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Free Minds & Free Markets

On North Korea and Iran, Trump Is Deluding Himself

The president’s bluster is harmful for America.

Take a tough Republican president, a Chinese government committed to help us, and a North Korean government faced with demands for denuclearization, and what do you get? It sounds like breaking news. But the scene comes from 2007, when the Bush administration thought it had achieved a historic breakthrough with North Korea. It was mistaken.

So, it appears, is Donald Trump. In June, he emerged from a summit with Kim Jong Un and tweeted that "everybody can now feel much safer" because there is "no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea." He could have been accused of putting the cart before the horse, if there were a cart, or a horse.

So far, the most he has to show for the meeting is the remains of 55 American military personnel killed in the Korean War, turned over Friday—a welcome achievement, but not one that makes us safer. Aside from that, the administration mostly has vague commitments that are not worth the paper they weren't written on.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted Wednesday that the Pyongyang regime is still producing fuel for nuclear warheads. It has begun to dismantle a missile test stand that has already served its purpose, but other facilities remain intact.

U.S. negotiators complain that their North Korean counterparts "have canceled follow-up meetings, demanded more money and failed to maintain basic communications," reported The Washington Post. Trump, after claiming swift success in getting Kim to give up his nukes, now says, "I'm in no real rush."

It was once said of French royals that "they had learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Trump and his foreign policy team, by contrast, have learned nothing and forgotten everything. Their ignorance of and disdain for history have left them surprised at the difficulty of coercing our enemies—and the poor options available to us when bluster proves unavailing.

The president assumed that by threatening North Korea with "fire and fury," as he did last year, he could force Kim to surrender his atomic arsenal. So far, it hasn't worked.

That hasn't stopped him from using the same approach with Iran. On Monday, after President Hassan Rouhani warned him not to attack, Trump threatened Iran with "CONSEQUENCES THE LIKE OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE."

He doesn't seem to realize that every time he raises the specter of American bombs incinerating Iranians, he pushes the Tehran government to acquire a nuclear deterrent. Entrusting the State Department to Pompeo, who had advocated regime change in Iran, had the same effect.

Pompeo had unmitigated scorn for the nuclear deal with Iran, negotiated by the U.S. and five other parties, which Trump renounced in May. The secretary has vowed to keep sanctions until Iran meets a long list of stringent conditions.

Those demands go far beyond what Iran was willing to accept in the accord, which was the product of years of give-and-take. The administration's position on Iran, as with North Korea, is that we expect total capitulation. Trump has found the perfect formula for getting nothing while hardening the enemy's resolve.

The obvious lesson of recent history is that nuclear arms are the best guarantee of survival in the face of U.S. hostility. That's why North Korea has invested so much time and money acquiring nuclear warheads and the missiles to carry them. That's why Iran created the infrastructure to produce nukes.

During the Obama administration, Iran was willing to enter into an agreement requiring it to dismantle most of its nuclear centrifuges, surrender 97 percent of its enriched uranium, and accept extensive outside inspections. When Trump pulled out, he sent a message to Tehran that negotiations with the U.S. are a snare and a delusion. The message did not go unheard in Pyongyang.

All this brings to mind the line from country singer Trisha Yearwood: "That's just a lot of water underneath a bridge I burned." By acting as though the North Korean problem has been solved, Trump encourages Kim to continue the regime's old practice of stringing us along. By scrapping the Iran deal, he encourages Tehran to pursue nukes. In each case, he leaves himself with few options to get his way except going to war—which would be disastrous and might not work.

Trump is fond of burning bridges. One of these days, he may realize that he's stranding himself.

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  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Why does Nick publish this shit?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Go away. You're cycling off your meds again. Also, shitlord doesn't mean bigot. Look it up.

  • TLBD||

    Because Reason has become a conservative publication.

    They are desperately trying to conserve the status quo because they are afraid of change. You can barely tell the difference between Reason and something any Never-Trumper Republican publication would put out.

    Extremely unbecoming of a so-called libertarian magazine.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Dude, they utterly despise conservatives here. Gillespie, Welchie Boy, and most of the rest of the gang here are fairly standard issue Clinton-Obama liberals (with a couple of exceptions, most of them aren't ready to go over as far lefrt as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez yet).

  • TLBD||

    Isn't defense of the status quo and fear of change the hallmark traits of conservatism?

    Can a self identified "liberal" not be a conservative by definition?

    People are missing the paradigm shift, yet it is so obvious.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    There really isn't a "conservative" movement left in this country, in the manner that you define it anyway. Because to want to conserve the status quo assumes that the status quo is worth conserving. And neither tribe thinks the status quo is working for them at the moment.

    The two tribes really are just "reactionary" and "progressive". No real "conservative" in there.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I disagree. I think MAGA is a conventional conservative battle cry. They want to maintain the culture, ethnicity, and religion that has been the hallmark of USA and driven policy for a couple hundred years.

  • TLBD||

    I get what you're saying. It has just enough conventional conservatism to bring Republicans in, but in most other cases it spits in the eye of every idea that hasn't worked, and seeks to try something new or, better yet, something that is proven to have worked in the past.

    My point, though, is that the MAGA crowd has completely upended the status quo of the past couple of decades, and those losing their mind over it are by definition conservative.

  • TLBD||

    I get what you're saying. It has just enough conventional conservatism to bring Republicans in, but in most other cases it spits in the eye of every idea that hasn't worked, and seeks to try something new or, better yet, something that is proven to have worked in the past.

    My point, though, is that the MAGA crowd has completely upended the status quo of the past couple of decades, and those losing their mind over it are by definition conservative.

  • bit15||

    "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution."

    - G.K.Chesterton

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Why would a libertarian agree with a conservative? (where's the confused emoji when you need it?)

    They also "utterly despise" liberals. At the time I'm writing this, there are 5 Reason articles on the featured bar. Two directly call out a conservative (Trump), two directly call out the liberals (Sanders, the gun control lobby), and one is about Gary Johnson. Pretty balanced I'd say.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    This.

    The accusations that fly around here are borderline amusing. The conservative commenters love to point out how Reason's writers are at best deluded progressives suffering from TDS and kidding themselves about being libertarian, and at worst are/were libertarian at one point but have long since sold out just to get invited to cocktail parties by the cool elite (and/or to snag a job at WaPo or CNN down the line).

    Meanwhile the more progressive or left-wing commenters on here love to smear the Reason writers and, by extension, all libertarians, as merely kidding themselves about being anything other than conservatives who happen to smoke pot and are somewhat suspicious of cops and Trump.

    In my experience, if you regular manage to make both the left and right hate you, you probably ARE libertarian -- and you're probably also smarter than the average (hopelessly tribal and partisan) bear.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If you have Libertarian positions then conservatives will find something wrong with some of your positions, some of the time.

    If you have Libertarian positions then Lefties will find something wrong with all of your positions, all of the time.

    Many on the Reason staff have TDS. Even the Libertarian-ish thing Trump has done or is doing are considered bad by most of the Reason staff.

    That is nothing close to the same thing as Libertarians being attacked by Lefties and Conservatives based on political positions.

    TDS is NOT a political position. Its an emotional response to Hillary losing and/or Trump implementing Libertarian-ish strategies and he's not a Libertarian.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    You made his point for him. You are group #1 that he described. But then again, you've also outright said that you always side with the US constitution over libertarianism, so you're only a moderate libertarian by your own admission.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Why does Nick publish this shit?

    Isn't it KMW?

  • TLBD||

    I thought KMW was just what happened to Nick when he took the jacket off?

  • Ken Shultz||

    When Nick takes his jacket off, he reverts to his natural form--which is a flying unicorn.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    And that's why Greg Gutfeld now wants to work at Reason.

  • Flinch||

    I suppose if there is a need for filler material, might as well learn what the enemies of freedom are going on about. Chicago is packed full of commie leaning trusts and foundations and CT woos them as an audience regularly. Oh well - throw brickbats at the author and let Nick finish his coffee. I suspect he teed this one up for people to hammer on, and see how it shakes out.

  • Cy||

    Why would they attack commies around here? I hear they make great martinis.

  • DajjaI||

    Trump is being attacked from all sides. His closest associates are being threatened with prison time and the noose is tightening. Thus he really has no incentive to work towards the interests of average people like us. Even if he achieved peace, he couldn't really enjoy it from a prison cell. Therefore I really think he's doing fine under the circumstances. Yes he dropped the MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) in Afghanistan last year, but otherwise hasn't blown up the world. I also think his brinksmanship with Iran and NK isn't worse than the staid diplomacy we'd be getting under Hillary. Overall I think he's doing fine. In fact, things turned out much better than I expected (with the exceptions of the ballooning national debt and ever expanding deep state). I'd vote for him again.

  • colorblindkid||

    While he has abandoned any attempts at micromanaging our wars and handed them over to the generals (this is both a good and bad thing), at least he hasn't started any new ones. I know it's still early, but that makes him less of a warmongerer than our last 5 presidents.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You can bet the generals have been blasting Trump to start new wars and expand the current ones. I suspect the generals have been put in their place as subordinates to the Commander-in-Chief but he game them a way to save face. Trump probably gave the brass a free hand in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the fight with ISIS to end on a high note with the forces that they have.

    The generals can quit or end on a high note, the grenade is in their court.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    One hopes that he purges the Obama yes men from the general officer ranks and they start promoting better commanders. Not the Wesley Clark types.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I agree that from a foreign policy standpoint Trump is much better than Hawk Hillary would have been. But Hillary isn't really the question here. The question is whether Trump is doing what he should be doing. And I think there's a lot of room for improvement. His bullshitting about NK progress is a little embarrassing, but I'm encouraged that he's at least moving in the right direction (dialog and de-escalation).

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    This whole article reads like a it came from the Bizarro universe. In Chapman's mind, Iran and NK are the reasonable parties and Trump is some kind of insane warmonger.

    Chapman is a piece of shit. Just like every one of his kind. Singing the praises of the worst regimes on the planet and trashing his own country.

    Trump has largely been on the right track with both these regimes. The Iran deal was a joke, and the Norks have been fucking oath us for decades. Maybe he will change that. Listening to Chapman and his moronic friends will not.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    More Hihn bullying aggression. Go away.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You're the fucking idiot here.

    Why is it you only show up at 1=3 am?

  • TLBD||

    *looks at timestamp*

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Last of the Shitlords|7.30.18 @ 1:31AM|#

    His shift just ended at the security gate.

  • TLBD||

    *Thinks of dozens of high paying jobs that aren't 9-5*

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Dumbfuck, I'm in a different timezone.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Timestamps are EDT. I am west coast PB. So once again, go fuck yourself. Or dress up like a schoolboy for Tony, and maybe he'll plow your ass for you.

    I run my own businesses. My schedule is very inconsistent and unusual. Plus, slapping progtards around is a full time job onto itself.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Why is it you only show up at 1=3 am?

    Probably the same reason Dumbfuck Hihnsano posts here at all hours of the day between his nap times.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    He's not the one portraying two of the worst regimes in the world as being harmless, sensible victims, you worthless fuck.

    Why is it you insist on making an ass of yourself here instead of doing something meaningful, like drinking a gallon of bleach?

  • DesigNate||

    He's still pissed that Obama couldn't have a third term?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    PB I don't think you know how to tell time.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Among the many things that Buttplugger doesnt know.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Child, why do you keep stalking LotS?

  • MJBinAL||

    Michael, you are not a libertarian.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Exactly LoftheS, when Chapman writes it is apparent to everyone except him, how much he has broken with reality.

    In his bubble, Trump is the bad guy on everything. The Kim family just needs the right Clinton schnoodling to make peace. China is our buddy who just wants to sell the USA cheap stuff and nothing else. Iran is just looking to protect its peaceful Muslim paradise.

  • MJBinAL||

    It is pretty entertaining. As noted, Presidents have been trying to get NK to the table for 50 years without success and Iran for over 30. So, Trump, after 1 year of trying is a failure and it is all Pompeo's fault.

    The Iran agreement was crap, not restrictive, inspection regimen involved advanced notice and hands-off zones that made it a joke ... and a joke that Obama violated US law to pay for with flown in cash.

    If Trump succeeds in making real progress with NK and/or Iran that will be great. If not, he will have been exactly as successful as his predicessors were.

    China has maintained trade barriers against everyone and especially the US for everthing except raw materials and agricultural products. You might note the proof of this when Trump imposed the first tariffs, China raised tariffs on soybeans, etc. Then when Trump raised tariffs on other items, China increased the tariffs on soybeans, etc. This is because they aren't buying anything else in any quantity.

    The farmers will be just fine whether China buys the produce or not. There is an international market for the food and the Chinese still have to eat. China will buy the produce somewhere else, and US farmers will sell the produce to the folks who used to buy the produce China bought. China will just pay more for it and will not get free US Government financing to help pay for it.

  • MJBinAL||

    So far, I wish Trump would lay off the tweets. But in general, his actual job performance is the best president we have had in 30 years. Not all I would hope for, but better than, Obama, G.W.,

  • TLBD||

    Does the add-on still exist where you can "block" people from these boards?

    Quite sick of Hihn concern trolling and shitting all over every thread.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I would like to get rid of him once and for all.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    And I say that as someone who totally hates PB and Tony, but am willing to tolerate their presence here. Hihn can be half the posts on a 200+ comment board when he goes full manic, and they're long.

  • Paulpemb||

    So you're saying that Trump has kept 90% of his campaign promises?

    Because that's a pretty good record for a President who hasn't even reached the halfway point of his first term.

    I mean, Hillary's still not in jail, but I guess I can live with that as long as she's just marginalized and useless, ranting about Russians to her deluded supporters at another book signing.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    During the Obama administration, Iran was willing to enter into an agreement requiring it to dismantle most of its nuclear centrifuges, surrender 97 percent of its enriched uranium, and accept extensive outside inspections.

    WORST DEAL EVER!

  • Mickey Rat||

    For a trivial amount of danegeld.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Iran had already entered into an agreement in which it had forfeited 100% of its right to enrich its own uranium. It was called the NPT.

    Iran is still subject to the NPT. And the fact that they would rather suffer crippling sanctions than accept uranium that's been sufficiently enriched by others for civilian use is telling.

    The value of their currency has dropped by 50% in the last six months, inflation is out of control. The amount of oil they can sell has dropped by 15% since Trump scuttled the deal, limiting their access to foreign currency, and protests keep erupting in the streets of Iran, . . .

    If they would rather suffer all that than abide by the terms of the NPT, then their intentions are nefarious.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Once again, Ken - the parties who are entrusted with enforcing the NPT are the ones who made the nuclear deal with Iran.

    There is no conceivable universe in which the same people who negotiated the Iran deal would come up with something harsher in order to enforce the NPT.

    The Iran deal IS the enforcement of the NPT.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Once again, Ken - the parties who are entrusted with enforcing the NPT are the ones who made the nuclear deal with Iran."

    Once again, the side deal with Iran was not ratified by the U.S. senate.

    The NPT, on the other hand, was ratified by the U.S. senate, and the side deal with Iran remains against the security interests of the United States.

    Your objection is a red herring. Don't even see why you think it's relevant. I guess you're someone who found Obama's misdirections persuasive for some reason?

    Look, a squirrel!

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I'm not talking about any side deal. I'm talking about the NPT itself, which was ratified by the Senate. The NPT gives its enforcement powers to those who have nukes - the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, etc. You know, the ones who actually signed the Iran deal.

    The NPT enforcers chose to enforce it in this way. I'm sorry that you don't like the result. But that is what happened.

  • damikesc||

    Except the US decides how to enforce the deal. We are under no obligation to go along with the notoriously horrible thought process of Europe.

    The Deal was not agreed to by us. Not by any legal standard.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I'm not talking about any side deal. I'm talking about the NPT itself, which was ratified by the Senate."

    ----chemjeff radical individualist|7.30.18 @ 9:00AM|#

    "Once again, Ken - the parties who are entrusted with enforcing the NPT are the ones who made the nuclear deal with Iran."

    ----chemjeff radical individualist|7.30.18 @ 8:42AM|#

    You're flailing around and not making sense.

    The NPT obligated Iran not to enrich uranium in secret. By doing so, they forfeited the right to enrich their own uranium at all. Their refusal to forgo enriching their own uranium and submit themselves to monitoring is why they subjected themselves to sanctions. They still maintain their right to enrich their own uranium and they still refuse to submit to monitoring. The side deal Obama made was not part of the NPT and was not ratified by the senate. The side deal Obama made--yes, the one you're talking about--has no constitutional basis. The original terms of the NPT are still in force, and Iran is still out of compliance with those terms.

    Meanwhile, the terms of Obama's side deal remain against the security interests of the United States.

    You're just running around with the goal posts, contradicting yourself, throwing out red herrings, making shit up, . . .

    If opposing Trump on this is wrong, you don't want to be right.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Okay, Ken. In your universe, how is the NPT to be enforced?

  • Ken Shultz||

    They're doing a pretty good job of it right now.

    Iran is suffering severe consequences for its refusal to comply with the NPT. The last time they came to the negotiating table, it was because they were suffering similar sanctions and had burned through all of their foreign currency reserves. Once they become desperate for access to international oil and debt markets again, they'll be back at the negotiating table again.

    Hopefully, this time, we don't have a president that will sell them the farm in exchange for magic beans.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Who is "they"? The US? Or Britain/France/Russia/China, who are ALSO entrusted with enforcing the NPT?

  • damikesc||

    Who is "they"? The US? Or Britain/France/Russia/China, who are ALSO entrusted with enforcing the NPT?

    We enforce it as we see fit. They do the same.

  • Dizzle||

    My theory...what are the chances trump is trying to rekindle the Arab spring? After all thats truly Hilary n Obamas greatest foreign policy failure...sitting on their hands while a pro liberty, pro freedom minority of youths protested, and were soundly suppressed by their Islamic regimes in Iran, Egypt, and Syria. How they get a pass on that is confusing to me, and Benghazi is only like 2% of the whole failure

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Because here in the real universe, the NPT is enforced by the nuclear powers designated in the treaty to enforce it. And they may choose to enforce it however they wish. Even if they choose to 'enforce' the NPT by not enforcing it at all, there is no higher power that is going to hold them accountable for what they choose to do. So for all practical purposes, enforcement of the NPT is whatever the US, China, Russia, Britain and France say it is, regardless of the text of the treaty itself. And in the case of Iran, the NPT was 'enforced' via the Iran deal. Was the NPT enforced according to the strict letter of the treaty? No, it wasn't. But what is the alternative? There is no "NPT Court" that will force the NPT enforcers to actually enforce the treaty.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Another red herring.

    Because we can choose to enforce the treaty as we wish, we should choose Obama's side deal that gives Iran the freedom to enrich their own uranium?

    Because we can choose to enforce the treaty as we wish, allowing Iran to enrich their own uranium is in the best interests of U.S. security?

    Look, a squirrel!

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I am not saying that the Iran deal is the best deal ever. I am saying that the Iran deal is synonymous with 'enforcement' of the NPT, as that treaty is ever going to be enforced in any practical sense. You keep saying that what you want is to see the NPT enforced. Well - ta-da! This is what NPT enforcement looks like in any practical sense. What it seems you actually want is some outside third party to have the power to enforce the terms of the NPT as written. But that would deprive America of its sovereignty.

  • damikesc||

    And in the case of Iran, the NPT was 'enforced' via the Iran deal.

    The US didn't agree to it.

    Barack Obama was not the US.

    Ratification in the Senate is how the US agrees to it.

    That never happened.

    So, we enforce it as we see fit. If France does not like how we do it, that is not our concern. If they'd rather sell Iran weapons than enforce a treaty --- not a stretch for the French, mind you --- c'est la vie. We do not have to follow their lead.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    The US didn't agree to it.

    Barack Obama was not the US.

    Ratification in the Senate is how the US agrees to it.

    That never happened.

    No. The NPT does not require US Senate ratification for an enforcement action. And the US Senate did ratify the NPT.

    We do not have to follow their lead.

    No, we don't. But France is also a partner in enforcing the NPT as much as the US is. Don't like it? Then advocate that we tear up the NPT.

  • damikesc||

    No. The NPT does not require US Senate ratification for an enforcement action.

    This was a treaty by all rational definitions of the term. And you're upset that Trump discarded Obama's failed policy, as anybody should have.

    No, we don't. But France is also a partner in enforcing the NPT as much as the US is. Don't like it? Then advocate that we tear up the NPT.
  • damikesc||

    Why would we tear up the NPT? We are free to enforce it as we see fit. If France does not like it, they are free to leave.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    "We are free to enforce it as we see fit. If France does not like it, they are free to leave."

    Then you aren't really in favor of enforcing the NPT. If everyone ignores the NPT, then it isn't enforced. Furthermore, if some parties choose to enforce it while others don't, then the NPT isn't enforced either.

  • damikesc||

    Then you aren't really in favor of enforcing the NPT.

    I'm all for enforcing it. And, we ARE doing so with Iran. Just because other signatories don't like it and would rather shirk responsibilities is hardly our problem.

    Furthermore, if some parties choose to enforce it while others don't, then the NPT isn't enforced either.

    We are big enough to enforce it unilaterally if needed. But, since everybody CLEARLY doesn't want to enforce it --- why, exactly, is Trump nixing Obama's sell-out bad?

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I think one can make the case that the Iran deal wasn't a treaty, just an agreement to bring about compliance with an already agreed-upon treaty, the NPT.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Jeff, once again you have no clue what you're talking about. The Iran deal is a separate thing from the NPT. No one gives a fuck that you see it this way.

    You should consult a neurologist. Something may be legitimately wrong with your brain chemistry, fpgiven your ongoing inability to engage in cognitive thinking. You're pretty bad off, even for a neuro typical.

  • damikesc||

    Once again, Ken - the parties who are entrusted with enforcing the NPT are the ones who made the nuclear deal with Iran.

    Those same parties promised to protect Czechoslovakia post World War I. Their word is not worth the toilet paper I use to wipe my ass.

    Not wanting to do anything unpleasant to hold somebody mean accountable to an agreement is the apex of the European mentality. Having something on paper is paramount --- what it actually means anything is a marginal concern, at best.

    There is no conceivable universe in which the same people who negotiated the Iran deal would come up with something harsher in order to enforce the NPT.

    Correct. They came up with something that utterly defied the NPT in every conceivable manner.

    I'm just wondering what Reason wants: They decry both diplomacy and war.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Many on staff wanted Hillary as president.

  • damikesc||

    Didn't exactly none proclaim any possibility of a Trump vote but many said they'd consider Hillary?

    Just to show how Libertarian they are...

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump doing some Libertarian-ish things blows most Reason staff's whole World up.

    They thought they could act like they are Libertarians, get invited to the Cosmo parties, and they could crack on Trump. Nobody would really demand Libertarian positions from them since many of the Libertarians left during the Glibbening.

    Instead, Trump kicked Hillary's ass in election 2016, Trump has done some Libertarian-ish things, and America is clearly recovering from Obama and Boosh's presidencies.

    Reason could discuss Libertarian issues, furthering Libertarian causes, and discussing the Libertarian-ish things that trump does with a REASONable view leaning toward objectivity.

    TReason went a different way.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    They can't handle the idea of someone they find so insensitive, coarse, and unlikeable (from their point of view) being the better choice. A lot of the commentariat have that problem too.

    As a Rick Sanchez of earth c-137 once said, "we want people we like to be right. That's why popular people tend to be stupid".

  • DesigNate||

    How exactly do you enforce a non-proliferation treaty by allowing a country that violated that treaty to continue to proliferate?

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    Way to leave out the part where Iran openly flouted their nonadherence to the agreements, and Obama "pubished" them by stealing a trillion from the US public and handing it over as appeasement in an irrefutable act of treason, fuckwit.

  • MJBinAL||

    Except, they didn't.

    They dismantled the centrifuges that didn't work anyway
    Kept all the uranium and bought a new reactor from Russia.
    And accepted inspections in certain places so long as they had plenty of notice before hand.

    All assuming we flew in a planeload of cash and gold in violation of our own laws to cinch the deal.

    Yep, a great deal ..... for Iran.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Hey dummy (PB), Iran wasn't really doing any of that. Are you too stupid and ignorant to know that, or you do know and try to push phony propaganda because you're a marxist traitor?

    Which is it?

  • lap83||

    "He could have been accused of putting the cart before the horse, if there were a cart, or a horse."

    Boom! Wait....I don't get it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    In other words, Trump's policies are not only wrong. They also have no rational basis or reasonable justification behind them. There isn't even an objective, really.

    In other words, Chapman is apparently opposed to Trump's policies because they're Trump's policies. His opposition to Trump is such that he can't even rationalize Trump's objectives, much less their rationale.

    It's called "TDS".

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    "His opposition to Trump is such that he can't even rationalize Trump's objectives, much less their rationale."

    TRUMP can't even rationalize Trump's objectives.

    He threatens North Korea with nuclear war. Then he has this big ceremony in Singapore which produces nothing of substance. And we are supposed to give him credit for what exactly? For daring to meet with Kim Jong Un? Great, they had a meeting. But Chapman is still right: "the administration mostly has vague commitments that are not worth the paper they weren't written on." There are a lot of supposed soothsayers out there who claim to know what Trump is "really thinking". But all I hear from Trump himself is a lot of bluster and empty promises.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It's called "TDS".

    TDS really means some partisan who rushes to justify everything The Dotard does because he hates Hillary.

    There is a lot of it here.

    We even have "libertarians" defending Trump's higher taxes/tariffs.

  • Oli||

    "Trump's objectives". Right. He's like a rabid pinball, and I really start to believe his one true objective was becoming POTUS, so he would finally be accepted by his (perceived) peers. He hasn't achieved jack shit with North Korea. And he won't achieve jack shit with Iran by threatening them without following up on it. And if he does follow up on it, get ready for a long, bloody war. And of course the same insurgence aftermath the US is currently trying to contain in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    True.

    Trump is a failure in business compared to real successes like Buffett, Soros, Bezos etc.

    Someone crunched the numbers and if Trumps's inheritance had just been invested in the S&P 500 he would be very wealthy today.

  • damikesc||

    Buffett --- who uses government deals to increase his wealth? That guy?

    Soros and Bezos are also highly leveraged with government deals and breaks for their business, plus a surprising lack of interest in some fairly egregious monopoly ignoring by the Feds.

  • Libertymike||

    Are you familiar with the libel action he filed against the NYT reporter who asserted that Trump's net worth was approximately $250 million and that he was not a billionaire?

    IIRC, the case was filed in 2005 or 2006, and Trump was unable to establish that the allegations about his wealth were false.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Trump is a 2 bit con man.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yet he beat Hillary! Hahaha.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Yet he's so much better than you PB.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Trump's objectives". Right. He's like a rabid pinball, and I really start to believe his one true objective was becoming POTUS, so he would finally be accepted by his (perceived) peers."

    I suspect that being proud of having TDS may be a tell-tale symptom of TDS.

    Trump's immediate objective in sanctions against Iran is to compel them to comply with the terms of the NPT.

    Iran has already successfully launched multistage rockets. If and when Iran tests a nuclear device, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran's other enemies will pursue nuclear weapons of their own. Is it really hard to understand that the objective of nuclear non-proliferation is nuclear non-proliferation?

  • damikesc||

    The Iran deal has done little more than lead to a very likely nuclearization of the entire Middle East.

    So, CLEARLY, we need to keep that deal sacrosanct.

    Has Reason seen the actual full text of the Iran deal and its assorted side deals? Because nobody else has.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Obama's objective was a misguided attempt to tie the hands of future presidents in waging war with Iran. His fucked up thinking was that if future presidents could no longer object to Iran enriching its own uranium on the basis of the NPT (because of his unconstitutional side deal), then they could no longer use Iran's NPT violations as a pretext for war.

    Obama's intentions may have been good, but the consequences of his good intentions are that they make war (and nuclear war) even more likely--if only between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Egypt and Iran, et. al.

    In addition, I would argue that Mutual Assured Destruction makes conventional wars more likely through proxies. The Cold War was not an era of peace. The era from 1948 to 1989 was an era of never ending proxy wars all over the world between the Soviet Union and its allies and the United States and its allies. There were battlegrounds from the Middle East, Vietnam, Korea, Angola, El Salvador, Chile, . . .

    The reluctance of your enemies to attack you directly encourages the use of conventional forces through proxies, and Iran already has a proxy army that it uses to attack its enemies in other countries. It's called "Hezbollah".

    If Iran has been reluctant to allow Hezbollah to target the U.S. directly in the past, that probably won't remain the case if and when Iran acquires a nuclear deterrent. Once Iran obtains a nuclear deterrent, all those calculations change.

  • damikesc||

    Yeah, arguing there was no war between the US and USSR ignores virtually every war on Earth for decades was, largely, a war between the US and USSR.

    Is MAD a great policy? No. I think it is the best option we have currently, but it is still a really bad option.

    A goal should have been to minimize nukes in the ME, but I fear we've aggravated the nuclear desire instead by trying to make Iran --- who many countries there hate even MORE than Israel --- the "big dog" in that yard.

    I would've opposed working with the Saud family to get nukes. And I trust them far more than I trust the mullahs who run Iran.

    Obama had an insane blind spot when it came to Iran.

  • damikesc||

    The Iran deal is why Bob Corker can also be safely discounted. Rather than demand Obama submit as a treaty, he gave him a gift to not require it.

    Why anybody would listen to that moron about anything defies logic.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Trump's immediate objective in sanctions against Iran is to compel them to comply with the terms of the NPT.

    Can you show us anywhere, where Trump himself has explicitly said this?

  • Jerryskids||

    Trump's not deluded, he just believes in the power of positive thinking. All the best self-help business management books stress the power of positive thinking, and Trump's looked at a few of those. In fact, before he thought up the slogan "Make America Great Again!" he coined the more up-beat, positive-thinking phrase "Hope and Change" but somebody convinced him he thought the first one sounded better.

  • sarcasmic||

    This is what twelve dimensional chess looks like.

  • Oli||

    Trump is actually in an epic battle of good vs evil, barely keeping the reptile people from taking over Earth.

  • sarcasmic||

    Lizard people! Not reptile people, lizard people! Don't you know anything?!?

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    The lizard people have always been in charge. He is working with them to stop the reptile people. Don't you know anything?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefties sure dont like being 'check' all the time.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Take a tough Republican president, a Chinese government committed to help us, and a North Korean government faced with demands for denuclearization, and what do you get? It sounds like breaking news. But the scene comes from 2007, when the Bush administration thought it had achieved a historic breakthrough with North Korea. It was mistaken.

    Booosh was not tough.

    China was never committed to help the USA unless it benefits them.

    NK never had any plans to denuclearize as evidenced by the fact that they went from zero nukes in 2007 to numerous nukes by 2016.

    Chapman is never going to learn anything and clearly lives in a fantasyland that is different than reality.

  • Oli||

    What would Trump have to say or do that you concede he's a sub-intelligent opportunist?

  • damikesc||

    If it were true, he wouldn't be President.

    Nor a successful real estate mogul.

  • sarcasmic||

    Most politicians are sub-intelligent opportunists.

  • Oli||

    Fair enough.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump would have to admit that Russians hacks election 2016.

    Lefties believe that and they are sub-intelligent opportunists.

    Thanks for asking.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    NK never had any plans to denuclearize as evidenced by the fact that they went from zero nukes in 2007 to numerous nukes by 2016.

    What incentive did they have to denuclearize between 2007 and 2016?

  • SQRLSY One||

    "The obvious lesson of recent history is that nuclear arms are the best guarantee of survival in the face of U.S. hostility. " ... Yes, good summary right there...

    N. Korea has nukes, and The Donald kisses their asses... The Iranians made a reasonably good-faith effort to back way away from the nukes, and The Donald shits on them (as well as the other 4 nations who co-negotiated with Iran).

    The Donald is a retarded dotard, and in WAAAAY over his head!

  • damikesc||

    You mean it is easier to deal with a state before they get nukes than to deal with them after they get them?

    Tell me more of your brilliant observations.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Another one of my brilliant observations is that if we keep on goading on, unjustly, other nations all over the planet, including ones like Iran that WERE willing to take at least baby steps towards playing nicely with others, and crapping on them, unilaterally, without REALLY acknowledging the efforts that other nations have made to try and work towards peace... All the while, hobnobbing with belligerent and authoritarian nations... And being the Biggest Bully on the block, with 6% of the world's population... Sooner or later, karma is going to bite us REALLY HARD, right smack on the behind! And Donald and His Minions will have to take a nice, big fat share of the blame!

  • damikesc||

    Another one of my brilliant observations is that if we keep on goading on, unjustly
  • damikesc||

    I hate this site.

    You're whining that Trump is being "mean" to Iran and too kind to North Korea...ignoring that he is doing the same with both and both behave similarly.

    Iran was making no moves to "play nice". N Korea has done more in that regard than Iran.

    Nothing Trump can contemplate will touch our work against Khaddafy after disarmament to kill off that hope globally. Nothing.

    You cannot simultaneously whine that he is shitting over Iran while hob-nobbing with "authoritarian regimes" unless you recognize that Iran is an exceptionally authoritarian regime.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump is using China to push NK because that is a strategy available.

    NK also has nukes while Iran does not. Trump worked on NK first as they are the biggest threat.

  • Barry soetaro||

    Too many drugs, pal. Go back to sleep.

  • DesigNate||

    "The Iranians made a reasonably good-faith effort to back way away from the nukes"

    The fuck the Iranian government did.

  • MJBinAL||

    Let us review history....

    G.W.Bush invades Iraq and smashes Saddam quickly on the basis that he was believed (in part because he claimed he did) had weapons of mass destruction. As all know now, he didn't have much.

    Momarr Qadaffe immediately surrenders all his weapons of mass destruction out of fear he and Libua would be next.

    Obama is elected and puts Hillary Clinton in the State Department where they gather up an alliance with the Europeans to overthrow Qadaffe. He is eventually caught and killed in the usual nasty Middle East way.

    In addition to turning Libya into a bigger shit hole than ever, Obama and Clinton provided a useful lesson to small nations we don't like. Don't give up your WMD if you have them, and if you don't have them, get them as soon as possible.

    Of course, Obama and Clinton were renowned for their foreign policy expertise, and Trump is just a real estate developer. That said, it seems to me that Trump is basically working to fix messes that Obama and Clinton made worse. And of course Gary Johnson doesn't even know where these places are.

    Yep, voted for Trump, and would vote for him again given the same choices. (key is ... I don't expect to get any better choices.)

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Trump and his foreign policy team, by contrast, have learned nothing and forgotten everything.

    The difference here is that Trump is not Bush. Bush made it perfectly clear that he never had an interest in negotiating peace with the North Koreans. So did Obama. If a president actually wants to negotiate a denuclearization deal with North Korea, as Clinton and Carter (as proxy) did, then it will happen. North Korea hasn't been the one not fulfilling its promises over the years...

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    In two years get ready for Reason articles like "The Libertarian Case for Kamala Harris", amd "The Libertarian Case for Cory Booker".

  • damikesc||

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted Wednesday that the Pyongyang regime is still producing fuel for nuclear warheads. It has begun to dismantle a missile test stand that has already served its purpose, but other facilities remain intact.
    During the Obama administration, Iran was willing to enter into an agreement requiring it to dismantle most of its nuclear centrifuges, surrender 97 percent of its enriched uranium, and accept extensive outside inspections. When Trump pulled out, he sent a message to Tehran that negotiations with the U.S. are a snare and a delusion. The message did not go unheard in Pyongyang.

    It is sad that the same author can hold these two thoughts simultaneously. You are aware that Iran was NOT allowing inspections without significant advance notice? That they have admitted that they have plenty of material to make weaponry in extremely short order? And that we cannot verify what uranium they have allegedly surrendered?

    NOTHING is different that Iran is doing than N. Korea, except N Korea is at least claiming it is willing to negotiate. Mind you, our abandonment of Khaddafy makes disarmament infinitely more difficult since we've shown one gets few benefits, long term, from us in doing so.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    You are aware that Iran was NOT allowing inspections without significant advance notice?

    My understanding is that the advance notice they demanded would not be long enough to actually hide a uranium enrichment operation.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Was it enough time to hide Iran's ketchup popsicles?

  • MJBinAL||

    LOL

    Of course not, the reason they damanded long notices is because it would make no difference.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Your logic is borked. They demanded long notices because they wanted to hide other things. That doesn't mean that everything we know about science is wrong and the Iranians have discovered a fast way of hiding their uranium-tracks quickly.

    But if the goal is that we want to be able to inspect their uranium-enrichment program, then they should be able to hide their other secrets all they want. Which tells me that our stated goal of denuclearization is not true. We want to be able to spy on them generally.

  • damikesc||

    Pompeo had unmitigated scorn for the nuclear deal with Iran, negotiated by the U.S. and five other parties, which Trump renounced in May.

    FFS, you are aware that there is an actual method to have an actual agreement to be actually agreed to, right?

    We still haven't SEEN the full agreement yet. It's been a few years.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    MSNBC: President Trump's impatience with the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan has prompted a bid to kick-start peace negotiations, including holding direct talks with the Taliban, current and former U.S. officials tell @NBCNews

    Absolutely outrageous. Hillary Clinton would never surrender in Afghanistan like this. We could have, and should have had a President with years of foreign policy experience and a consistent record of smart decisions in that area. Instead we got someone who's taking orders from Vladimir Putin.

    #LibertariansForStayingInAfghanistan

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    #LibertariansForStayingInAfghanistan

    There aren't any.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    The best part about that tweet are the psycho liberals claiming that wanting to extricate the country from a 17-year conflict is a "distraction" and that we're abandoning our "allies" by doing so.

  • DesigNate||

    I bet an enterprising person could go through their history and find tweets condemning Bush for still being in Afghanistan in 2007. It'd be nice to smear that in their smug asshole faces.

  • Flinch||

    There was no bridge to NK upon Trumps arrival in office. They were cloistered and defiant: there was nothing to burn. And, during the Obama administration... Iran was willing to receive a pile of cash, and put in place an inspection structure that allowed them to play 3 card monte by gifting themselves weeks of lead time to clean up any site scheduled for inspection. Inspections would be a joke, and they could get their hands on more fissionables thanks to Russian stockpiles being freed up by Hillary's uranium deal while she ran State. The end game? Go nuclear while claiming the opposite, with a fresh pile of hardware and fissionables purchased from Russia most likely.
    I don't get the wilfully ignorant crowd. Just look at bartering in the middle east: every transaction begins with two lies [one from the merchant, and one from the customer]. It is a way of life.
    I only lived in Chicago for a year, but this piece reminds me why I refused to pay for CT under any circumstances.

  • Nardz||

    "he sent a message to Tehran that negotiations with the U.S. are a snare and a delusion. The message did not go unheard in Pyongyang."

    That would be the Libya invasion and torture of Qaddafi. All Hillary and BO on that one.

    Anyone who thinks Obama's little "deal" with Iran did anything but prop up their theocratic regime and give them a path to stay in power while developing nuclear weapons at the same time is a disingenuous moron.

  • damikesc||

    And one whose views on how to handle diplomacy like this can safely be discounted.

    Seriously, after Libya, why would ANYBODY disarm? You're not going to win points with us. We will turn on you in a heartbeat.

    Obama and Hillary killed disarmament dead.

  • MJBinAL||

    ^THIS^

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Obama and Hillary are Socialists so of course they want the World destabilized.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "He doesn't seem to realize that every time he raises the specter of American bombs incinerating Iranians, he pushes the Tehran government to acquire a nuclear deterrent."

    Chapman still doesn't realize that Iran's obsession with nuking the world and exterminating the Jews is rooted entirely within religious psychosis and doomsday utopia prophecies, and not the tired and debunked Wah Wah Poor Fucking Deathcultists bullshit.

  • Tony||

    So an agreement that eliminates Iran's nuclear capability seems like the best and only option, since the alternatives are letting Iran have nukes or obliterating them. Which does Trump want, since he threw away the nuclear deal we had on the grounds that "Obama did it"?

  • DesigNate||

    It's too bad Obama's side deal didn't do that. At all.

  • Tony||

    How is Trump's deal better? What deal, you may ask.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maybe if the media supported discussions with Iran to de-nuke rather than undermine Trump at every turn, a good deal between the USA and Iran might be struck.

    We already know that Iran refuses to cooperate with de-nuking and Iran knows that Democrats will pull the rug out from a country just like with Muammar Gaddafi.

  • Barry soetaro||

    He hasn't announced a deal. But Barry the Unready did...

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Tony, when there is ultimately a nuclear exchange involving Iran, costing millions of lives and creating an environmental disaster, the blood will be on your hands, and those of your progtarded fired s for voting in that community organizing idiot. Without his efforts, the Iranian people likely would have forced internalregime change by now. Obama has done nothing but strengthen them.

    On a side note, you do realize they brutalize, torture and kill homos like you, right? You are literally supporting people who have helped keep murderers and torturers of gays in power.

    I would ask if you even care, but a sociopathic thing like you is incapable of real empathy.

  • damikesc||

    Yup. BEST CASE scenario, it gave them nuclear weapons in ten years.

    Best case scenario being insane, pollyanna-ish levels of delusion, mind you.

  • MJBinAL||

    If what you mean by "Obama did it", is:
    - sending Iran cash and gold
    - requiring they dimantle centrifuges that didn't work leaving the new ones in place
    - inspection regimen that left some places out of bounds and required long advance notice for the rest
    - lifting the trade sanctions that were pushing Iran toward having to accept an agreement to avoid domestic unrest

    Then you are absolutely correct. Trump threw that agreement away. Thank goodness.

  • Ron||

    At least Trump has gone further with direct talks, time to let things play out before claiming nothing is happening when things are happening.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Imagine how much easier it would be for Trump to strike a great deal for the USA and Iran if the media would quit banging the war drums for some nations and protecting Muslims no matter what they do.

  • ||

    I agree.

    It may come to nothing but he's further along than previous administrations.

    Let it play out rather than pretend to know how things are going.

  • mtrueman||

    I will be surprised if any arrangement Trump makes with North Korea is more stringent than that worked out between Iran and US. It should please the Chinese, at least. As for Trump's appeasement of the Taleban, it probably can't be avoided. After 17 years of American bluster and bluffing, the Afghans have seen it all, and aren't fooled. Time to take them seriously.

  • Barry soetaro||

    So, you think we'll have to fly billions in cash into Iran for them to buy weps to pass out to kill our guys with, like Barry the Buffoon did?

  • MJBinAL||

    Nope, we need to get out of Afganistan. And if the Taliban decides to strike the US again, maybe we need to just pound the shit out of them and leave.

    This rebuilding places we militarily pound shit out of makes no sense at all, Anybody see the movie "The Mouse That Roared"?

  • mtrueman||

    "And if the Taliban decides to strike the US again"

    When did they ever strike the US? They have no navy, no airforce. It's a militia of part-time goat herders.

  • Tony||

    Could be worse. They could still be blaming it on Saddam Hussein.

  • mtrueman||

    I'm not afraid of Iran, even if their money was returned and they bought a big can of whoop ass with it. I don't live in Israel and I'm no zionist.

  • Echospinner||

    The zionists know and have a robust defense in place.

    The F-35 has been used for the first time in combat by Israeli Air Force.

    They work.

    https://tinyurl.com/ycptvqae

  • tzx4||

    Hey Trump, Mexico is paying for the wall. You said so right?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Hey bitch, the day ain't over yet.

  • Barry soetaro||

    Whatever you say, what trump is doing appears to be working. The old bend over and kiss it never worked. Now the bad guy stuff appears to do so. I suspect the part that roasts Chapman's butt is that America under Trump is succeeding after eight years of bushobama stupidity.

  • MJBinAL||

    16 years of "years of bushobama stupidity.

  • Echospinner||

    Meanwhile Israel is trying to establish some kind of Syrian border to avoid a war as Assad consolidates control. The current arrangement is that the UN peacekeepers will return and Russia will keep the Iranians from getting too close with a buffer zone patrolled by Russian military police.

    For all of our blunders and efforts in Syria since the start of the civi war, the US is basically irrelevant there.

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