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Donald Trump to Become First U.S. President to Meet with North Korean Dictator, and Maybe That’s Good

Hawks and anti-Trumpers are going bananas at the news, but a rare lunge for peace sounds more promising than the constant threat of war.

On Thursday night, South Korea National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong abrutptly announced at the White House that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un had asked President Donald Trump for face-to-face talks, and that the American had agreed. The White House quickly confirmed the report.

"President Trump greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation and President Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain."

There has been no shortage of skepticism and derision pointed at Trump's move, which would mark the first time a U.S. president has ever met with the head of North Korea, with which Washington is still technically at war. For instance, Naval War College professor and The Death of Expertise author Tom Nichols:

Middlebury Institute of International Studies Professor Jeffrey Lewis lays out in a mini-tweetstorm the credentialed objection: "North Korea has been seeking a summit with an American president for more than twenty years. It has literally been a top foreign policy goal of Pyongyang since Kim Jong Il invited Bill Clinton," Lewis writes. "To be clear -- we need to talk to North Korea. But Kim is not inviting Trump so that he can surrender North Korea's weapons. Kim is inviting Trump to demonstrate that his investment in nuclear and missile capabilities has forced the United States to treat him as an equal."

Call me inexpert (accurately enough!), but I am so far failing to see a problem that outweighs the sliver of opportunity here.

South Korea's national security director Chung Eui-yong ||| Chris Kleponis/SIPA/NewscomChris Kleponis/SIPA/NewscomThis news comes out of the best possible generator of Korean-peninsula peace ideas: direct and unmediated talks between North and South (characterized here by the Washington Post as "the latest surprising development in a burst of diplomacy that both Koreas hope will stave off threats from the United States"). At those meetings the Norks reportedly expressed a desire for mutual denuclearization, normalized relations, and a lack of military provocations in the meantime.

It's important to recognize that—however much one dislikes the president and his foreign policy ideas—Donald Trump has been very consistent about two things when it comes to a nuclearizing North Korea: 1) It is primarily a problem for North Korea's immediate neighbors, and 2) the U.S. will be happy to threaten maximum force/craziness as necessary to prod NoKo & Co. to the negotiating table.

At the February 2016 GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire, at which the Jeb Bushes and John Kasichs were happy to skylark about "regime change" and pre-emptive strikes, Trump suggested we "let China solve that problem." At a general election debate with Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas, Trump asserted flatly that he "would certainly not do first strike," though he wouldn't "take anything off the table" (and anyway, "China should solve that problem for us"). Two bombing expeditions last spring—the "Mother of All Bombs" dropped over Afghanistan, and the missile attack on a Syrian airfield—were, by many reports, part of a deliberate campaign of "strategic unpredictability" designed above all to influence the decision-making process in Korea.

This approach certainly has its drawbacks. Threatening "fire and fury" on North Korea, as Trump did last August, not only incentivizes the Hermit Kingdom to speed up its own nukes, but it whips the American public into a war-frenzy. It's not hard to see how such a gambit could go horribly wrong, particularly given a political class in which respected statesmen such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) can say with a straight face such madness as, "All the damage that would come from a war [with North Korea] would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security."

It is also not hard to imagine the Tom Nichols scenario—lots of naïve diplomacy, photo ops, and then some months later we learn that the new Horror Missile is that much closer to being operational for a strike on Maui. But what exactly, in that scenario, is lost? A few months of our innocence?

Here are the alternative scenarios served up by American politics over the past 25 years of slow-build nuclearization, ongoing starvation, and sputtering diplomacy: A Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who thinks it's a swell idea to threaten North Korea with "extinction." A then-President George W. Bush, who includes the country in his "Axis of Evil" speech that foreshadowed the Iraq War. A Democratic veep candidate Tim Kaine saying, "Look, a president should take action to defend the United States against imminent threat. You have to."

The world's lousiest country, run by paranoid murderers, has responded to all this by pursuing nukes at the cost of most everything else. Is there a chance Kim Jong-Un would trade that fear for slightly more security and some more trade money coming in? Probably not, but maybe! And I have a hard time seeing the better alternative critics of this move have in mind.

Photo Credit: ||| Chris Kleponis/SIPA/Newscom

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  • Karen24||

    I yield to no one in my utter loathing of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, but good on him if he can pull this one off. Fewer nukes pointed at each other is a good thing. Even better if he can get out of the way and let both Koreas talk to one another.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Right, KJU is just a poor misunderstood youth who we just need to hug things out with.

    That's the kind of idiocy that is going to get us all killed.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Drama much? I'm not interested in Ed's 6 party talks advice that Matt seems to think was somehow relevant even though completely wrong, but there's no harm with talking. The only harm comes if we try the same Carter/Clinton appeasement bullshit another time. Verifiable de-nuclearization first, then the goodies. Of course Barry's complete fuckup in Libya doesn't help things at all. In fact, that is the primary lesson that choco jesus taught all the bad actors out there: get a nuke or we'll fuck with you. Brilliant 0.5D chess.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Can't keep kicking the can down the road -- we're out of road.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So it's bombing then? Reason was full of shit during the Iran deal when they claimed that the only two alternatives were global thermonuclear war or accept the deal. You're no better. Worst case this results in nothing (again, assuming that we do NOT go down the Clinton path again). I'm struggling to find a problem with talks that end in status quo.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    NK getting months to improve their missile capabilities is not status quo.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Really, does time stop if we don't do the talks? Seems like in your universe it does. Back here in reality it doesn't. He gets months to improve no matter what. The only way he doesn't is if we attack. I note you still haven't actually admitted that's what you want...

  • Elias Fakaname||

    We will likely be forced to attack at some point. Its's just a question whether it will be before or after an American city is destroyed by an NK nuke.

  • spanky & alfalfa||

    the only country to ever use a nuke on another country is the u.s., dumbo....in probability theory that would make them the favorite to do it again first...hehe

  • Wizard4169||

    Why on earth would the Norks try to start a nuclear war? They might hurt us a little, but we could potentially make everything from the 38th parallel to the Yalu glow in the dark. OTOH, as long as they have nukes, we're (hopefully) less likely to attack them. Goofy propaganda aside, I'm pretty sure Kim is rational enough to realize that his nukes are far more useful as a threat than as an actual weapon.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    You're sure Kim is rational? Given his antics, upon what precisely are you basing that premise?

  • JoeBlow123||

    "NK getting months to improve their missile capabilities is not status quo."

    ??? That is the definition of status quo right now. They develop, we sanction. So what.

    Yall are dumb. We are not going to unilaterally attack North Korea unprovoked, get over your fever dreams. There is nothing lost with talking, we give them no promises to stop exercises, we give them no money, we do not lower sanctions, we just talk.

    Literally nothing lost.

    If they still want to develop missiles and nukes they would do that anyways. Not talking does not solve that particular issue.

  • Intelligent Mr Toad||

    Jeffrey Lewis
    ‏Verified account @ArmsControlWonk
    7h7 hours ago

    PS: To be clear -- we need to talk to North Korea. But Kim is not inviting Trump so that he can surrender North Korea's weapons. Kim is inviting Trump to demonstrate that his investment in nuclear and missile capabilities has forced the United States to treat him as an equal.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Sounds like Nixon going to China. The question is whether Kim Fat Ass will take the opportunity to turn over a new leaf and quit starving his people to feed his ego.

    -jcr

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    I think you know the answer to that question. Kim Fat Ass goes the way of Gaddafi if he gives up his nukes, let alone if he turns over a new leaf.

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    why do you keep shitting your stupid all over these boards, Emo dumb f? China would never allow the US to overthrow the NK government. So stop your stupid.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Drumpf obviously has no idea what he's doing. Well, either that, or he's doing exactly what Putin told him to do.

    Either way, Hillary Clinton would be handling this situation so much better. She might even have done enough to earn a Nobel Peace Prize, like Obama did. #StillWithHer

  • Nuwanda||

    Exactly. Trump's a sap. At best this is all an accident. He's blundered into it; the Forrest Gump of diplomacy. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Life is like a box of chocolates...

    He's being played by Kim whose really only giving up the nukes to guarantee his supply of Wild Turkey and his Amazon Prime membership.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    If the hag were in charge, the missles would be flying.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    If you liked the Iran nuclear deal, you'll love this. How surprising that includes Reason.

  • JoeBlow123||

    You are a certifiable jacksss retard moron. Go sit across the DMZ with an M-4 if you are so ready and willing to go invade.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Iran deal was a scam that Obama fell for.

    Any deal with NK is a scam. Once NK gets ICBMs that can accurately hit the USA, NK will be untouchable.

  • Jordan||

    They already are untouchable because we rightly aren't willing to sacrifice millions of South Koreans to take out the Kim regime.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Not our fault that SK put their capital in range of Nork artillery.

    Worse comes to worst, we use the "shoot the hostage" gambit and nuke Seoul first, then invade NK.

  • Jordan||

    Okay, now I know you're trolling.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    We're not going to nuke Seoul. FFS, get some perspective.

  • wef||

    war party apologetics

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Notice how Welch dismisses the danger of giving NK time to improve its missile capabilities and an opening to demand a loosening of sanctions, in favor of a "sliver of opportunity" that he never quantifies or explains how anything good could come out of this.

    KJU is NOT going to give up his nukes because he knows that his regime is finished if they don't have nukes. KJU is NOT going to run in free elections or share power in a unified Korea. If you think otherwise, your extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. If you don't think otherwise, then you have to admit these talks have no upside from the US perspective.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    If you don't think otherwise, then you have to admit these talks have no upside from the US perspective.

    This is a great point because Trump isn't going to turn north Korea into Sweden the way Bush turned Iraq into Germany so, like, why even bother.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "Notice how Welch dismisses the danger of giving NK time to improve its missile capabilities"

    The only way NK doesn't get time to improve it's missile capabilities is if we go all out war at dawn tomorow. That doesn't seem to be an option with or without a face to face between Kim and Trump.

    It's not relevant because not doing the meeting doesn't stop or slow down NK's missile program either.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "Notice how Welch dismisses the danger of giving NK time to improve its missile capabilities and an opening to demand a loosening of sanctions, in favor of a "sliver of opportunity" that he never quantifies or explains how anything good could come out of this."

    Who said anything about lowering sanctions? If nothing comes out of it and Kim gets a few sexy head shots in the press, so what? And who said anything about free elections or power sharing? The strawman argument you set up to tear down?

  • mtrueman||

    "then you have to admit these talks have no upside from the US perspective."

    It'll benefit Trump, whose career in show business must have taught him to appreciate the spotlight of world attention. Otherwise, these talks haven't taken place yet so it's a little early to judge them.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Tom Nichols is a joke. This is the same guy who claimed that we were years or DECADES away from an ICBM threat from NK. See, they didn't have the range. OK, maybe they have the range, but they don't have a re-entry vehicle. OK, maybe they have a re-entry vehicle, but they haven't miniaturized a nuke. OK, maybe they have miniaturized a nuke, but their CEP is WAY bigger than the 25-50m required to kill our hardened military targets. Wait, you mean they might not target a military target? Well, shit.

    Now he thinks that a few months of negotiations will cover everything they need to KILL US ALL. What a complete dumbass.

    Oh, and Matt, I see you conveniently left off the Carter/Clinton appeasement which kicked off all of the fun to begin with. Good times.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Those predictions were likely based on the assumption NK weren't getting outside help.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Those predictions were based on the wishful thinking of "experts." These dumbasses have never gotten a major assessment correct. We'd be better off using Punxsutawney Phil.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    So you think there is a greater than 0.001% chance that KJU is going to give up his nukes because "talks"? We're more likely to get hit by a mile-wide asteroid shaped like Nikki Minaj's ass.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    This from the guy who thinks we're all going to die. You seem to think that not talking will somehow slow or prevent him from improving his capabilities based on... your commanding mutant telepathic powers? Or are you in the camp that says we should just start bombing them now? Yes, a partially burnt Seoul will solve oh so many problems.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Not talking will allow us to keep KJU's feet to the fire vis-a-vis his generals. Talking gives him a victory and weakens the position of any generals who were planning to pull the plug on piggy.

    We can't very well be interdicting shipments in the East China Sea AND claiming to be engaging in bona fide talks. KJU will exploit that fact to force Trump to back off.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    "We can't very well be interdicting shipments in the East China Sea AND claiming to be engaging in bona fide talks. KJU will exploit that fact to force Trump to back off."

    Really? Is that the 4th Law of Thermodynamics that I somehow missed in all those years of education? In fact that is exactly how you keep the pressure on. If Kim Jong Dumbass wants to play games, then the talks are over in a hurry--walking away ratchets up any internal pressure that you seem to think matters. If not, well, let's talk. Still not seeing any downside short of more tautologies.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Talking gives him a victory and weakens the position of any generals who were planning to pull the plug on piggy.

    Be honest. How many times have you unironically said "freedom fries?"

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    why do you keep talking, my low IQ, low information, gullible, brainwashed puppet? You can't really be this stupid, can you my progtarded puppet?

  • JoeBlow123||

    I like how this clown ignored what you said about the "experts."

    Emotional Opposition Animal do us a favor and stop acting like you have any insight into the rational or diplomatic maneuverings or court proceedings of North Korea. No one does and to pretend your hallucinations can peer into the future or see the unseen is bullshit.

    Stop acting like you know what North Korea is doing or you have some special insight others lack. You. Do. Not.

    So shut up or enlist for the coming apocalypse you dream of.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Super Experty Assumptions

  • chemjeff||

    Yeah, Matt! Why didn't you bash Team Blue harder?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You meam aside from the fact that they are the direct cause? I realize you hate to see your heroes crushed but tough shit.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "but it whips the American public into a war-frenzy."

    I mean, do I need to get out more or something? Because I've totally missed any sign of the war frenzy we're in toward NK.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I hate kimchi. Does that count?

  • Sevo||

    "I mean, do I need to get out more or something? Because I've totally missed any sign of the war frenzy we're in toward NK."

    Tony was claiming we were on the brink of nuclear war 'cause Trump! Isn't that enough?

  • VinniUSMC||

    It doesn't matter what Trump does, it will always be "the wrong thing". TDS.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    In other Korea news, blind skiing starts tomorrow with women's downhill.

  • Sevo||

    AFAIR, not a one of the three Kims has ever honored any agreement made with anyone at any time. The current Kim is willing to starve (?) millions of his "subjects" in order to feed his compatriots and his military backers. He is willing to murder any of his kin who might possibly supplant him or take a cut of the baksheesh, and has done so.
    My prediction: Kim will continue 'negotiations' long enough to get international aid to feed the military while continuing all the development he possibly can, and then will end the 'negotiations' accusing SK and the US of bad faith with zero effect on any progress regarding delivery systems for his nukes.
    I do not know how the NK end-game will play out; Kim seems entirely too blood-thirsty to follow the cou in eastern Europe and in Russia where the military finally refused to fire on their countrymen. In NK, those who did not fire would be shot along with their families.
    Nuking them is not among the options; unlike Japan, the NK population is not any threat at all to the US and not even the hag is depraved enough to do so, not to mention the collateral damage to SK, Japan and beyond.
    Kim is certainly and wisely paranoid; from what I read, hardly anyone IN NORTH KOREA knows where he is at any given time, so any claim of a 'surgical strike' to plant the pig in the ground is highly suspect.
    Go ahead, talk with the little fart. Just don't expect much more than lies.

  • Sevo||

    Also:
    China has this use for him: He keeps the US military about 100 miles from the Chinese border.
    Unfortunately, he also treats his "subjects" so poorly, they are flocking over the border to avoid starvation, and China REALLY doesn't want several million staving people arriving in Liaoning and Jilin; China claims a robust economy, but they saw the mess (and costs) the commies left in Eastern Europe and want no part of it.
    Neither does South Korea, for all the claimed desire for "reunification!".

  • mtrueman||

    "Nuking them is not among the options;"

    It's always an option. What's the point of a 'nuclear deterrent' if it's never to be used? If the nuclear deterrent is to be credible, the opponent must believe in the possibility of its being used.

  • Tony||

    Foreign dictators looking to undermine the US keep helping Trump. HMM.

  • Sevo||

    Hey, shitbag, how about that nuclear war? Is this some 5D chess Trump is playing on idiots like you?

  • Tony||

    What nuclear war?

    Hey Kim might rationally believe that an unstable early-Alzheimer's case like Trump might nuke his country on a whim. Credit where it's due, I guess.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Kill yourself. You're a loathsome piece of shit. No one loves, or possibly ever could. You have no value so end it now.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|3.9.18 @ 1:15AM|#
    "What nuclear war?"
    The one you were claiming that Trump was causing, you steaming pile of shit.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    It's too bad Tony won't just commit suicide and get it over with.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Send Tony and his twin Red Tony to negotiate with Fat Boy-Un.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Only Yellow Tony can go to Korea.

  • Tony||

    Another libertarian demonstrating how well he handles freedom.

  • Zeb||

    Classy.

  • gclancy51||

    Why all the ad hominems on a website called Reason?

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Drink?

  • sarcasmic||

    Calling Tony a "steaming pile of shit" is an observation, not an ad hominem.

    And ad hominem would be "You're a steaming pile of shit, and that's why you are wrong!"

    And observation is "Based upon what you have said, I conclude that you are a steaming pile of shit!"

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I've gotta back Sarcasmic up on this one. Tony is both dishonest, and has Stalinist aspirations for America. Plus so much more that is malignant.

  • Sevo||

    "...Tony is both dishonest, and has Stalinist aspirations for America...."

    Tony is "honest" by accident, never by design.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I've noticed that too. He occasionally ends up showing a little ankle by accident. Betraying his dark anti freedom ambitions.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Trump should look that fat little turd right in the yes and tell him he gets nothing, and that in fact, he will NK will pay the catering bill for the meeting. Then he should explain that the US and it's allies will squeeze NK on every level until they dismantle their nuclear program, guaranteed by American inspectors given unlimited access with no notice.

    Anything less wont work since these faggoty little commies have never kept their word, ever. Outside of that, might as well get it over with and turn Pyongyang into a smoking crater. Not much else can be done with lying psychopathic shitweasels like them.

  • Echospinner||

    This is normal NKorean bullshit.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When Trump made overtures to Putin, in order to bring an end to the ISIS problem in Syria, half the American people were led to believe their collaboration could only have nefarious intentions--and Reason wasn't much help with that.

    ISIS lost almost all their territory through Putin and Trump's collaboration, even before the American people realized that ISIS was all but defeated. Somehow defeating ISIS as a threat to American security by working with Putin--sans the direct intervention with American troops on the ground that Hillary, McCain, and the neocons wanted--led to Trump being investigated by a special prosecutor.

    If Trump eliminates the nuclear threat from North Korea through negotiation or, God forbid, collaboration in some way, I wonder what will happen. Will they throw Trump in jail? After all, the North Koreans are a vicious dictatorship. Maybe eliminating an enormous long term threat to American security isn't worth it if it involves Trump shaking hand on camera with a fat kid. If that doesn't do it, then maybe they can prove that he banged Stormy Daniels.

  • Tony||

    Nobody cares about your ridiculous never-ending Trump leg humping. I'm curious, how many indictments of members of the Obama administration would it have taken for you to decide it was a shitshow beyond help?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Let's find out. Barry refused to prosecute any.

  • Tony||

    The Trump administration--model of accountability.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Irritated that those fast and furious docs are being released, tony? Understandable.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Your moronism continues.

    There is no way the NK nuke threat is ended via negotiation.

  • Eidde||

    So to sum up: It might work and it might not.

    Good to know.

    It sure would be nice if Trump were this master negotiator like he wants us to think he is.

    But even if he were, his supposed mad negotiation skills might not work on this Kim fellow, who seems kind of out there.

  • Eidde||

    One advantage of a direct Trump/Kim meeting - it makes Trump look super sane and rational by comparison.

  • Eidde||

    TRUMP: We're gonna make the best deal, it's gonna be great for both our countries!

    KIM: Sell me Jennifer Lawrence.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Her movies have been hit or miss, it her leaked selfies definitely prove she looks good naked. I would love to give her a rough pounding, standing doggy. In front of a full length mirror.

  • Zeb||

    I think he's more of a manipulator than a negotiator (though the former plays into the latter). And his skills are tuned for making real estate and television deals than for international relations.

  • gclancy51||

    "The world's lousiest country, run by paranoid murderers"

    Ah come on, you Yankees have some good apples, I assume.

  • gormadoc||

    I hate red delicious. They're too mealy. They also don't taste very good; the peel is too bitter.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh my GOD. What happens if Kim is the last person to talk to Trump? He'll convince the president to use the nuclear football against his own country. He'll blow us all up!

  • vek||

    I don't think anything useful will come from this, but it isn't going to hurt anything.

    NK knows if they give up nukes they could be invaded at any moment. That is why they will never give them up. He'd be a fool to!

    BUT he'd also be a fool to use them, because he'd be taken out instantly if he did. He knows this.

    So realistically he'll just sit there with his nukes until he either dies naturally, gets a coup pulled on him, or if things get real crazy he MIGHT someday decide to abdicate and reunify the Koreas, provided he is given protection from prosecution for any past crimes. But I doubt he would trust such an offer even if made, so he will likely just stay in power until he dies one way or another.

    But so long as he is in charge they will never give up nukes. The only compromise I can possibly imagine is if we let him keep nukes, BUT don't allow him ICBMs or other missiles beyond a certain range. Since we don't proactively attack if he can nuke SK and Japan, but it also saves the US, that might actually be a compromise that is possible. But it's also a pretty hollow/dumb compromise.

    Bottom line is if we were gonna invade we should have done it immediately after they tested their first nuke or something. Now multiple major cities will cease to exist if we do. So it's best to just wait it out at this point. As bad as a war there would have been, it would have made a hell of a lot more sense than Iraq or Afghanistan!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    NK ICBMs cannot hit anything accurately. They would just hit open Pacific Ocean.

    NK could nuke South Korea and Japan though.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Which is another problem. Now we have those countries, and others in the region. Considering their own weapons programs out of self preservation. As opposed to innate nuclear ambitions. Just the same as Iran having nukes in the ME.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its a ploy to gain time for NK to gain better technology to accurately nuke the USA. Once NK has that technology, nobody would mess with them.

    Until they have that technology, they can shoot their 10+ ICBMs at the USA and all will hit open Pacific Ocean.

    The less likely scenario is that Trump would be attacked by NK agents during his meeting but that would lead to the USA destroying NK.

  • Jordan||

    Nobody will mess with them now, because we aren't insane enough to sacrifice millions of South Koreans to take them out.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I'm relieved to know that you are the god of ballistics and have MADE IT SO. The rest of is mere mortals have to suffer under the cold laws of physics.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Ploy to gain time? Oh yes, because we are for sure gearing up for war. News to me. Where are the divisions staging all across Asia and the carrier strike groups moving from California to the Philippine Sea?

    Oh this is not happening you say!?! So we are not gearing up to invade.

    Thus, this changes nothing. Maybe all Trump gets from this is some frequent flier miles and gets a chance to eat some kimchi, but that is about the only thing that will change. Certainly not the status quo where North Korea can develop technology as they wish and we can sanction them to kingdom come.

  • Crisp||

    Trump is doing this for personal political gain. It's his motive on everything he does. That's what worries me is that Trump will sell out America's interests for his own short term political and personal interests.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    That wouldn't be much of a change from his predecessors, honestly.

    Maybe he just wants a shot to grab KJU's sister by the p***y?

  • Rebel Scum||

    US looks like saps, allies facepalm

    I thought Barry was out of office?

  • gphx||

    I'm surprised the headlines don't read 'Trump Colluding with North Korea!'.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Be patient.

  • Jerryskids||

    Credit where it's due - Trump has managed to do what no previous president has been able to do by getting North Korea to talk about curbing their nuclear ambitions in return for...... oh, wait, Clinton and Bush both got North Korea to sign agreements to halt their nuclear program and still North Korea went right ahead and failed to uphold their end of the deal once they got what they wanted? Who the hell's running North Korea? Donald "Never Keep Your Word If You Don't Have To" Trump?

  • chemjeff||

    When Obama negotiated with dictators, it was a sign of how much he hated America.
    When Trump negotiates with dictators, it is a sign of how much he loves America.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Obama didn't wear his MAGA hat to diplomatic meetings...

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Look at the enlightened liberals all ready to go to war to defend murica all of a sudden.

  • JoeBlow123||

    For real.

    You guys all prefer we just start lobbing cruise missiles at North Korea? Or is just easier to complain about Dictator Trump?

    If anything this is down to the work of South Korean President Moon, Trump is just playing the cards he was dealt.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Obama always sided with the greater of two evils. Look at the Iranian regime. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the ousted Marxist president of Honduras in 2009. Every time he backed the bad guys, or the worst of two or more bad guys.

    Marxist enthusiasts like him just can't help it.

  • n00bdragon||

    I'm not saying we need to go to war with them but there is absolutely no reason for anyone, particularly not a US president, to waste the hours of the day talking to North Korea. There is nothing new or unique about this time except that a president took the bait. The absolute very best outcome is that Kim has no intention of negotiating anything and is using the meeting purely for the photo op to bolster his domestic image. You'd think a """master dealmaker""" like Trump would be able to see when the person he is bargaining with has absolutely nothing to gain via talks.

    Pretty eye rolling to see Reason fall for this.

  • gormadoc||

    So what? Kim's domestic image is already good; it won't get bolstered much. If Trump is dealing with NK he isn't doing things here. Burying our heads in the sand and pretending the NKs don't exist or don't have nukes and refusing to talk with them would be the continuation of current US policy on NK, which, if you haven't noticed, sucks. I don't see any reason not to take the chance. The best scenario that could reasonably occur is that they keep building nukes but they aren't as likely to point them at us.

  • n00bdragon||

    Oh right, I forgot that Team America can't shirk its duty as world police. We have to make sure those evildoers don't get the nukes, right? Or else they'll definitely nuke us or possibly someone else we care deeply about. We must do something, and talking to them is something so we must do that. And if we talk to them and they don't make a deal or go back on their deals (just like they have countless previous times) we NEED to blow them up, right? To teach them a lesson that you don't mess around with 'murica.

    Actually ignoring them sounds pretty good. It's not burying your head in the sand. It's taking your ball and going home.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    What an asinine analysis of the situation. Yeah, a complete nut job with his own nuclear arsenal, touching off nuclear proliferation in the region while advancing his capability to eventually hit the continental US is a great idea.

    There is no walking away where we're free of this problem. Not in the long run. Or even the medium run.

  • n00bdragon||

    So what would you do about it armchair general?

    * Negotiations with them have always been a waste of time. They never hold up their end of any deal. They never have and nothing has changed about the situation to make anyone suspect they will start. Talking with them is at best a waste of breath and at worst just propping up an evil dictatorship while it continues its malicious acts against its neighbors and its own people.

    * Military intervention? Besides the horrific human cost that would undeniably entail (in american but especially in korean lives) when was the last time a US invasion solved a problem? (inb4unironicallywwii). But THIS time it will totally be different, right?

    * What about that strategy we've -been- using for the last twenty years: Ask China nicely to pretty please with sugar on top lean on North Korea and make them stop doing all the mean things they do. Turns out China likes North Korea being just the way it is.

    * What about fomenting and supporting a rebellion among its own people? North Korea is possibly the state most completely designed from the bottom up to prevent this from ever succeeding. You have a better chance of shooting down the moon with a handgun.

    Did I miss something?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    There isn't a,ways a good choice. If it becomes a choice between an American city being nuked, or S Korea suffering greatly, I say America first. Also consider that as their nuclear capability grows that the likelihood of S Korea being ravaged by the North grows also.

    That's the problem when you deal with delusional psychopaths like the N Korean regime. Oft en there is ultimately no talking your way out of it. Unfortunately, no one out the, down when the cost would have been much lower.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Also, N Korea is like a brainwashed cult. There isn't a hint of rebellion going on there. So I wouldn't count on that. Maybe in Iran. But not N Korea. And if you're expecting China to solve the problem, that has t worked out so well. Has it?

  • eyeroller||

    Libertarians used to say "close foreign military bases", which would include South Korea. Most of these commenters sound pretty bellicose though!

  • Jordan||

    That's because they're not libertarians. They're conservative hangers-on who were happy for the 8 years of (well-deserved) bashing of a Democratic president.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Including chemjeff and leo?

  • JoeBlow123||

    Lots of tough talk from everyone. I always love the armchair generals, directing our troops to the slaughter while they have exactly zero skin in the game.

    Reminds me of the people I grew up with, privileged rich liberals in South Florida and California. They go to good schools and end up working in high powered jobs to direct our financial and diplomatic might around the world which often involves the direction where we send our troops. How many of these people have military in the family, know people who served, or ever served? Few. So they see our troops as chess pieces (which they are) to be moved with no connection that their policies have actual real life repercussions on the chess pieces they move. So they bloviate about "Support our troops" and love the photo ops on bases with troops, but are as far away from the bullets as humanly possible.

    So fuck them.

    At least back in the day leaders like George H.W. Bush and John Kennedy and Truman strapped up for war, now we have reservist JAG fuckboys like Lindsey Graham slobbering at the mouth for war.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    "Libertarians used to say "close foreign military bases", which would include South Korea. Most of these commenters sound pretty bellicose though!"

    S Korea has been incrementally taking over their own defense responsibilities for years now. It's something that doesn't happen overnight, but it is happening.

  • mtrueman||

    "S Korea has been incrementally taking over their own defense responsibilities for years now. It's something that doesn't happen overnight, but it is happening."

    The ultimate commander of the Korean military is an American. Has been for years. Pardon me. The ultimate commander of the South Korean military is American. North Korea's military is commanded by a Korean and always has been.

  • Adam330||

    "Call me inexpert (accurately enough!), but I am so far failing to see a problem that outweighs the sliver of opportunity here."

    The problem is that Trump is complete idiot who is going to go into this completely unprepared, but wanting to make some grand deal to satisfy his ego. Kim is going to take advantage of that by making offers that will have the effect of driving wedges between the US, South Korea, China, etc.

  • Sevo||

    I guess it's a real shame we don't have the hag in power so she could go over and sell favors for a 'contribution' to the 'foundation', right?

  • TGoodchild||

    Is this Salon? No missile testing, no sanctions relief, and KJU sits down: what is the problem, other than those faced by TDS folks who will have aneurysms should anything productive result from the meeting? Alternatively, is anyone somehow entitled to other performance by either Trump or KJU? Idiots....

  • Eman||

    Really, what im excited for is these two tragically misunderstood world "leaders" to look into each others eyes and finally find the answers they had almost given up looking for, expect to laugh and to cry, or something.

  • XM||

    The word from the Korean media is that North Korea is short on energy, especially oil. In the past China would sneak in oil, but they've stopped doing that. Trump has something to do with that, but the KJU's missile antics is getting too much for China to handle.

    China has a billion people and the government can't feed them all. They need trade with USA, Korea, and Japan.

  • Sevo||

    As recently as two years ago, visitors reported that areas of Pyong Yang are going dark each night, so you can imagine what sort of power is available in the countryside.
    That soldier who jumped the fence in the DMZ was showing evidence of malnutrition, and if he can't keep bellies full in the military, it might be getting a bit dicey for Kim.
    I'm also not sure the meeting will ever come about with the preconditions both sides set and finding neutral ground. Like Stalin, that scum-bag is not likely to leave NK for fear someone else will be occupying his chair on return.

  • Echospinner||

    By getting Trump to agree to talks without preconditions and prior negotiations the North Koreans already won the first round.

    This is how they operate and have been successful every time. I think they have the playbook for Trump. His oversized ego is how they bypassed the rest of government and got him to jump in without any advice or deliberation.

  • Sevo||

    "By getting Trump to agree to talks without preconditions and prior negotiations the North Koreans already won the first round."
    That hasn't happened.

    "...I think they have the playbook for Trump. His oversized ego is how they bypassed the rest of government and got him to jump in without any advice or deliberation."
    TDS Stat! TDS Stat! TDS Stat!

  • mtrueman||

    "By getting Trump to agree to talks without preconditions and prior negotiations the North Koreans already won the first round."

    This is not the first round. The history of relations between North Korea and USA goes back a lot further than the past week.

  • Rosemary||

    so funny that this comes after the Prez announces tariffs. Seems like the Chinese tiger has been defanged.

  • Unable2Reason||

    Hold the talks at Camp David with no photos.

  • mtrueman||

    We don't want the communists to steal Trump's soul.

  • kramartini||

    Can't wait for the photo op.

    At 5 foot 7 inches, Kim is 2 inches taller than the average North Korean, but will look like a child next to the 6 foot 3 inch Trump...

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