The Jury Talks Back

6/13/2018

Trump: Sure, Kim’s a Killer, But Hey, Who Isn’t

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:16 pm

I’m not allowing comments on this post on the main site because I can’t bear to listen to people defend it. I’ll allow them here, if you follow the rules.

61 Comments »

  1. Utterly appalling.

    And yet totally in character.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 9:20 pm

  2. Donald Trump likes Kim Jong-un better than he likes Mark Sanford.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 9:21 pm

  3. Here’s a hint. Trump will not adopt a strategy of insulting Kim in an attempt to get him to agree to de-nuke. Instead, he will use flattery, at least publicly.

    I find this completely acceptable. Much better than a toothless agreement. Even if it all comes to nothing, it’s worth a shot.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/13/2018 @ 9:29 pm

  4. [Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back, where comments will be allowed according to the strict rules that apply there.]

    BTW, what are the strict rules that apply here? I scanned the page, but I don’t see them mentioned.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/13/2018 @ 9:32 pm

  5. BTW, what are the strict rules that apply here? I scanned the page, but I don’t see them mentioned.

    Just politeness — saying only things that you would say to someone’s face in their living room.

    Here’s a hint. Trump will not adopt a strategy of insulting Kim in an attempt to get him to agree to de-nuke. Instead, he will use flattery, at least publicly.

    I find this completely acceptable. Much better than a toothless agreement. Even if it all comes to nothing, it’s worth a shot.

    I believe that there is value in having the leader of the free world not heap praise on perhaps the biggest human rights abuser the world knows. I understand not insulting people with whom you are trying to reach agreement, but this is way over the top and sickens my stomach.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 9:40 pm

  6. Have we completely abandoned any notion of putting pressure on human rights abusers? Apparently, under this President, the answer is yes.

    Trump is showing weakness — as he showed by trumpeting this deal. Funny: Trump 2013 seemed to understand this:

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 9:42 pm

  7. Trump is an utter fool.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 9:43 pm

  8. (By the way, this comment thread does not require the politeness of one’s living room towards public figures, except to the extent necessary to be polite to one another. Calling Trump an utter fool is perfectly fine.)

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 9:44 pm

  9. I believe that there is value in having the leader of the free world not heap praise on perhaps the biggest human rights abuser the world knows.

    Heaping praise? Not in that which you quoted in your post. Trump just declined to take the opportunity to criticize. Instead he deflected by pointing out that there’s lots of other people who have done bad things. Which, btw, implicitly agrees with the premise of the question.

    Also, if you go by scale, Xi would be the biggest human rights abuser, at least alive.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/13/2018 @ 9:46 pm

  10. Heaping praise? Not in that which you quoted in your post.

    There’s a video embedded in the tweet. I suggest you watch it. Then you’ll understand where the “heaping praise” comment comes from.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 9:48 pm

  11. Have we completely abandoned any notion of putting pressure on human rights abusers?

    I certainly hope so. We are not the policemen of the world. But, since you obviously believe differently, what punitive measures would you have us take against China? Trade restrictions perhaps?

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/13/2018 @ 9:48 pm

  12. Which video? There’s a whole bunch of them in that tweet.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/13/2018 @ 9:50 pm

  13. I certainly hope so. We are not the policemen of the world.

    I disagree with that notion, but heaping praise on the guy is truly a bad idea.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 9:52 pm

  14. Which video? There’s a whole bunch of them in that tweet.

    I see only one. Look on the main site since it may not properly embed here.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 9:53 pm

  15. There’s 6 videos by my count. But, they all have different chyrons at the bottom. So, what does the one you are referring to have for a chyron?

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/13/2018 @ 9:56 pm

  16. Reminds me of Trump’s Tienanmen Square comments. He just has no moral compass and because no one around him can challenge him, Trump lacks any sense of self awareness.

    BTW perhaps our host should occasionally promote the Jury Talks Back with a topic that is reserved for the rules here. Days with extra moderation time available, I imagine.

    Comment by Dustin — 6/13/2018 @ 10:05 pm

  17. OK, I think I got the one you are referring to. After Baier called him a killer, Trump agreed by changing the term and saying Kim is a tough guy. He followed by saying Kim was very smart and a great negotiator.

    Seems pretty mild. I have no frame of reference, so I don’t know how smart Kim is or how able a negotiator he is. Maybe Kim is those things and Trump is just stating the truth. Or maybe those things are not true, but Trump wants to make Kim think that he believes those things. Either way, sounds like a standard negotiating ploy.

    BTW, I can’t help but notice that you didn’t say what punitive actions we should be taking towards China because of how awful they are on human rights.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/13/2018 @ 10:08 pm

  18. By the way, this comment thread does not require the politeness of one’s living room towards public figures,

    Say, isn’t a Deputy District Attorney a public figure?

    except to the extent necessary to be polite to one another.

    Ah, always a catch. :)

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/13/2018 @ 10:30 pm

  19. BTW, I can’t help but notice that you didn’t say what punitive actions we should be taking towards China because of how awful they are on human rights.

    I almost deleted that comment. You are in my living room now.

    I would start by not heaping praise on Xi when someone brought up his human rights record.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 10:50 pm

  20. OK, I think I got the one you are referring to. After Baier called him a killer, Trump agreed by changing the term and saying Kim is a tough guy.

    That doesn’t sound like “changing the term” to me. It sounds like responding to a contention that a dictator is a killer by praising him for being tough, which sounds in context like a whitewash of the killing. Which I find repulsive and sickening.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/13/2018 @ 10:55 pm

  21. I almost deleted that comment. You are in my living room now.

    I would start by not heaping praise on Xi when someone brought up his human rights record.

    I made my point politely. I asked a question that you either missed or ignored. Do you consider it rude to point that out?

    And, if declining to praise a leader for human rights violations is all you have in mind when you brought up “putting pressure on human rights abusers”, then it seems rather weak tea.

    Our country has to deal with people like Putin, Xi, and Kim. Personal insults by our leaders about other leaders does not advance our interests because it only serves to make the other leaders determined to answer insult with insult. Sometimes they will respond with more than words.

    It sounds like responding to a contention that a dictator is a killer by praising him for being tough, which sounds in context like a whitewash of the killing.

    That wasn’t praise. Trump didn’t want to call Kim a killer, but he didn’t want to deny it either. Watch the expression on Trump’s face as he says it. He is acknowledging Baier’s point, but switches the language to something more ambiguous. Tough guy can be construed as either a negative or a positive.

    He was polite to Xi as well. As will our next president be. GOP or Dem, they will not go on TV and call Xi a killer. Since Xi is now leader for life, he is almost certainly to be the one in charge of China in 2024. Which, btw, China censors any criticism of online. Who knows all of what they do offline.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/13/2018 @ 11:26 pm

  22. The kind of person that goes to extra lengths to be a toady/brown-noser/suck-up to people he wants to influence is the same person that expects others to kiss up to him in the same way, judging by the record. All in all, pretty much the mentality of an 8 year old.

    Comment by Luke Stywalker — 6/14/2018 @ 12:20 am

  23. Baier sort of let him get away with the ‘linkage’ exit line. Really should have come back at him hard w/a no, this is specific to this summit; to Kim and Trump; to NorK and the USA. But hey, it’s FriendlyFox..

    Comment by DCSCA — 6/14/2018 @ 12:22 am

  24. Same trump (sic), different day.

    Comment by nk — 6/14/2018 @ 4:36 am

  25. Finally, a human-rights abuser who is also an enemy of the US who….gets the attention of US liberals. Is there anything Donald Trump can’t do?

    Comment by Richard Aubrey — 6/14/2018 @ 4:52 am

  26. This fits Trump’s notion that all that matters is the relationship of the leaders in a negotiation. In fact, it helps explain why he doesn’t want diplomats to negotiate preparations before summits. He thinks all that matters is going face-to-face with other leaders.

    What it really tells us and other governments is that the way to negotiate with Trump is to stroke his ego, not to mention line his wallet. No wonder the Saudis pay for Trump hotel rooms, and imagine China’s state-owned bank negotiating with the Trump Organization about its lease in Trump Tower.

    How far should the “Don’t insult them” policy go? Trump wants to do deals with China. Should he compliment Mao’s Cultural Revolution? Is that why Trump blamed the US for the trade imbalance so he doesn’t insult China? How does it help negotiations to make the US look weak?

    Comment by DRJ — 6/14/2018 @ 5:26 am

  27. Our country has to deal with people like Putin, Xi, and Kim. Personal insults by our leaders about other leaders does not advance our interests because it only serves to make the other leaders determined to answer insult with insult. Sometimes they will respond with more than words.

    Clearly Trump does not believe insults are counterproductive or he would not use them against his political opponents in the US. He had no problem insulting them. It must be the threats posed by foreign governments/military that silences Trump’s insults.

    Comment by DRJ — 6/14/2018 @ 5:52 am

  28. That wasn’t praise. Trump didn’t want to call Kim a killer, but he didn’t want to deny it either. Watch the expression on Trump’s face as he says it. He is acknowledging Baier’s point, but switches the language to something more ambiguous. Tough guy can be construed as either a negative or a positive

    “Tough” for Trump is always praise, and here it was followed by him praising Kim as doing something only 1 in 10,000 people could do (inherit a throne), praising Kim for being smart and a great negotiator, etc. It is plain to see that he praised a guy who runs the most insanely totalitarian society on the planet. This is one of the many reasons Donald Trump disgusts me, and words like this matter.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 6:10 am

  29. If you choose to try negotiation with somebody like Kim, speaking obvious truths can create a problem. Viewed in utter isolation (without attendant Trump baggage), I can see a President deciding to say bland ambiguous things to a reporter, when a full-throated denunciation is the more honest and honorable thing to do. It’s debatable whether a President should do that, but the debate is one which reasonable mainstream people can differ.

    The problem is Trump comes with Trump baggage. Associates of his are under investigation for maybe conniving with Putin. Trump has a habit of saying nice things about Xi, Putin, and even Saddam Hussein. When Trump talks about dangers to the Republic or enemies of the people, he’s probably complaining about CNN again. So when Trump does this, all in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.

    So what to do? Is it worth posting about? Is this the outrage that finally convinces somebody that Trump is a bad person to have as President?

    This is what Trump has done to us. We can’t look at the thing he does without remembering the things he’s done, and that makes it very hard to analyze this particular move or that, and consider it without falling into some variety of apoplexy.

    Comment by Appalled — 6/14/2018 @ 6:16 am

  30. Our country has to deal with people like Putin, Xi, and Kim. Personal insults by our leaders about other leaders does not advance our interests because it only serves to make the other leaders determined to answer insult with insult. Sometimes they will respond with more than words.

    What are your views on Donald Trump calling Kim “Little Rocket Man”?

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 6:16 am

  31. 28. The degree to which Trump’s supporters are willing to twist his words to make them feel better about themselves is gobsmacking.

    Comment by Gryph — 6/14/2018 @ 6:16 am

  32. We don’t know why Trump is being nice. Does he want to do a deal or does he want to cultivate the leaders so he can work with their countries to develop Trump resorts? He talked to Kim about beach resorts.

    Comment by DRJ — 6/14/2018 @ 6:20 am

  33. So what to do? Is it worth posting about? Is this the outrage that finally convinces somebody that Trump is a bad person to have as President?

    That has never been my motivation or I would never post about Trump, since people who still support him are not going to have their minds changed by a post like this or, well, anything.

    I think it’s still objectively newsworthy when the leader of the free world heaps praise on a killer who staves his people, runs gulags, killed an American citizen, and is otherwise a totalitarian freak of nature. The fact that this in in characterand that it’s not the first time doesn’t make it less newsworthy but more IMO.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 6:21 am

  34. 33. That’s an angle I hadn’t considered. Newsworthy for no reason other than it’s the truth and ought to be said. Good point, Pat.

    Comment by Gryph — 6/14/2018 @ 6:23 am

  35. Trump will say almost anything on any given day. I thought that sad fact had been established several years ago.

    He should be condemned whenever the mood strikes you. Will it make a bit of difference? Not to him, but perhaps it will make you feel better.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku — 6/14/2018 @ 6:30 am

  36. He should be condemned whenever the mood strikes you. Will it make a bit of difference? Not to him, but perhaps it will make you feel better.

    That sounds like a belittling way of saying something that is true: I am indeed putting together a years-long document of my own ppposition to objectively absurd statements by the President of the United States. It was newsworthy when Obama said stupid or misguided things and it is when Trump does it too. The fact that Trump does this routinely makes it more remarkable in my eyes, not less.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 6:41 am

  37. “…heaps praise…”

    See this is where most people who understand what Trump is trying to do, part ways with your assessment of the situation. Objectively, Trump complimented Kim Jung in THIS interview. Objectively during the first 500+ days of Trump’s presidency, his use of “bad words” towards the Kim regime, far outweighs his use of “good words.” If Trump accomplishes a sea change in our relationship with the North Koreans, I could care less what “good words” were used.

    I’m speaking as someone who has real skin in this game.

    Comment by bendover — 6/14/2018 @ 6:43 am

  38. It was not meant to be ”belittling”. What I was trying to say is that it will matter only to you and those who think like you.

    The list you mention will also be assembled by others, as well. Will it matter? Yes, to some it will.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku — 6/14/2018 @ 6:48 am

  39. If Trump accomplishes a sea change in our relationship with the North Koreans, I could care less what “good words” were used.

    What is this “if” talk? Trump said we’re safe now. You’re running a real danger of subversion if you suggest any doubt about it already having happened!

    (The exclamation points mean I’m being tongue in cheek.)

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 7:06 am

  40. “… I’m being tongue in cheek.”

    “Tongue in cheek” … is good. Has a sense of style and subtlety that should be more in fashion around here. Certainly better then being cudgeled with Trump-humper, knob polisher, lick-spittle, etc..

    Comment by bendover — 6/14/2018 @ 7:19 am

  41. Trump’s abuse of objective truth is a real — shall we say — facet of his Presidency. And the “take him seriously but not literally” explanation offered by Trump’s defenders simply exasperates.

    Comment by Appalled — 6/14/2018 @ 7:27 am

  42. “Tongue in cheek” … is good. Has a sense of style and subtlety that should be more in fashion around here.

    Thanks.

    If Trump accomplishes a sea change in our relationship with the North Koreans…

    I wrote a post this morning that explains why you no longer have anything to worry about. Trump says so!

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 7:31 am

  43. 3. Instead, he will use flattery, at least publicly. I find this completely acceptable.

    It’s not the flattery that’s at issue, it’s the bogus false equivalencies that Trump is employing. The “everybody does it” defense doesn’t extend to dictators engaged in ethnic cleansing and systematically violating human rights. This hearkens back to his ridiculous un-American defense of Putin

    Comment by Paul Montagu — 6/14/2018 @ 8:41 am

  44. The Donald is acting more and more like Howard Beale as he broaches 72… and with these international ‘deals’ he’s beginning to ‘meddle with the forces of nature’ … and due to be called in to meet with Arthur Jensen… to atone.

    Comment by DCSCA — 6/14/2018 @ 3:48 pm

  45. What are your views on Donald Trump calling Kim “Little Rocket Man”?

    As you’ve no doubt noticed, Trump has a different approach to those who are willing to work with him as opposed to those who are adversarial or combative. He usually tries to make a deal / work with people.

    North Korea, many believe (including me), is a vassal of China. When Kim was firing his rockets, it was with approval of the Chinese. Xi was and is the real guy that Trump has to make a deal with. Xi/Kim wasn’t willing to deal at that point anyway, so Trump bashed Kim while publicly showing politeness to Xi.

    Now that Xi has let Kim play dealmaker, Trump will go along with the charade. Not that I think that no deal will come. I hope there will be one. But, whether there is one or not is up to Xi. And if he wants access to our markets, he’ll have Kim make the deal.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/14/2018 @ 5:16 pm

  46. Clearly Trump does not believe insults are counterproductive or he would not use them against his political opponents in the US. He had no problem insulting them. It must be the threats posed by foreign governments/military that silences Trump’s insults.

    Trump almost always answers insult with insult and respect with respect. Has Putin ever insulted Trump? I have never heard of that happening. On the other hand, when US politicians insult Trump, he answers in kind. It is amazing to me that some people hear the insults against Trump and then are shocked when Trump answers back. True, Trump is usually more adept at that game, but still, when he flings an insult, you can make book that the other guy started it.

    I know, not presidential. He should just take it and be the bigger man. Stuff and nonsense.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/14/2018 @ 5:22 pm

  47. When we were discussing Trump’s effusive praise for Kim you said:

    Our country has to deal with people like Putin, Xi, and Kim. Personal insults by our leaders about other leaders does not advance our interests because it only serves to make the other leaders determined to answer insult with insult.

    When I asked you for your view about Trump’s personal insults towards the leader of North Korea, you defended him on the basis that he had been insulted first.

    Are you amending your opinion? Do you still believe this?

    Our country has to deal with people like Putin, Xi, and Kim. Personal insults by our leaders about other leaders does not advance our interests because it only serves to make the other leaders determined to answer insult with insult.

    I’m left confused by whether you think personal insults by our leaders about other leaders advance our interests. If your position is that they do when the other leader starts it then I assume you want to amend the opinion I have quoted here twice.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 6:10 pm

  48. Also, is a personal insult a greater justification for tough talk than murders, gulags, and starvation? I can’t possibly see how it could be.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 6:12 pm

  49. Finally, I have been told before that Brett Kimberlin and Neal Rauhauser have a philosophy that they mercilessly attack other people only when attacked first. Thing is, they consider it a personal attack if you write truthful things about them while they are public figures.

    The notion that Trump only “hits back” accepts the narrative that, say, reporters who write or say truthful things about him are fair game for attacks because they “attacked” first. I don’t accept such narratives. This is entirely unrelated to the North Korea situation but it is something that is worth saying, because my experience with those cretins makes me intolerant of people who admire the “punch back twice as hard” ethic. That ethic is often used to squelch legitimate criticism.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 6:15 pm

  50. When I asked you for your view about Trump’s personal insults towards the leader of North Korea, you defended him on the basis that he had been insulted first.

    No, I didn’t say that Kim had insulted Trump first.

    Trump was reacting to Kim’s missile launches. Sabre rattling with some personal insults mixed in.

    Also, is a personal insult a greater justification for tough talk than murders, gulags, and starvation? I can’t possibly see how it could be.

    Regarding NK, it was a tactic. As far as the gulags, etc, nothing anyone else has done has had the slightest effect on NK’s human rights actions.l I doubt anything Trump is contemplating will have that effect either. That’s not his goal. He’s trying to affect Kim’s external actions, not his internal ones.

    But, who knows. If NK becomes less hostile to SK and the rest of the West, if he gets rid of his nukes and long range missiles, if there is some Western investment in NK, maybe that kind of engagement will moderate some of their worst abuses.

    But, that’s not the purpose of what we are doing now. Even if Kim remains the same internally, as long as he adopts a less hostile posture externally, then that’s a success. Another Trump success.

    Finally, I have been told before that Brett Kimberlin and Neal Rauhauser have a philosophy that they mercilessly attack other people only when attacked first. Thing is, they consider it a personal attack if you write truthful things about them while they are public figures.

    So that’s where you are going with this? Trump is like Kimberlin?

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/14/2018 @ 6:33 pm

  51. I said too many things in that comment when I wanted to focus on one thing:

    Our country has to deal with people like Putin, Xi, and Kim. Personal insults by our leaders about other leaders does not advance our interests because it only serves to make the other leaders determined to answer insult with insult.

    Do you stand by this?

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 8:25 pm

  52. Stalin and Mao did bad things, too. Chou En-Lei was Mao’s right hand. Deng Xiao Ping had thousands murdered in Tianamen Square. We signed a treaty with Ho Chi Minh. Gorbachev came up in a system that hardly allowed clean hands. Putin is a unreformed KGB killer. Yet we work[ed] with them all.

    So, let’s start with saying that our nation has to deal with people we detest and would rather see dead. The alternative is usually war.

    Now, the praise thing. Well, Truman, the icon, said he could deal with Uncle Joe. Jimmy Carter KISSED Brezhnev (wrong in so many ways). W said he liked Putin. Obama was downright chummy with the Russians.

    Trump is not that far off this mark. In his defense, and yes I will defend him, he is following the plan he announced on Meet the Press 20 years ago. “I would negotiate like crazy” before going to war.

    Part of that is getting Kim to see he can come out of the cold and help his people. The alternative is a short life in a deep bunker. Trump is an actor, playing a part, and right now that’s cajoling Kim to come into the light. So, good cop.

    Will it work? I doubt it. Is it worth trying? Sure. The alternatives are 1) war, or 2) years of crisis, then war with more risk.

    Comment by Kevin M — 6/14/2018 @ 9:52 pm

  53. Have we completely abandoned any notion of putting pressure on human rights abusers?

    That worked so well for Jimmy Carter in Iran. We are trying to get Kim to change, to lead his people out of the darkness his grandfather crated. To let him know that it will be all right, if he does (and conversely).

    Again, Trump explained his unwillingness to tolerate a nuclear NK, his feeling that war would be necessary, but that we should do everything possible to avoid that through negotiation. In 1999. NOTHING he has done as President is off that script.

    Comment by Kevin M — 6/14/2018 @ 9:59 pm

  54. Trump also plays bad cop (e.g. “Rocket Man”)

    Comment by Kevin M — 6/14/2018 @ 10:00 pm

  55. Now, the praise thing. Well, Truman, the icon, said he could deal with Uncle Joe. Jimmy Carter KISSED Brezhnev (wrong in so many ways). W said he liked Putin. Obama was downright chummy with the Russians.

    Which of these do you agree with? The one that you say was “wrong in so many ways”? Some other one? All of them? None?

    If it’s none, I’m missing the point of your comment. If it’s all, I’m not understanding why the Carter example was “wrong.” If it’s some, I’d be interested to know what distinguishes one from another.

    Comment by Patterico — 6/14/2018 @ 10:03 pm

  56. I said too many things in that comment when I wanted to focus on one thing:

    Our country has to deal with people like Putin, Xi, and Kim. Personal insults by our leaders about other leaders does not advance our interests because it only serves to make the other leaders determined to answer insult with insult.

    Do you stand by this?

    I stand by what I meant. :)

    I think that politicians throwing out insults for purposes of posturing; to do so for political gain at home, is usually counterproductive as far as working with the foreign leader. But, there are times when it makes sense for tactical reasons.

    I especially think it’s a mistake when it comes to the internal politics and actions of the foreign leader. We do not need the POTUS to be calling Xi a killer because of reports that China is harvesting organs form political prisoners. We are not willing to go to war over the issue. We are not even willing to issue sanctions over the issue. Therefore, POTUS calling out Xi on the issue is likely to be counterproductive when we are trying to deal with him about their external actions. On the other hand, if we are unhappy about their currency manipulation, cheating in trade issues, military actions in the South China Sea, etc, then it makes sense for POTUS to criticize on those issues.

    No doubt there are more clauses and clarifications that I could add, but I think you understand what I’m saying.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 6/15/2018 @ 9:21 am

  57. Pat–

    My comment is that Trump is not an outlier. Other presidents have praised despots with less reason. Trump — if you believe he is following his 1999 script and not just a doddering old senile fool (possible) — is “negotiating like crazy” with a man who has a western education and who is living in a system he did not build. Maybe there’s a chance of turning him. It’s worth a try.

    Has Kim done horrific things? Certainly. Is he the heir to a horrific system? Yes, that too. Would a kinder, gentler approach by Kim have worked? Or would he be dogmeat by now? Hard to say, but I’d bet that system doesn’t respect nuance much.

    Whatever the means, he now has utter control over his country, and even that might not be enough to make the changes required to avoid war. But we should offer our enemy a path of retreat.

    Now, is Trump’s “good cop” clumsy, transparent and condescending? That’s the criticism I have. But nearly anything is better than war between nuclear-weapons states.

    Comment by Kevin M — 6/15/2018 @ 6:12 pm

  58. But nearly anything is better than war between nuclear-weapons states.

    Except, of course, allowing NK to remain such.

    Comment by Kevin M — 6/15/2018 @ 6:14 pm

  59. Trump doesn’t follow a script, he views each situation in the moment, without regard to any previous decisions. This shouldn’t be surprising given we’ve experienced his seat-of-the-pants egomaniac personality for nearly 3 years. Trump praising anyone is simply a way for him to get something, and when you’re perceived as an obstacle or an enemy he coins a nickname and gives you both barrels on Twitter.

    I hardly see why anyone is worked up over the words that spill out of his mouth, and if world leaders are all a twitter over his tweets and praise for “Rocket Man” then they’re more idiotic than I previously thought.

    Comment by Sean — 6/16/2018 @ 9:16 am

  60. I agree with your first paragraoh, Sean, but not with the second paragraph. I think a President’s words matter and the world should be able to rely on them.

    Comment by DRJ — 6/17/2018 @ 9:02 am

  61. DRJ, I agree that they SHOULD matter and be taken seriously, but we have an unserious President, which I’m pointing out should be a fact that World Leaders understand by this point. If they haven’t figured that out then the world has bigger problems than Trump’s tweets or his mouth.

    Comment by Sean — 6/17/2018 @ 11:07 am

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