September 11, 2018

North Korea’s Military Parade

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

“With no long-range missiles on display, North Korea staged a military parade on Sunday focused on conventional arms, peace and economic development as it marked the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding... The parade [highlighted] themes of military accomplishment, national development, and international engagement.” Reuters

President Trump tweeted on Sunday, “This is a big and very positive statement from North Korea. Thank you To Chairman Kim.” Twitter

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stated that President Trump “received a ‘very warm, very positive’ letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asking for a second meeting and the White House is looking at scheduling one.” Reuters

Meanwhile, NBC News reported that according to three senior US officials, “the newest intelligence shows Kim’s regime has stepped up efforts to hide its nuclear weapons production,” pushing the Trump “administration to take a much more aggressive stance toward Pyongyang.” NBC News

See past issues

From the Left

While the absence of long-range missiles could signal a step forward in nuclear talks, many on the left remain skeptical of Kim Jong-Un’s intentions and Trump’s eagerness to declare victory.

Like India, Pakistan, and Israel, “the country may [now] avoid talking about its nuclear capabilities, even though the world knows it has bombs... So looking at this another way, North Korea just acted like an established nuclear power and received praise from Trump for it. That could lead Kim to think the US will accept North Korea’s arsenal as long as he doesn’t boast about it."


“Despite the lack of any clear movement toward denuclearization three months after their summit in Singapore... Trump has sought to portray his detente with Kim as a foreign policy triumph."

Los Angeles Times

Counterpoint: According to a former US ambassador, President Obama had “essentially told Trump… that ‘if North Korea continued their tests — and they need more tests to have a survivable weapon — that we would strike, probably a limited strike’... Trump hasn't made North Korea's nuclear weapons go away, but he has helped make the immediate danger they pose to the US take a hike for now."

Business Insider

The big question now is what happens with the sanctions imposed last year... As Trump threatened military action against North Korea over its nuclear tests and numerous missile launches, China overcame its usual reluctance to implement international sanctions against North Korea and cracked down on border trade like never before. Now, with diplomatic talks underway, albeit in fits and starts, China has no need to continue blocking North Korean exports."

Washington Post

Trump's “goal, it seems, is to put so much pressure on Tehran that it has no choice but to completely change its behavior — but he could end up leading the countries to the brink of war in the process… Now is typically the time when cooler heads prevail, but it’s unclear if there are cooler heads around… It’s hard to overstate how avoidable this situation was.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

From the Right

The right is cautiously optimistic about the latest developments.

From the Right

The right is cautiously optimistic about the latest developments.

“The Hermit Kingdom revels in showing off its latest and deadliest toys, especially to mark holidays and anniversaries, so the absence of ICBMs, which can theoretically deliver a nuclear payload to the US, was notable... possibly an indication Kim is making good on pledges to suspend long-range missile development."

New York Post

“Kim Jong Un surely was under pressure from top military and government officials to showcase Pyongyang’s might at a time when the country is under tremendous pressure, its economy contracting at the sharpest rate in 20 years, thanks to tough economic sanctions... Yet, Kim showed restraint."

The Hill

Some suggest that the primary audience was not Trump but South Korean President Moon Jae-in: “Kim brandishing the ICBMs would have made it all the harder for the South Korean president to claim that [the] North Korean dictator is negotiating in good faith. In other words, Kim just made it a whole lot easier for Moon to write him a check."

Weekly Standard

Counterpoint: Kim Jong-Un is “willing [to] forego nuclear testing and certain missile tests. He’s also willing to stop showing off his nuclear-armed missiles in his parades. And in exchange, he’s expecting the United States and its allies in Asia to stop complaining about it... But this does not mean that Kim is offering to give up those weapons."

The National Interest

“Trump is lavishing praise on Kim as a manipulation (as Kim is with Trump) while turning up the heat [via sanctions enforcement] to force Kim into denuclearization. This way Kim has room to claim that it’s his idea... Trump needs to hold firm against [relaxing sanctions] and force Kim into real, verifiable concessions first.”

Hot Air

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

“The Democrats want to talk to Don McGahn, and maybe they will ultimately prevail in court to get his testimony, but what’s the point? McGahn talked extensively to Mueller, and surely everything remotely damaging is already in the report

“Congress has the report, and now it is up to it to decide. But it doesn’t want to. It’s too painful to admit that the Mueller report was a bust on Russia and that the obstruction material, while damaging to Trump, is hardly a slam dunk; that the public doesn’t support impeachment; that if the House goes through with it anyway, it will end with a whimper in the Senate; and that it’s better for Democrats to focus on beating Trump in 2020 than a forlorn impeachment.”
Rich Lowry, National Review

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

Nietzsche, Nicole and a number: How a mass email brought 240 Calgary women together.

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