MSimon||

    Worse is a peacehawk doing war talks.

  • John||

    He expressed support for regime change in North Korea less than a year ago. "As for the [Kim] regime, I am hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system," Pompeo said in Colorado last summer. "The North Korean people, I'm sure, are lovely people and would love to see him go." Anyone of good conscience agrees that Kim leads an inhumane and abhorrent government. But to deplore the regime is not the same as to hope for a forcible U.S.-orchestrated ouster, as Pompeo clearly did.

    That is a completely dishonest characterization of what Pompeo said. Saying you are hopeful you can find a way "separate the regime from this system" is not hoping the US invades the North. Regime change can come peaceably. And nothing Pompeo said indicates he would prefer it not. The article calls Pompeo a liar and then lies about Pompeo. If you are going to call someone a liar, it is best to avoid lying yourself while doing so.

  • Ron||

    I think Reason has gotten so deep in the TDS that anyone associated with it must be criminal bathshit liar as well. I know people that think his entire family including Barron Trump should be put in hard labor prison. I think Reason has gone down the same rabbit hole and leaves very little reason to read their articles anymore since we know where they will lead

  • John||

    Chapman, a guy who never saw an authoritarian or hostile regime that shouldn't be placated, is this morning writing about Trump's strange appeasement of Russia. That article read in light of everything else Chapman has written goes beyond hypocrisy and into the realm of insanity.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    Take Trumps cock out of your ass, Ron.
    Or maybe just go back to listening to The Big Fat Idiot's Radio show.

  • John||

    Keep the deep thoughts coming there Tiger.

  • Ron||

    Well that moved the discussion forward. NOT

  • Devastator||

    Bye Felisha!

  • TheZeitgeist||

    It would be strange playing North Korea gotcha-games with a clown like Markey after secretly meeting with Missile Boy himself the week before.

  • Ron||

    It sounds like a smart move by Pompeo to not let the democrats bully him into giving away our strategies for dealing with North Korea or forcing him into limiting his options.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Anything the democrats are for is bad for America.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    Did Brietard ban you, Fak?
    Why are you even here?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    To slap down weak little bitches like you, apparently.

    No bugger off, m'kay?

  • Curt||

    "Pompeo was undeterred by the prospect of such catastrophe. "I suppose I could hypothesize such situations... Could I imagine one? Yes....I can imagine times when America would..."

    ...

    "This is reckless beyond belief, and it should disqualify Pompeo completely for the role of chief diplomat."

    For clarity, is that disqualification on the basis of the situations that he is will to consider/hypothesize/imagine? Or is that disqualification on the basis of admitting that he would imagine these situations?

    Don't get me wrong... Fuck Pompeo. But, that seems to be a pretty slim standard for "reckless beyond belief".

  • Ron||

    its pretty slim considering its his job to think of every alternative that might be faced by the U.S. and one alternative maybe all out war.

  • Devastator||

    He is a neocon, all routes lead to war for him.

  • John||

    What if North Korea really did fire a missile that hit a US city, would Bonnie Kristian think the US attacking North Korea in self defence "beyond reckless"? I doubt it or if she does, she has a pretty reckless view of self defense. All Pompeo said was he could imagine a situation where it happened. I am sure he can. Everyone with a brain can.

    I don't understand how people can write shit this dishonest. Just tell the truth for God's sake.

  • Curt||

    Well, in fairness to the author, the rest of that paragraph refers to both "unprovoked" and "preventive". So, a response to a missile from NK that hit a US city would be a different topic.

  • John||

    No it doesn't. Bonnie puts her language in with his. Pompeo never said unprovoked attack. Look at the mess of a paragraph you are referring to. It says,

    Pompeo was undeterred by the prospect of such catastrophe. "I suppose I could hypothesize such situations," he said of supporting a first strike ground war. "Could I imagine one? Yes....I can imagine times when America would need to take a response that moved past diplomacy" and on to unprovoked, mass-scale war on a regime armed with nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons it will almost certainly use if faced with the existential threat of a preventive U.S. attack.

    The actual quote from Pompeo ends with "a response that moved past diplomacy". The rest of it "on to unprovoked mass scale war..." is Bonnie's words not his. You can't overstate how dishonest she is being here.

  • Happy Chandler||

    You seem to have skipped over the words "first strike".

  • John||

    Which are her words not his.

  • Curt||

    Agreed that the paragraph is a mess and without actual quotes/video (and i'm not going through that much cspan while I'm sitting at work), I don't know exactly what the intended setting was for Pompeo's words.

    Pompeo's talking about imagining a strike. But it's not clear if that strike is provoked or not.

    Either way, Bonnie is the one saying that an unprovoked/preventive strike would be reckless. Your post talked about a provoked attack. So, when I said a response to a missile from NK would be a different topic, that is different from what Bonnie's talking about, but maybe/maybe-not different from what Pompeo's talking about.

  • John||

    Even at that, she endorses the fallacy that any first strike is necessarily unprovoked. There are all kinds of things North Korea could do short of a military attack that would justify a military response on the US's part. What if they kidnapped a few dozen Americans and started executing them? What if they conducted some kind of cyber attack on the world's financial system? What if they gave a fission weapon to a terrorist group. None of those things would be strictly speaking a military attack on the US. But a US attack in response would certainly not be called "unprovoked."

    One of the ironies of this article is that she claims to be for peace but what she advocates (Pompeo saying the US would never under any circumstances launch a first strike) would make war more not less likely. You want some ambiguity in adversary nations' positions. All red lines do is either turn what should be a small dispute into a question of national credibility when one nation crosses them or cause one nation to miscalculate and do something that provokes their adversary because the adversary made a red line statement that really wasn't true. Bonnie is advocating for the latter.

  • Curt||

    Generally agreed. But, I also think this is just going further into the realm of debating things that were unsaid (by either Pompeo or Bonnie).

    I think her article is talking about a truly unprovoked attack (i.e. we attack them tomorrow because we've given up hope on the possibility of a peaceful resolution and want to make sure we eliminate their capability before it's used). I think the things Pompeo is "imagining" may involve the types of scenarios you describe (provocative... even if not an outright military attack), but they also may simply involve imagining the US doing a truly unprovoked/preventive strike.

    My issue is that, even if you start from the mindset that I believe she has, calling it "reckless beyond belief" is still a rather extreme interpretation. I think that imagining/hypothesizing such an attack is an important thing to do; if for no other reason than gaining an appreciation of the risks.

  • Curt||

    Ugh. I typed a long response and it didn't post. Short version: I think she's considering a truly unprovoked strike and he could be imagining either that or an example like you list.

    But either way, the concept of a truly unprovoked/preventive strike is still something worthy of imagining/hypothesizing; if for no other reason than gaining an appreciation of the risks. Hardly qualifies as "reckless beyond belief."

  • Curt||

    I do support a preventive strike against squirrelz, but I wouldn't call it unprovoked.

  • Devastator||

    If NK fired a missile at the USA 95% of the citizens would demand they be turned to glass. There are few things that will unite the USA like an attack on it.

  • Jerryskids||

    I can think of a situation where I might be forced to eat my own arm. Doesn't mean that I support cannibalism, just means I don't have an imagination as limited as some people's. "Reckless" would be setting pre-conditions on your own negotiating side by making sure some of your own cards are taken off the table without getting anything in return.

    Don't get me wrong... Fuck Pompeo. But, that seems to be a pretty slim standard for "reckless beyond belief".

  • Ken Shultz||

    The primary qualification for secretary of state at this point is the personal trust the president places in him.

    It is unreasonable to go after the president's nominee--while the chances of the Democrats taking the House in November roughly approximate the chances of the president being impeached for communicating and collaborating with Putin.

    We saw a public blow out between Trump and Nikki Haley the other day, most probably because there is no current secretary of state to coordinate foreign policy and she ended up going off message--a message of which she was probably unaware.

    In the meantime, we have ongoing coordination and ongoing disputes with Putin. The chances of Trump's secretary of state being privy to conversations that will be subject to an impeachment investigation also roughly approximate the chances of the Democrats taking the House. Trump needs to find somebody he can trust to not throw him under the bus.

    We also have sensitive denuclearization talks going with North Korea and a summit to announce progress, hopefully, in June. I hope all this showboating doesn't hurt the country.

  • Devastator||

    She didn't go off message, Trump changed his dotard mind in the middle of the night and didn't mention it to anyone except a few people the next day. This is our great leader.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    "Could I imagine one? Yes....I can imagine times when America would need to take a response that moved past diplomacy" and on to unprovoked, mass-scale war on a regime armed with nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons it will almost certainly use if faced with the existential threat of a preventive U.S. attack.

    Pompeo's an asshat for a lot of reasons, but was he really talking about an unprovoked attack here? In the direct quote here it sounds like he's saying that he "can imagine times when America would need to take a response that moved past diplomacy." So can I. Like, say, an unprovoked nuclear attack by NK on Hawai'i or Guam or on the west coast of the continental United States.

    It seems like Bonnie's assuming that he was talking about mounting an unprovoked land invasion of NK. Maybe he was, I didn't see the testimony, but the parts of his testimony that are quoted in this article aren't clear that he was talking about launching a pre-emptive war on NK.

  • John||

    If there was testimony that put that statement in context to make it clear he meant what Bonnie assumes, why didn't she quote that? Out of kindness? Either she is just amazingly lazy, which is possible but I doubt or she was desperate to write a hit piece and taking that sentence out of context and lying about it was the best she could come up with.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    ...taking that sentence out of context and lying about it...

    Which she should really leave that sort of thing to the mainstream media, because she's clearly not very good at it. Anyone with more than a couple of braincells to rub together and a halfway decent grasp of the English language could see that what she quoted him as saying was not what she claimed he said IN THE VERY NEXT SENTENCE. I mean, if you're going to lie that blatantly about what someone said, at least wait a few paragraphs for the reader to forget what he actually said and then sneak the misrepresentaiton in when they're no longer paying very close attention. Obviously she didn't attend the Columbia School of Journalism.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    If it weren't for double chins, he'd have no chins at all.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    If he didn't have double chins, he'd still have a bunch of other chins.

  • mtrueman||

    "but the biggest may be his reckless, dishonest, and incoherent remarks about North Korea to the Senate last week"

    He's bluffing. And the North Koreans have known it for a while now. Remember their nuclear tests on July 4th last year? It amounted to a taunt at America's lack of resolve.

  • John||

    The North Koreans knew other Presidents were bluffing. They do not know that Trump isn't or at least don't know with enough certainty to bet their lives on it. That, as much as anything, is what has gotten them to the table. It might be just like every other time and turn to nothing. But, the fact that the North is going to agree to end the state of war with the South and agree to not demand US forces leave the peninsula is a reason to hope that this time things are different. Time will tell.

  • The Last American Hero||

    The only statement that seems stranger than "Donald Trump, US President" is "Nobel Peace Prize winners Donald Trump and Dennis Rodman". And yet, the first has happened and the second might not be far behind.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    They do not know that Trump isn't

    Exactly right. We have a wild card in charge of the most powerful military in the worlds history. It's probably the only strategy left that might work with NK.

  • mtrueman||

    "They do not know that Trump isn't or at least don't know with enough certainty to bet their lives on it. "

    The July 4th tests show how seriously they take American bluster. Of course they know Trump is bluffing. They are not idiots.

    "That, as much as anything, is what has gotten them to the table."

    They've been asking for direct negotiations with Americans for years. With Trump, they've found a president whose willing to deal with them. Not that the Americans have much choice given the communists who have been running the south for the last year. The North has long been in favour of peace talks, it's been the South that has resisted, That seems to be changing with the new government in the south, which has been extremely friendly with the north, even for the first time in history sending a joint team in the olympic games etc etc.

    Trump isn't an idiot either. An agreement with the North should be a lot easier than sorting out problems, say, in the middle east. He will get much positive attention in the media, taking their focus off Trump's love of urinating prostitutes and other disgusting aspects of his personal life he'd rather not have everyone know about.

    But I agree with you, these are positive developments which I had hopes for ever since Trump was merely a candidate booed on the stage in South Carolina by stalwart Republicans, railing against endless war.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "SEOUL—South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that North Korea had dropped its longtime insistence that the U.S. remove its 28,500 troops from the Korean Peninsula ahead of a planned summit, saying that it only sought a security guarantee and an end to the U.S.'s "hostile policy."

    The remarks by Mr. Moon—which weren't confirmed by North Korea and drew no immediate U.S. response—would potentially remove a longtime obstacle to talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

    "North Korea hasn't demanded anything that the U.S. can't accept, like the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea," Mr. Moon, who has pressed for peace talks with North Korea, said on Thursday, according to the presidential office in Seoul. "They have only asked for a security guarantee and an end to the 'hostile policy' against it. "This has been confirmed, so that is what is making talks with the U.S. possible."

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/so.....1524156455

    Sometimes facts are helpful.

  • mtrueman||

    "Sometimes facts are helpful."

    Another fact for you. These talks would not be taking place if Pak were still president instead of sitting in prison where she is today. If these talks are successful and lead to a peace agreement, expect Yankee Go Home pressure to come from the South which has had to put up with hosting this rabble for decades now. The South may even demand the US relinquish command over South Korean military forces.

  • John||

    And that would all be a good thing. The whole point of this is to defuse the situation so we can go home.

  • mtrueman||

    I agree with you. But there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Will the North trust Trump (and his successors) to stick with the agreement? Will they get skittish if he trashes Obama's agreement with Iran?

  • soldiermedic76||

    Will NO ever trust anyone? So what other options are there? Asking if they will trust anyone leads to only two other options. We do nothing and hope they play nice (which is unlikely if they treat no one) or we destroy them pre+emptively. I rather we hope Trump is successful.

  • soldiermedic76||

    I may not serve anymore, but I still have cousins and friends who do. I'd rather not put their lives on the line because of your TDS.

  • mtrueman||

    "I'd rather not put their lives on the line because of your TDS."

    I share your pain, to borrow the words of the last North Korean appeaser. I supported Trump during the last election. Tepid support, to be sure, but based precisely on my hopes that he'd go lightly on the imperialism. He's not done too badly on the war front except for his shameless kowtowing to Israel and Saudi Arabia, his support for jihadists and the rape of Yemen.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't know that John is wrong about North Korea, but it's either of or both North Korea or China behind the change.

    I think it's more likely that China is offering us an end to North Korea's nuclear program after Trump put pressure on China's trade. This is what's shaking loose in those contentious negotiations.

    China keeps announcing more concessions on trade, too. They aren't doing it out of the warmness of their heart or because of persuasive statements made by think tanks. They're trying to assuage the Trump administration's demands.

  • mtrueman||

    "I think it's more likely that China is offering us an end to North Korea's nuclear program after Trump put pressure on China's trade."

    You may be right, but pressuring China over Korea, American policy since the turn of the century, will only take you so far. Seems that long sought after direct face-to-face meetings between the North and US, something America has resisted since the Eisenhower admin has been instrumental in whatever progress these negotiations have led to so far. That and of course the 180 degree change in the political climate of the South over the past year.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    The funny thing is, if Trump truly manages to end NK's nuke program decisively without firing a shot, he is worthy of the Noble Peace Prize that was handed out like candy to Obama, who spent eight years making the world a more dangerous place

    Mark my words, Trump could bring everlasting world peace and those globalist progs would never ever give him the Nobel.

  • mtrueman||

    "Trump could bring everlasting world peace and those globalist progs would never ever give him the Nobel."

    Trump doesn't need to share the stage with a medal or bracelet or any other fashion accessory. He's a born showman. Kim. too though, was knocking them dead (not literally but in showbiz jargon) on his recent visits to the South. He has a hot young wife whose face is about to become very famous around the world if the limited experience in the south is anything to go by.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    It's just ironic how what a number Obama's did on international peace and stability, and he gets the Nobel. Where Trump may very well end up making things better, and the international community, mostly leftist trash, will treat him like an insane warmonger.

  • Nardz||

    "He has a hot young wife whose face is about to become very famous around the world if the limited experience in the south is anything to go by."

    Sister (doesn't necessarily exclude wife too...)
    Otherwise, yes - she's pretty, poised, and showed well

  • Sevo||

    "The North has long been in favour of peace talks, it's been the South that has resisted,"

    Bullshit.
    Or bullskit, in your affectation.

  • mtrueman||

    in your world Pak was a great peace maker. Just like the bulldozer.

  • Sevo||

    "in your world Pak was a great peace maker. Just like the bulldozer."

    Responding to the voices in your head does not make you look smarter than your already abysmal rep.

  • mtrueman||

    I think and I know. You bluster and blow.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Wow, totally insightful... Oops I meant sophomoric.

  • Nardz||

    "taking their focus off Trump's love of urinating prostitutes and other disgusting aspects of his personal life he'd rather not have everyone know about."

    Ah, going full Tony here.
    Good to know which posters can be completely ignored when they make assertions.
    Good luck with that TDS, guy

  • mtrueman||

    "Good luck with that TDS, guy"

    You misconstrue. I have as much affection for urinating prostitutes as Trump does.

  • Just Say'n||

    Reason arguing in favor of foreign policy restraint is undercut by its asinine hawkish on Russia and publishing Chapman Russia fever dreams

  • No Yards Penalty||

    this really brought out the war-mongoloiding Contards.
    Did Brietard go dark today?

  • Just Say'n||

    It's cute pretending that the publication that prints Cathy Young and Steve Chapman cares about non-intervention

  • Sevo||

    No Yards Penalty|4.19.18 @ 3:06PM|#
    "this really brought out the war-mongoloiding Contards."
    Cite(s) missing, but it certainly brought out the fucking lefty imbeciles

    "Did Brietard go dark today?"
    Example of such.
    You lost, fucking lefty imbecile, and you keep right on losing. In public.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Hey NYP, you catch a break in between getting spit roasted by Tony and PB? Not sure why a cunt like you is here versus some shitbag site like Media Matters.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I've been vocally opposed to Trump using trade policy as a whip to push China into getting serious about North Korea and their nuclear program, but I've always been prepared to say I was wrong if it worked.

    I hope I was wrong about that. I hope the new secretary of state is wildly successful in getting North Korea to abandon their nuclear and ICBM programs.

    What are you going to say if this turns out to be have been precisely the right tactic?

    I'm reminded of when Reagan walked away from the table at Reykjavik. The press savaged him for his hawkish stupidity.

    When he turned around later and correctly embraced Gorbachev--exactly when he should have--they said Reagan was all flip-flop and wish-washy.

    That's how we wont the Cold War without an ICBM being fired.

    Reagan's critics never walked their criticism back, either. Suddenly, it was everyone around him doing the stupid thing because he was senile.

    I doubt the North Koreans are persuaded to abandon their demands because of appeasement and charm offensives. And I hope the tough talk brings us a negotiated settlement.

    Trump was right in his Syria strategy in eliminating ISIS, and I hope the same kind of realism and pragmatism bears fruit in North Korea--not that the news media will give him any credit for it if that's what happens.

  • colorblindkid||

    The comically absurd changes in the Democrats' positions on everything Russia-related, along with the changes in the way the press has covered Russia, is all you need to know about these people admitting they were wrong. I still see the occasional op-eds that are just whiny "Well Romney was still wrong and Obama's Russia policy was perfect" garbage.

  • mtrueman||

    "What are you going to say if this turns out to be have been precisely the right tactic?"

    Doesn't that depend on what Trump ends up offering the North Koreans as a quid pro quo? What if it turns out that Trump, for example, offers the North the familiar sounding gifts of oil deliveries and assistance with their civilian nuclear programme?

    "not that the news media will give him any credit for it if that's what happens."

    The media will show images of Trump in exotic places doing peaceful things. While the images are being shown they won't be talking about prostitutes urinating. What more do you want from them? (The media, not the urinating prostitutes.)

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Doesn't that depend on what Trump ends up offering the North Koreans as a quid pro quo?"

    Well, what could he offer them?

    He's not offering them a plane load of currency, is he?

    I think it's more likely that Trump rolls back his tariffs on steel and aluminum and abandons the other tariffs he threatened.

    I'm all for that.

    Trump could offer to withdraw American troops from South Korea. I'm not opposed to that either!

    Trump could offer North Korea a direct trade relationship like we have with China. Are you against that?

    The only question is what Trump's version of Reagan's "Trust but Verify" looks like. I doubt it will look like the way Obama completely appeased the Iranians, but if he doesn't put in a robust verification mechanism, then, yeah, I'll probably oppose whatever concessions I don't want anyway.

    But the things I've talked about in this post are things I want Trump to do anyway--even if they don't give up their nuclear program.

  • mtrueman||

    "Well, what could he offer them?"

    Ending economic sanctions against the North must be pretty high on the Northern wish list. But that's up to congress, isn't it? Surely American Libertarians can't oppose ending sanctions.

    "He's not offering them a plane load of currency, is he?"

    The negotiations haven't even started yet. At least formally. We'll see how Trump manages to appease them.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Semantics?

    Trump can offer to support lifting sanctions if North Korea abandons their nuclear program.

    And as far as the negotiations not even having started yet, we've already met with them and discussions are ongoing.

    http://www.cnn.com/2018/04/17/.....index.html

    Summits are generally called for photo ops and to announce deals. Don't confuse the theater for the real thing.

    Like I said, China keeps making trade concessions--not that Reason has bothered to mention ANY of them.

    And don't imagine that Hit & Run is covering the real news. Hell, morning links is mostly about ENB's sex obsessions.

  • mtrueman||

    "Trump can offer to support lifting sanctions if North Korea abandons their nuclear program."

    Yes. but will congress deliver? Clinton offered a similar if not the same deal but was stymied by the Republican controlled lower house. I don't think anyone can predict what it will do or its composition when whatever deal is put before them. All we know is Clinton tried and failed.

    "Like I said, China keeps making trade concessions--not that Reason has bothered to mention ANY of them."

    I imagine they can afford to make concessions. I have no idea if or how the North Korea negotiations are tied up with China, or Japan or South Korea. They would all be given the chance to provide their have their say, no doubt. But it's North Korea who is front and centre here, the rest are a side show. They'll put on a spectacle that the world will not soon forget, given the chance. Wait and see.

  • soldiermedic76||

    North Korea has no choice but to follow anything and everything the Chinese government agrees to. China is the only thing keeping the North Korean government from collapsing. And no matter how batshit Crazy Kim is he realizes that.

  • mtrueman||

    Whose talking points are you parroting today? CNN? FOX? Couldn't be Charly Krauthammer, could it?

  • soldiermedic76||

    Not talking points but reality. North Korea is totally dependant on China. They are unable to feed their army, much less their people. They have no economy or foreign trade except providing slave labor to China. They are completely dependant on China for military protection. Etc. Name one thing that North Korea products itself or is self sufficient at producing?

  • mtrueman||

    "Name one thing that North Korea products itself or is self sufficient at producing?"

    Tunnels.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Totally non-sequitor. So in other words you have nothing to contradict my thesis and your earlier ad hominem attack was just that and nothing more. Okay glad we settled that.

  • mtrueman||

    You think they lack tunnels too? Is that part of your thesis?

  • soldiermedic76||

    Again, another non-sequitor comment. Is this merely deflection because you realized you have no logical point to make? As you are well aware of my thesis was that North Korea is dependant upon China for their survival, and therefore must do what the Chinese wish them to do.

  • mtrueman||

    "Again, another non-sequitor comment."

    Once I wrote 'tunnels' I knew there was nothing to add.

  • Sevo||

    "What if it turns out that Trump, for example, offers the North the familiar sounding gifts of oil deliveries and assistance with their civilian nuclear programme?"

    Yeah, what if?
    What if he offers to ship all the lefty imbeciles over there? What if that, hunh?

  • mtrueman||

    Quid pro quo means give and take in plain English. Trump will have to offer something to them.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|4.19.18 @ 4:38PM|#
    "Quid pro quo means give and take in plain English."
    Yes, we all understand that.
    So are you happy to be loaded in a container with other imbeciles and sent there? I mean we're looking at all the 'what ifs', right?

  • mtrueman||

    If it ever comes up, I promise I'll think about. Is that it, then? No more questions?

  • Sevo||

    "Pompeo's testimony was also dishonest, and crudely so: He expressed support for regime change in North Korea less than a year ago. "As for the [Kim] regime, I am hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system," Pompeo said in Colorado last summer. "The North Korean people, I'm sure, are lovely people and would love to see him go." Anyone of good conscience agrees that Kim leads an inhumane and abhorrent government. But to deplore the regime is not the same as to hope for a forcible U.S.-orchestrated ouster, as Pompeo clearly did."

    As he so clearly did not. You should not lie so transparently; it makes you TDS too obvious.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The thing about TDS is that people don't know when they have it.

    "I mean, haven't you read Trump's tweets?"

    "What about Trump's tweets?!"

    $64,000 Pyramid answer

    "Things that People Say when They have TDS"

  • colorblindkid||

    It's going to be hilarious when Trump winds up being the first president since Jimmy Carter to not start any new wars.

  • Tony||

    Trump derangement syndrome is like cancer of the armoire. It doesn't even make conceptual sense. You cannot be too skeptical of the objectively worst president of all time, past and future (assuming there is one).

    Trump's election was the time to prove your worth as independent-thinking human beings. It should have been enough for you to realize that blindly and shamelessly humping the leg of anything with an (R) after its name had finally gone far enough.

    Everyone here who isn't similarly and inexplicably infatuated with the worst political party in the civilized world is embarrassed by your lame attempts at apologetics, when we all know that if a president with a (D) after his name had followed precisely the same course, you'd be bitching and gloating and cutting yourself in anticipation of the apocalypse.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.19.18 @ 3:50PM|#
    "Trump derangement syndrome is like cancer of the armoire. It doesn't even make conceptual sense."

    Yes, we're all familiar with your denial, Tony.
    It's no longer even amusing, just evidence of your imbecility.
    You lost, loser, and you keep on losing with every post.

  • colorblindkid||

    Trump has not done anything yet that Bill Clinton didn't do.

    Even with the Russia thing, Bill Clinton was even less cooperative with the Chinese fundraising scandal in the 96 elections, when Chinese expats were caught funneling millions of dollars into Democrat campaigns. Dozens of people plead the fifth or refused to cooperate with the investigation, his DOJ absolved him of all blame, and he refused to appoint an independent counsel despite his own FBI director demanding one.

  • Tony||

    And you thought Bill Clinton was the bee's knees, huh?

  • colorblindkid||

    No. Bill Clinton (and his wife) and Donald Trump are both awful, terrible, despicable human beings.

  • Tony||

    Yeah? How many Africans have you saved from AIDS?

  • soldiermedic76||

    Not as much as GWB did but I doubt you give him any credit for that.

  • Tony||

    But I do. I wonder what his corpse vs. AIDS survivor ratio is.

  • soldiermedic76||

    The sad thing is that you actually think you have made a point there.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Tony, it's just a shame you're not a corpse.

  • colorblindkid||

    And this isn't a defense of Trump. I hate Trump. I just don't think he's any worse of a person than most politicians. He's just really really bad at it.

    Whataboutism is only bad when it's being used hypocritically to make excuses for your side. When you are on neither side, whataboutism is just logic.

  • John||

    Whataboutism is almost exclusively used as a way to deflect from the speaker's own hypocrisy. Pointing out that Bill Clinton did things that were a thousand times worse than anything Donald Trump has been accused of doesn't say anything about the merits of Donald Trump. It only points out the hypocrisy of people like Tony who defended Clinton but then act like Trump is guilty of something outrageous.

  • Tony||

    Once again, I did no such thing. I was in middle school when Clinton was president and was still following family tradition of being a Republican. I remember telling tasteless anti-Clinton jokes I'm sure had you pissing yourself with delight at the time. Being a Republican had some pretense of respect back then until Newt then Bush came along and blew all that up forever. Now we have Trump, the trainwreckiest of all human beings, in charge of the US, because of idiots like you.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Unlike the Democrats who last pretense at respectability was... Well I can't think of one in the 20th century and those I can think of in the 19th century were also sorely lacking.

  • Tony||

    That makes you an extreme radical and thus only worth listening to when you're alone in a room.

  • soldiermedic76||

    No, it makes me a student of history.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Wilson? Nope. FDR? Nope. Truman? Almost but still nope. JFK? Nope. Johnson? Hell no! Carter? Nope. Clinton? Nope. Obama? Hell no!
    Democrats in the 19th century? Indian removal, slavery and Jim Crow (and KKK), so again hell no!

  • soldiermedic76||

    And before you blame me for Trump like you did John (actually it is more likely people like you are the reason we have Trump but that is beside the point), I voted for GJ in a state that Trump won easily and Hillary never had a shot at winning. My vote meant nothing.

  • Rev. Arthur Ꮮ. Kirkland||

    You were in middle school for eight years, Tony?

  • Ken Shultz||

    The central symptoms of TDS, to me, are the inability to see the issues because Trump is involved.

    Trump is wrong about some things. He's right about others. And the fact that he's Trump doesn't change anything.

    We used to get invaded by O-people sometimes, and I used to ask them if they disagreed with Ayn Rand about anything. If you can't think of anything you disagree with her on, then maybe my time would better spent talking to someone else.

    It's that way with anti-Trump people, more or less. If they can't think of anything they agree with Trump on, they may have lost a little perspective.

  • Tony||

    It's rationally possible that Trump simply has done nothing right worth talking about. You run another risk--selling his Easter Egg Roll speech as a big win.

    So far anything he's done right is because of the institutions that exist forced him too or at least weren't objectionable enough for him to fuck up. A foreign policy that by accident occasionally isn't a disaster is nothing to boast about either.

    So you like the tax cuts? It's the only thing he's done. I'd say fair enough, but no, you don't get to be a hypocrite on deficits. Unless you never cared about that, in which, fine.

    If praising Donald Trump becomes an exercise in finding needles in a haystack, what's the point? He's obviously not the best option available. For all intents and purposes he is a black whole of being a terrible president. No goodness or progress escapes except by occasional random quantum fluctuations.

  • Tony||

    *Taking donations to add an edit button*

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And it's a historical fact that Barry did nothing right.

  • mtrueman||

    "And it's a historical fact that Barry did nothing right."

    Obama released B/C manning from Fort Leavenworth. Is that worth nothing to Reason Libertarians?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.19.18 @ 8:44PM|#
    'It's rationally possible that Trump simply has done nothing right worth talking about.'

    1) DeVos
    2) Gorsuch
    3) Ajit Pai, end net price fixing
    4) Major reduction in the growth of regulations "By one key measure of regulatory growth -- the page count of the Federal Register, which lists all new rules -- Trump reduced regulation by almost 50 percent in 2017.
    5) Dow +30%
    6) Unemployment at 4.1% https://unemploymentdata[]-rate-chart/
    The US Manufacturing Index soared to a 33 year high in this period which were the best numbers since 1983 under President Reagan. http://www.thegatewaypundit.co.....-100-days/
    7) Got repeal of the national medical insurance mandate.
    8) Withdrawal from Paris climate agreement.
    9) Still making lefties steppin and fetchin like their pants is on fire and their axxs catchin'

  • Sevo||

    10) Not sure about the tax reform; any "reform" that leaves me subisdizing Musk's customers is not what I hoped for. Let Musk run a company for once.
    11) In the waning days of 2017, the Trump administration pulled its support for the $13 billion Hudson Tunnel project. https://reason.com/blog/2018/n-tells-new-york-new
    12) And now seems to be dealing with NK in a productive way
    And finally:
    13) KEPT THAT MISERABLE FUCKING HAG FROM BEING POTUS!

    Bad:
    1) Constant mouth-running
    2) (maybe) Tariff trade war
    3) Almost as dishonest as Obo.
    And here the best I'd hoped for is keeping one more lefty off the SCOTUS.
    What a surprise!

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Tony, your strawman is. Ore of a statue composed of fecal matter.

  • Tony||

    If this goes anything like Trump's past negotiations it will end up with us giving NK our nukes in exchange for hanging Kim Jong-Il's picture in the Oval Office. And then when Trump's mouth-breathing followers start to grumble as channeled through some alcoholic lieutenant of his, he'll send out a poorly spelled tweet taking it back as the nukes are halfway across the ocean.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.19.18 @ 4:21PM|#
    "If this goes anything like Trump's past negotiations it will end up with us giving NK our nukes in exchange for hanging Kim Jong-Il's picture in the Oval Office. And then when Trump's mouth-breathing followers start to grumble as channeled through some alcoholic lieutenant of his, he'll send out a poorly spelled tweet taking it back as the nukes are halfway across the ocean."

    Your TDS fantasies do nothing other than prove your idiocy, loser.

  • Tony||

    What's the point of quoting my entire post in reply?

  • soldiermedic76||

    Because you have this habit of denying what you said or outright lying about.

  • Sevo||

    Or mis-representing what he posted.
    I notice his gossip today, which seems to be lacking in the normal quotient of mendacity. Once he starts in of lefty agitprop, the bullshit flows in abundance.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    And the idiocy of Libertarians is why they hold no national elected offices.

  • Sevo||

    AD-RtR/OS!|4.19.18 @ 5:47PM|#
    "And the idiocy of Libertarians is why they hold no national elected offices."

    And your idiocy results in what?

  • ||

    I musta missed something on the TDS retard bus but are the two Koreas talking about peace now?

  • mtrueman||

    Probably focussing more on small 'trust building' measures like family visits and the like. A peace treaty is more likely if these go smoothly.

  • ||

    Point is it's happening under Trump. I don't know what he did on his Asian trip but someone was paying attention out there. I don't think it's a coincidence.

    Everyone is too busy painting him as 'nuts' to notice. It's lazy BS.

  • mtrueman||

    "Point is it's happening under Trump. "

    He's gonna hafta share the spotlight with comrade Kim, don't forget about twos and tangos. It's pretty exciting. Get those two alone in a room together and who knows what they'll thrash out between them.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|4.19.18 @ 9:57PM|#
    "He's gonna hafta share the spotlight with comrade Kim, don't forget about twos and tangos. It's pretty exciting. Get those two alone in a room together and who knows what they'll thrash out between them."

    When reading the bullshit posted by the bullshitter truman, you must remember:
    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

    Not only is it an end in itself to the bullshitter, it is just about all he ever does.

  • mtrueman||

    " it is just about all he ever does."

    Thank god we have your tsk tsking.

  • Sevo||

    Rufus The Monocled|4.19.18 @ 8:10PM|#
    "I musta missed something on the TDS retard bus but are the two Koreas talking about peace now?"

    Let's start here:
    SK is pretty much what is seen in the west as a democracy. More "crony" than the US, probably more corrupt, but no one is starving. And 'reunification' is not desired by most; they'e seen what commies leave behind in Germany and have no desire to pay what it's gonna cost to clean up the NK mess.
    NK is run by the Kim dynasty, but also by the DGA (Direction and Guidance Agency[?] I'm not gonna go to the bookshelf now). It is a classic monarch and court system, the monarch is all-powerful unless the court gains power. Starvation among the serfs is mostly irrelevant and ignored.
    IF Kim is interested in giving up his nukes, it would be comparable to Stalin doing the same; not going to happen UNLESS that court is getting restive. Remember the bastard Kim managed to maneuver himself into power over the 'legitimate' heirs, has murdered at least a couple of close relatives, and has done nothing to mitigate the wide-spread starvation which *might* begin to matter among those with access to outside info.
    My guess is Kim using the meeting (if it happens) as a propaganda claim of 'equality' to the US, which will fool truman, Tony and other idiots. How Trump deals with such a mendacious asshole is a mystery to me.

  • Echospinner||

    I agree but question the last sentence

    That is the job he can deal with it or resign. Deal with mendacious assholes.

    Trump wants to be a bigger mendacious asshole and he might be that. He has way more missiles in any case.

    When these two forces clash over chocolate cake what will happen we do not know. The agenda is now set to two people eating together. I want to see the menu, that would say a lot.

    Trump dragged Abe out to play golf. That was actually not a bad idea.

    Much as I do not like him Trump may find an acorn now and then.

  • mtrueman||

    "My guess is Kim using the meeting (if it happens) as a propaganda claim of 'equality' to the US"

    That's correct. The meeting will be seen as a big step forward for the international recognition of North Korea. Two points where you are incorrect. 1) There doesn't appear to be starvation in North Korea. In fact, according to news reports, their economy is growing due to the government's laxening of market regulations. Normally this would be celebrated in Reason. 2) United States is by far more corrupt than South Korea. Two ex-presidents are in jail or have been jailed for corruption. Not a single US president ever has been sent to prison despite their various crimes. Complicity in torture for example has tainted the current president and at least two predecessors. They haven't received as much as a smack on the wrist.

  • Ecoli||

    According to the news, north and south are talking about an end to war. What if the Norks give up their nukes?

    If the Norko problem comes to an end while Trump is president, it will be interesting to see the contortions on the left and apparently on Reason too.

    Trump is not a nice person, but as far as I can tell he is a pretty good president. Just think where we would be if Hillary got elected.

    Look at the loony left: Cray-cray Maxine, Botox-Pelosi, shifty-Schumer, Lying-Harry Reid, Chocolate Jesus. I could go on. What have any of these cartoon characters ever accomplished to increase the public good, or harmony? It is like a line up of Mafia dons.

  • colorblindkid||

    If by a good president you mean he seems to not be doing a terrible job appointing people to do his work, then yes, he's not terrible (except Sessions). That's all I really want from a president anyway.

  • FlameCCT||

    Does it hurt being that ignorant Bonnie?
    Or just normal diatribe from a Progressive?

    Seriously, one should keep all options on the table unlike the Obama admin that started with appeasement!

  • josh||

    When you're CIA director, and you "hope" out loud for things, it's not the equivalent of a normal person hoping. I honestly don't see how people don't think there's a contradiction given his testimony.

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