Victor Davis Hanson on the North Korea Crisis and the Ongoing Problem with NeverTrumpers

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 August 11, 2017|
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Victor Davis Hanson returned to the “Seth and Chris Show” to discuss how North Korea became a crisis, what China’s role is, how the United States can reassert itself in Asia, and why so many movement conservatives have become estranged from each other over President Trump. The complete transcript is below.

Seth Leibsohn: We are delighted to welcome back to the show Professor Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow in residence in classics and military history at the Hoover Institution, contributor to American Greatness, and military historian. Nonpareil Professor Hanson, thank you for joining us again.

Victor Davis Hanson: Thank you for having me.

Leibsohn: Professor, it’s an interesting thing when you’re on this side of the business in radio. When you look for an area or an issue and you need to get an expert. You want to talk to experts. It’s surprising how few North Korea experts there are in America. And it dawned on me, you know, something Irving Kristol once said, foreign policy isn’t that hard. You just need to know right and wrong. So, I thought I’d go to a military historian such as yourself, and help us unwind how we got here and where you think we rationally can go.

Events have developed, at least rhetorically, they’ve heated up quite a bit over the last 48 hours. But the truth is, we’re blaming a thunderclap when the clouds have been darkening and coming for some time.

Hanson: Yeah. I think it’s been, the idea that each administration understood that if they said the right thing, that is, the right appeasing thing, and they offered enough money and they placed their trust in China, that they could get through four or eight years without a nuclear weapon going off. Or if it did, it happened in 2006, they could contextualize it.

So that’s what Bill Clinton, who is the worst offender to be fair, and then George W. Bush and Obama did. So. You put it all together, it’s 24 years. And that gave them enough time to develop a strategic threat. It was diabolical and evil, but it was, there was a brilliance about [North Korea’s] strategy because 30 million people that are in a failed state suddenly have the world’s attention. They’re shaking down the world for billions of dollars the last three decades.

They’ve bifurcated U.S. strategy for the first time in 70 years, because our interests are now not identical with South Korea’s. Because of, you know, in 45 minutes you can blow up Facebook and Google and Apple and a million people who live around them. And that means that we have some other interest other than Seoul, South Korea. In the old days, we would say to Seoul, you’re welcome to a sunshine policy. You’re welcome to talk to them. Do what you have to do, because you’re on the front lines. Now we’re saying to them, we’re both on the front lines, so be careful what you do because it affects us as well. That was something that North Korea was able to achieve.

We’ve never really looked at China. We’ve always said, we’ve had this establishment in foreign policy that’s always said, “It’s not China’s interest,” fill in the blank. It’s always been in China’s interest, because it ties down U.S. assets. It makes us angry, upset, we invest blood and treasure.

Leibsohn: I have to tell you, I’ve always thought we were kidding ourselves and that it was a bad joke when people said, well, North Korea’s, you know, militarism is not in China’s interest. It just always sounded like a bad joke to me.

Hanson: Yeah. It’s always been in their interest, and they’ve gotten a lot out of it. And I think it’s now incumbent to make them pay. We need to tell them, you know, we have to use every card. India’s in a dispute with China in the Himalayas. I don’t know why we just cut Russia completely off. I know that Putin’s a thug and a killer, but we could have triangulated with Russia. As we did in the old days. To make China unsure of what our relationship is with the largest nuclear power in the world.

And we’re gonna have to raise the nuclear card with South Korea and Japan. We need to get a very sophisticated missile defense from the Philippines to Australia to Taiwan. Not South Korea to Japan, not only to deter North Korea, but at a level that would deter China and take away their first-strike threat.

I work at a university where, when I go in the elevator up to my office, every day there’s 10 to 20 people from, you know, China. They’re not Chinese Americans, they’re not green card holders. They’re visitors. And they’re here because they’re trying to lobby and get their children into Stanford and they’re looking at expensive properties in Silicon Valley. And we need to tell them, if you don’t do something, you’re all gone. No more Cal Tech foreign students. No more Stanford, no more Berkeley, no empty mansions in Beverly Hills, no houses in the Seattle suburbs. Gone. Get out.

All of that seems extreme, but it’s very mild in comparison with living with a nuclear weapon pointed at Seattle or San Diego. And notice how the Left has said, that well, this is sort of like Mao in the 1960s, and we lived with him, so let’s just get used to it. And, we’ve got a lot of, make some tough decisions coming very quickly.

Leibsohn: It’s not. Neither is it as extreme, Professor Hanson, as some of the other things that people have been talking about over the past few days. You know, the idea of a conventional war, the idea of taking Donald Trump’s words to their extreme conclusion, you know, “fire and fury.” As some said, that could only mean an atomic or a nuclear attack. What you propose is not anywhere near that level of extremism. That having been said, if we don’t have the will to act like that, on our own shores, you know.

I don’t know how quickly we can move on missile defense. I think that that is a sad, sad tale of willful neglect that has left us in the position we’re in now. And by us, I mean California, Alaska, Hawaii, for that matter, Guam. And the rest of the civilized world. That’s something that could have been done in three years with something like 30 billion dollars. And I hope we do it now, and quickly.

But what are the options? If we look at something militarily. They’re not good, but they can’t be taken off the table of our imagination.

Hanson: No, not off the table.

Leibsohn: No.

Hanson: Before I answer that, just remember that our president in a hot-mic conversation, “I’ll be flexible with Vladimir.”

Leibsohn: Correct.

Hanson: I mean on missile defense. He used the words missile defense.

Leibsohn: Yes.

Hanson: He used them in a different context, but the technology did not improve under his administration. And everything he said on that hot-mic became true. We … Russia behaved in 2012 and did not act like it does now until after Obama was reelected. Of course, if Trump had said something like that, we would have Robert Mueller with his indictment for collusion.

But nevertheless . . .

Leibsohn:  Well, hold that thought. I mean, before nevertheless. That’s kind of an interesting thing about you know, the wave of thought right now is that Russia interfered in our elections. Here you had Obama directly interfering with Russia on our elections. It’s kind of an interesting thing to think about for a moment.

Hanson: Yeah. He also, remember, interfered in the Brexit vote.

Leibsohn: Yes, of course.

Hanson: And he interfered in the Macron election and, got on TV and said, “Do not vote Le Pen.”

Leibsohn: And, of course, the Israeli vote.

Hanson: In the 2015 Israeli vote, he actually sent agents, our operatives, to go over there and try to defeat Netanyahu.

Leibsohn: Yeah.

Hanson: But I mean, we can go . . . we can, I suppose the idea is that if you were to go after the [apparatus] in the way that we couldn’t do with Saddam, we tried it. But we would send bunker-busters after, I don’t know, 10 or 15 of these big compounds, we would have to go after the conventional artillery sites. There’s up to maybe 8,000 of them. And . . .  we would have to go over the nuclear sites. So you know, and we’d have to do that, I think, if we were gonna preempt without nuclear weapons, and we’re not in the same situation that we were eight years ago as far as our capabilities that we . . .

Leibsohn: . . . Right, once upon a time the thinking was, we could do something along the lines of what Israel did with Osirak, but we’re not in that position anymore, and the fallout would probably be too, well not too great, maybe too great, but also greater than anything that could have been contemplated back then.

Hanson: Yeah. And, I think that that it’s possible, and people are advocating that, but we would have to rely on help. Probably from the Japanese, South Koreans, and I don’t think we should count on any of our Europeans. But we need to find ways, first of all, we have about eight different steps as I said, that we could employ immediately and graduate them and escalate them, as far as China’s concerned. Because all the technology, all the capital, all the financing, came from China. And North Korea couldn’t have done anything. They can’t do anything without China. China knew it, they understood that they had a pit bull on their leash, and they cut it off to aggravate us.

And we know that if South Korea was under a dictatorship like it was in the ’50s and they had nuclear weapons and they were saying, “We’re gonna take out Beijing on Monday, and Shanghai on Tuesday,” China would invade. They would do something. Or they would attack us, or they would yell at us for allowing that to happen. So they know what they’re doing, and I think to be frank, I don’t want to scapegoat the Obama administration too much, but over eight years of fake step-over lines, fake deadlines, fake red lines, getting out of Iraq, ISIS, the Libya fiasco, Putin invited into the Middle East. All that put together created a climate of appeasement without any deterrent. And that’s what we’re looking . . .

Leibsohn: Yeah I know. That’s a sad tale of one big toxic confluence. I said yesterday, and I don’t know if you would agree, maybe we can answer it on the other side of the break because we’re heading into one right now, professor. I said yesterday, I think, you know, administrations often are, you know, thrown off their agenda and defined by a surprise foreign policy problem or international relations problem they did not foresee. Recent history testifies to that.

I think in some respects the Trump presidency will be judged on North Korea. Didn’t ask for it, but the war may have come. Can you stay with us one more segment? We’ll address that on the other side.

Hanson: Yes, yeah.

Leibsohn: Victor Davis Hanson, from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. We’ll be right back.

Delighted to welcome back Professor Victor Davis Hanson from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University talking about North Korea. Taking a broader view. Professor Hanson, I was struck in Donald Rumsfeld’s autobiography. He says when Dick Cheney held, was having his confirmation hearings for secretary of defense in the first H.W. Bush administration, he received zero questions on Iraq. And that when he, Don Rumsfeld, was getting his confirmation hearings, in, I suppose, 2001, he received no questions on Afghanistan. Two international issues that ended up defining both presidencies. Irrespective of whether anyone like Mattis or Tillerson was asked about North Korea, it has been my view for some time that North Korea will be the international story that defines the Trump presidency. There’s no stake in it, but do you think that that’s a possibility? I mean, the stakes really, at this point, seem to be as high as we could get.

Hanson: It’s gonna work out to Trump’s advantage, because while there’s this controversy over McMaster being supposedly too accommodating to former Obama people, all of these controversies deal with the Middle East. Iran . . .

Leibsohn: Right.

Hanson: . . . and radical Islam. But anybody who knows him and Mattis realizes that Obama got rid of Mattis because he was too tough on questions that we’re talking about right now, he felt. And the same thing, McMaster was stymied, never got to four stars, for the same reason. And when you put both those guys, and you add Kelly and I think that Tillerson’s probably in the same boat, and Nikki Haley, you’ve got a really PR wise, experience wise, militarily, you’ve got three lieutenant, full generals and I think we’re in a good position, because I think they are going to be, in this particular, this is where we need people that believe in deterrence, and they understand that you can’t kick the can down anymore. And that this Left-wing …

Mark Bowden wrote an article the other day in The Atlantic saying how we could live with these nukes pointed at us. Not good, but they’re not an existential threat. And so you have a movement now, on the Left and the man, the foreign policy establishment, to accept this quid pro. And if we do that, of course, China sees that as weakness and goes around to all our allies from Australia to the Philippines and says, “Look, you know, the United States is in decline. We’re ascendant. We pushed them around. We have a nut plant that’s pointing . . .  You really want to be with people like that?”

And just the opposite will happen, if we can solve the crisis. China, at some point, we’ve gotta make it in their interest. It’s cost effective for them, so far, to the present crisis. But at some point, there are carrots and sticks. There’s also carrot, we could say, you know, you’re gonna come off pretty well in the world community if you squash North Korea. You’ll be a player. Not that that is a big incentive, but it’s some incentive, and if we have a lot of sticks as well, I think that we could pressure them.

Leibsohn: I have [to] get your take. You write, prodigiously and prolifically. I have been somewhat offended by a few Republicans and even more Democrats statements over the last 24-, 48-hours blaming Donald Trump for his rhetoric. For having ratcheted up this crisis. It started with John McCain, it’s now been echoed and aped by Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer.

The message, you know, I would put out, is it’s not the rhetoric or actions of Donald Trump that have brought us to this crisis. It is the actions of tyrants and, if there is a history lesson in this world that bears repeating, it’s that when tyrants show you who they are, believe them. And too many people haven’t.

Hanson: By the same token, it’s the rhetoric of Barack Obama that was empty. We take, and he said things as you remember, in the North Korean matters. There’ll be severe consequences if this would happen. If they break the international community will unite, except that it was empty rhetoric. It’s a lot more dangerous.

And then we have to also remember that Bill Clinton said that if North Korea were to go down that path, it would end the regime as we knew it. James Mattis said the same thing the other day. So people. . . William Perry, remember, before his latest incarnation, had said that we had to take out the missiles on the launch pads immediately in a preemptive strike. So there’s been a lot of people who’ve said far more inflammatory things, and they were in positions of power. President, secretary of defense, etc.

But Trump is in a situation now where he’s iconic of everything the Left and the Republican NeverTrump people hate. So they’re going to give him no margin of error. And, you’d think they would unite in a crisis like this, but Lindsay Graham, John McCain, all those that . . .  Bill Kristol, that establishment, hates Trump with a visceral hatred. For a lot of reasons that transcend . . .

Leibsohn: It’s sort of interesting that they would be the first to decry his rhetoric. Somewhat militaristic rhetoric. Given some of theirs.

Hanson: I deal with them a lot, at the Hoover Institute …

Leibsohn: Yeah.

Hanson: And at National Review. And if you say, who, just say, President X has [reduced] immigration by 75 percent. President X has broken the world energy market and . . .  emasculated OPEC and the Russians. President X has deregulated the state. President X got 2.6 economic growth, stock market, unemployment.

And then they look at you and they say, “What’s your point?” And I said, “If it was anybody but Trump, you would be for all this, because you can’t find any particular initiative that you are against. His federal judicial appointments, whatever. But you don’t like him, the person.”

Well, he’s vulgar. He’s no more vulgar than other people have been, but there’s something about him that represents to you, his voice, his mannerisms, his occasional vulgarity, his … all of his flaws, they only focus on that because it represents an affront to their class culture.

Leibsohn: I worry sometimes, Victor, that they’re a little bit, not a little bit, in some cases quite overtly, rooting for failure. A very dangerous and terrible place to be in.

Hanson: Well they’ve . . . once they took that position, and they doubled down regardless of the issue, there was only one way out. That was, “I told you so.” And I told you so can only happen if he’s removed from office, or quits, or doesn’t run again, or you know, anything. But any other thing, even if he survives or much less if he were successful, it’s the refutation of everything they warned about. He wouldn’t be conservative, he wouldn’t be successful. He would have lousy appointments. He’d appoint his sister to the supreme . . . All that stuff didn’t happen, and now they’re sort of discredited and they’re looking for an escape hatch, and the escape hatch is Donald Trump’s failure. No matter what the issue.

It’s been a big wake-up call. I’m 63, I’ve known these guys for 30 years, some of them. And, you kind of get estranged from them. You don’t want it to be personal, but these people that I didn’t really know, you know what I mean? I thought I knew them, but when I read what they write every day, they’re unhinged. And I don’t see how they’re ever going to come back to the Republican party, and if they think they can impeach or get rid of Trump and they’re gonna save the Republican party, they don’t realize that Trump is the … he’s consequence, he’s not a catalyst. He’s a reflection of a new movement. Of people who were sick of them. And they can’t win without that core. Blue state, blue wall group. And they’re never gonna get it back with John Kasich or John McCain or any of those people.

Leibsohn: Yeah, I think they’re missing it. And I think they’re missing a movement they were part and parcel of, more importantly. And sadly, I think they’re missing America. They’re missing something big in this country. They’re missing this country, what’s going on in it.

Hanson: Yeah, I think so. They have a visceral either dislike of people in rural Ohio or the San Joaquin Valley or . . .

Leibsohn: It’s a terribly sad thing to say. What else could one conclude? Victor, I wanted to be sensitive to your time, and thank you for coming on.

Hanson: Thank you for having me.

Leibsohn: So quickly, really appreciate all your work and you’ve got a real star. I’ve worked with her for years and years. In your research assistant, Megan Ring. She’s just great. I wanted to do a shout-out to her. I’ve worked with her for a number of years. You’ve . . .

Hanson: She’s very good.

Leibsohn: You’ve got great people, Victor.

Hanson: Thank you.

Leibsohn: And you are good people. Thank you for joining us.

Hanson: OK.

About the Author:

The Editors
  • K.W Dulong

    Professor V.D.Hanson is a very smart man indeed. This may very well be the most balanced insightful article I’ve read on the DPRK issue. 25 years of appeasement as diplomacy has brought us to this point. Bending over and taking the whacks from a dictator who’s intentions are fully clear isn’t the answer to this problem.
    Too many of our legislators are only to willing to pay ransom to the barbarians. That thinking led to the downfall of Rome.
    We should learn from history lest we repeat it.

  • Felix

    VDH clearly articulates what all voters must remember and consider in the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections.
    There is no “Republican majority”, not in the House, not in the Senate. What we have is a Deep State with labels that mislead. A “Uniparty” if you will…
    Beleaguered and pretty much on his own, Trump and his movement absolutely MUST primary out all RINOs in 2018.
    Only then can any full measure of success have a chance of living. It is/will be a “last chance” event.

    • Orson

      I already left the GOP after 19 years, because McConnell lef failure to lift the fascist boot of Obamunism from American’s neck. I did so the day after the “skinny” bill failed….McCain plus his empathizing Swamp-things.

  • A Chinese student told me that China sees North Korea as a buffer between the American sphere and its own. Think of the two spheres as balloons blown up by their principals. It was the Chinese army that stymied us at the 38th Parallel half a century ago. Now the Chinese balloon has grown larger, and is pushing hard against the American one, popping out wherever it can, like in the South China Sea. We can push back, but China will never let us conquer the entire Korean peninsula, and we can’t afford to let prosperous South Korea fall into the Chinese orbit.

    The solution, it seems to me, is to recognize China’s interest in Korea, and to negotiate a new multilateral treaty that creates a neutral, non-nuclear nation on the Korean peninsula, one that is allied with neither power. It is in both our and China’s interest to neutralize the North and end the Kim regime, and a new government in a neutral Korea will do that.

    /L. E. Joiner https://walkingcreekworld.wordpress.com

    • Don L

      Negotiating a nuclear-free Korean peninsula may mean first arming the South for leverage. I can’t see that happening unless the North or its master–China–use military force first, in which case, it’ll be too late.

      • Actually, it may only take authorization for Japan to nuclearize. Or not even that. We have a lot of economic leverage with China, and a non-aligned, non-nuclear, unified Korea would be in China’s interest as much or more than in ours. The secret of resolving potential conflicts is to (a) recognize great-power realities on the ground (China is a lot stronger than in 1954) and (b) come to an accomodation that is in everyone’s interest.

        /L. E. Joiner

    • China’s FIRST choice is a NUCLEAR North Korea that aligns with (is dependent on) China. It’s their junkyard dog. It’s no threat to them — they feed it and if it barks too loudly at them they can shoot it and walk away. Meanwhile it consumes our resource and threatens our interests.

      In the future it’ll be even more valuable to China. If they decide on military action that we don’t like — Taiwan, the South China Sea — we may suddenly be told by North Korea “Dear America — You better not interfere out here: Be a real shame if you lost Pearl Harbor or San Francisco.”

      Hanson’s right that we might be able to change the balance of China’s interests with regard to NK, but as of now, Kim’s valuable just as he is.

      However: The kind of diplomacy that would be needed to change the equation short of war is now impossible because all the rest of the power in Washington hates Donald Trump and many of them — as Dr. Hansen says — to the point that they’d rather he fail, regardless of the cost to the country.

      We will have war, probably nuclear. May it come soon, because North Korea’s abilities are advancing daily.

      • A nuclear junkyard dog might appeal to China, but it is doubtful that another Korean war would, especially one that threatens to spread in unforeseen directions. On the other hand, they want recognition of their increasing influence in the Pacific. A neutral Korea would give them that.

        /L. E. Joiner

  • ed furman

    “It’s been a big wake-up call. I’m 63, I’ve known these guys for 30 years, some of them. And, you kind of get estranged from them. You don’t want it to be personal, but these people that I didn’t really know, you know what I mean? I thought I knew them, but when I read what they write every day, they’re unhinged.” It’s a great description of what I’ve experienced. I also have friends who live in other parts of the county that are dealing with the same thing.

    Sane, rational, decent and smart people who start griping about everything Trump like the drunk uncle character from Saturday Night Live.

    If Trump isnt the hideous creature all these NT Intellectuals and the mainstream lefty media insists he is, millions of riled up people are going to become even angrier. If 2018 doesn’t result in substantial dem gains, the results will make 2016 seem subdued.

    • Christine Golden

      We’re going to hit them in the primaries.
      http://www.deplorableCongress.com

      • ed furman

        Are you supporting Brooks in Ala.?

        • Christine Golden

          I live in Texas, not Alabama, so I’ll be supporting Ted Cruz.

          • ed furman

            I thought this was a national group. is it only in the state of Texas?

  • Don L

    “It started with John McCain, it’s now been echoed….by Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer.”

    My take; there is little difference in kind, between the Pelosi crowd and McCain’s, when it comes to undermining all that Trump says or does…regardless of the harm done to America.

    • madhatter46

      Swampitis knows no distinction between an R or a D.

  • Gefilte Fisherman
    • ed furman

      Would you please clearly state your point? Enough with the pictures and the stars already.

  • Gefilte Fisherman
  • roastytoasty

    in a truly amazing development, “The Nation” has published a nearly-conclusive take-down of the entire Russiagate meme. It must be seen to be believed! Queen Mother of The Left, Katrina vanden Huevel has cut the Clintons loose! OMG! Katy-Bar-The-Door! https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

    • Sam McGowan

      Very good article, from a left-wing magazine. I read about this a month ago on other sites.

  • Anthony Valenti

    I strongly believe that the US needs to destroy NK launch pads.

    We do not need to invade. It needs to be measured with the message that ‘enough is enough.’

    Right now, NK has nuclear weapons, from what I have read, in the kiloton range of TNT, similar to the bombs dropped on Japan.

    Once they are miniaturized and placed on ICBM’s they will look to develop megaton bombs with the help of China and perhaps Russia and Pakistan.
    From there, we could expect to see ICBM silos/Mobile Launchers throughout
    NK. There is already indications that NK is building island like the Chinese
    with launch pads and silos. At least that’s what the photos indicate.

    It will never end. And perhaps NK will look to share this technology with Iran? And who will Iran share it with? Venezuela with its ties to Russia, Iran, China, Hezbollah?

    And if sometime in the future NK with a nod from China/Russia decides
    in a first strike, will it be viewed as a strike from China/Russia also?

    And it may be that SK ultimately views its future with China, especially if we return to the
    appeasement strategy of the past.

    NK has suffered a he famine in the past and may be close to another one.

    “We may have to go on an arduous march, a time when we will again have to eat the roots of grass,” said an editorial in the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

    And at the same time that we destroy NK’s launch pads or as many as we can to make the point, we should do the same with Iran. VDH is absolutely
    right in a previous conversation that Iran is taking notes.

    Or we can kick the atomic bombs down the road or down a snowy hill and watch them become bigger and bigger and bigger.

    Trump may or may not last beyond 2020. We should act with a sense or urgency and destroying some of their launch pads puts the ball in their court.

    I also believe that in the near future (I am thinking in terms of years.), we may need to use tactical nuclear weapons as the most efficient way to deal with NK and our other
    enemies. My thinking being that the two bombs dropped on Japan ultimately saved lives, both Japanese and Americans. How many Americans would have
    died invading the island and how many Japanese would have died softening up the
    Japanese for the invasion?

    I suggest we consider using tactical nuclear weapons against Boko Haram in Nigeria.

    ‘Since the current insurgency started in 2009, it has killed 20,000 and displaced 2.3 million from their homes[19] and was ranked as the world’s deadliest terror group by the Global Terrorism Index in 2015.’- Wikipedia

    It has somewhere in the range of 5000 to 7000 fighters. It is not practical to kill them 5 to 10 at a time. They are kidnapping young girls to produce the next generation of Jihadists. And it will be a clear message to NK, China, Russia and Iran.

  • Anthony Valenti

    I strongly believe that the US needs to destroy NK launch pads.

    We do not need to invade. It needs to be measured with the message that ‘enough is enough.’

    Right now, NK has nuclear weapons, from what I have read, in the kiloton range of TNT, similar to the bombs dropped on Japan.

    Once they are miniaturized and placed on ICBM’s they will look to develop megaton bombs with the help of China and perhaps Russia and Pakistan.
    From there, we could expect to see ICBM silos/Mobile Launchers throughout
    NK. There is already indications that NK is building island like the Chinese
    with launch pads and silos. At least that’s what the photos indicate.

    It will never end. And perhaps NK will look to share this technology with Iran? And who will Iran share it with? Venezuela with its ties to Russia, Iran, China, Hezbollah?

    And if sometime in the future NK with a nod from China/Russia decides
    in a first strike, will it be viewed as a strike from China/Russia also?

    And it may be that SK ultimately views its future with China, especially if we return to the
    appeasement strategy of the past.

    NK has suffered a huge famine in the past and may be close to another one.

    “We may have to go on an arduous march,
    a time when we will again have to eat the roots of grass,” said an editorial in
    the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party of
    Korea.

    And at the same time that we destroy NK’s launch pads or as many as we can to make the point, we should do the same with Iran. VDH is absolutely
    right in a previous conversation that Iran is taking notes.

    Or we can kick the atomic bombs down the road or down a snowy hill and watch them become bigger and bigger and bigger.

    Trump may or may not last beyond 2020. We should act with a sense or urgency and destroying some of their launch pads puts the ball in their court.

    I also believe that in the near future (I am thinking in terms of years.), we may need to use tacticalnuclear weapons as the most efficient way to deal with NK and our other
    enemies. My thinking being that the two bombs dropped on Japan ultimately saved lives, both Japanese and Americans. How many Americans would have
    died invading the island and how many Japanese would have died softening up the
    Japanese for the invasion?

    I suggest we consider using tactical nuclear weapons against Boko Haram in Nigeria.

    ‘Since the current insurgency started in 2009, it has killed 20,000 and displaced 2.3 million from their homes[19] and was ranked as the world’s deadliest terror group by the Global Terrorism Index in 2015.’- Wkikpedia

    It has somewhere in the range of 5000 to 7000 fighters. It is not practical to kill them 5 to 10 at a time. They are kidnapping young girls to produce the next generation of Jihadists. And it will be a clear message to NK, China, Russia and Iran.

  • Sam McGowan

    North Korea can’t be thought of only in terms to their threat to the United States, real or imagined. They’re a potential threat to Asia. Yes, they’ve launched a couple of missiles and yes, they have nuclear capability (so does Israel, although they’ve never admitted it.) Kim is not stupid. He knows damn well that if he fires a missile at Guam, Japan or Okinawa, he’s going to provoke a response from the United States he won’t survive. Personally, I doubt if anything is going to come out of this except a lot of articles and radio/TV appearances by experts who’ve never seen a man die in combat. Donald Trump is doing what he always does – he’s letting Kim know that if he misbehaves, he’ll pay the consequences. By the way, none of those generals Trump brought into the White House have real combat experience either.

  • Cybergeezer

    If it is widely known that Google, Apple, Microsoft, FaceBook, YouTube, AND HOLLYWOOD!, will be destroyed by a N. Korean missile strike, the outrage will coincide and support PRESIDENT TRUMP’s dialogue.

  • Peter63

    The Never-Trumpers’ hatred of Donald Trump did not have its original cause in his vulgarity or his accent or the way he combs his hair &c &c.

    Its original cause is that he showed them all up as Conservatives-only-in-name. They had spent their careers paying lip-service to certain selected conservative ideals (low taxes, less government); but actually went along with and indeed in many cases championed massive government growth and the military-industrial-complex’s endless greed-driven itch for foreign wars in the name of nation-building; and all these Conservatives-only-in-name were never sincere enough to fight any of the urgently necessary conservative battles.

    They did not rage at mass immigration – legal and illegal – rapidly transforming the historic American nation. They did not fight the cultural war – the one which matters most. They could have used their pulpits and their connections to call for and organise a voluntary levy across the country from all conservatives to set up an alternative movie and TV industry. They didn’t.

    They bent the knee to the ‘liberal’ anchors and interviewers in the media by accepting their terms of reference in broadcast and published conversations. This was because they valued far more being on TV, radio and in print as minor celebrities than actually spelling out the radical wrong-heartedness and wrong-headedness of the ‘liberal’ positions. And in turn THAT was because they are worldly mediocrities, not people of principle.

    Trump was the small boy who, by throwing his hat in the ring, pointed out ‘The Emperor has got nothing on’ while they were instructing everybody to admire their bespoke suit and express that admiration as funding for the likes of National Review, their think-tanks and their seats on broadcasting panels.

    It is this, rather than a sort of snobby cultural distaste, which has made them all along DETEST this President (and the people who voted for him).

    Mr Trump has made them look irrelevant and has probably shortened immensely their careers as pundits and Congress-members – whether he succeeds or fails. He has called them out; and in the arc-lamps which, policy-wise, his campaign has shone upon them, they cut shrunken (and frankly ridiculous) figures.

    Their rooting hard now for failure – this President’s, the nation’s at home and abroad – completes their downfall by reducing them to hooting owls of glumness.

  • Anthony Valenti

    I strongly believe that the US needs to destroy NK launch pads.

    We do not need to invade. It needs to be measured with the message that ‘enough is enough.’

    Right now, NK has nuclear weapons, from what I have read, in the kiloton range of TNT, similar to the bombs dropped on Japan.

    Once they are miniaturized and placed on ICBM’s they will look to develop megaton bombs with the help of China and perhaps Russia and Pakistan.
    From there, we could expect to see ICBM silos/Mobile Launchers
    throughout NK. There is already indications that NK is building island like the
    Chinese with launch pads and silos. At least that’s what the photos indicate.

    It will never end. And perhaps NK will look to share this technology with Iran? And who will Iran share it with? Venezuela with its ties to Russia, Iran, China, Hezbollah?

    It has been reported that NK is also building artificial islands that appear to be for launch pads and silos. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/north-korea-build-artificial-islands-miltary-installations-pyongyang-sohae-satellite-station-a7716976.html)

    And if sometime in the future NK with a nod from China/Russia decides
    in a first strike, will it be viewed as a strike from China/Russia also?

    And it may be that SK ultimately views its future with China, especially if we return to the
    appeasement strategy of the past.

    NK has suffered a he famine in the past and may be close to another one.

    “We may have to go on an arduous march, a time when we will again have to eat the roots of grass,” said an editorial in the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

    And at the same time that we destroy NK’s launch pads or as many as we can to make the point, we should do the same with Iran. VDH is absolutely
    right in a previous conversation that Iran is taking notes.

    Or we can kick the atomic bombs down the road or down a snowy hill and watch them become bigger and bigger and bigger.

    Trump may or may not last beyond 2020. We should act with a sense or urgency and destroying some of their launch pads puts the ball in their court.

    • Orson

      Sadly destroying NK launch pads is irrelevant now, with their new mobile launch pads. Do keep up if you want your lengthy comments to be worth reading. Thanks!

      • Anthony Valenti

        Musudan-ri is a rocket launching site in North Korea at 40°51′N, 129°40′E. It lies in southern North Hamgyong province, near the northern tip of the East Korea Bay. The area was formerly known as Taep’o-dong (대포동), from which the Taepodong rockets take their name.

        Kittaeryŏng site is located in Kangwon province, which borders South Korea. It is used for launches of short to medium-range missiles and has a pad for mobile launchers.

        Kalgol-dong site is located in Chagang province and houses Hwasong-5/6 missiles, targeting South Korea.

        Kusŏng site is located in North P’yongan province and houses Rodong missiles. It targets U.S. forces in Japan.

        Okp’yŏng-dong site is located in Kangwon province and houses Hwasong and Rodong missiles.

        Pongdong-ri site is located on North Korea’s west coast, about 50 km south of the North Korean-Chinese border.

        There are other numerous smaller sites, scattered around the country,
        serving for mobile launcher pads. Some larger sites are under
        construction.

        Launching capabilities

        Silo-based launch:

        South Korean government sources are reported to have stated that a missile silo complex is located south of Paektu Mountain
        near the Chinese border. The silos are reportedly designed for mid- to
        long-range missiles, but it is not clear if all of them are operational.[5]

        Launch pads:

        Launching pads are required for the more sophisticated Taepodong-1/2, as their liquid propellant is difficult to store and the missile must be fueled immediately before launch. This launching method poses a great risk, as the site itself is extremely vulnerable to airstrikes. Launching pads can be used to test different types of SRBM, IRBM and ICBMs, and to launch space satellites, but they are of little value if any of these missiles is to be deployed as a strategic weapon.

        Mobile launcher vehicles:

        North Korea extensively uses mobile launchers for its missiles, including the Rodong-1 and the Hwasong-10. These are hard to detect and significantly improve survivability.

        Submarine/ship-based launch:

        The Korean People’s Navy
        is not currently known to have any ballistic missile submarines in
        service. However, it has started research and development on a
        capability to launch ballistic missiles from submarines[6] and has successfully fired a missile from one of its test submarines.[7]