The big question for the Trump presidency so far has been how the administration will react to its first major international crisis. Well it looks like we are getting ready to find out and the initial reviews are not good.

That first crisis has definitely surfaced in the form of North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles with the potential for striking Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. For two decades, American presidents named Bush, Clinton and Obama were unable to stop North Korea’s growing nuclear capability.

The totalitarian regime with its unhinged supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un, which operates as a criminal enterprise aided by Chinese and Russian bankers, has literally starved its citizens to enable development of its nuclear program.

During 2017, North Korea conducted at least 17 missile launches. On Feb. 11, North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range missile while President Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Abe. On March 6, North Korea launched a ballistic missile that traveled 620 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan. During May, several intermediate-range ballistic missiles were tested, including one with a range capable of reaching Guam.

On the Fourth of July, the regime tested its first ICBM, which traveled 2,500 kilometers into space, landed more than 930 kilometers from its original launch site and could have reached Seattle. On July 28, North Korea test-fired another ICBM with the potential to strike America’s Eastern Seaboard.

On Aug. 8, U.S. intelligence reports again indicated that North Korea has developed an untested miniature nuclear warhead. It is not clear whether North Korea can arm an ICBM with a nuclear warhead and it is certainly not clear that they can actually hit a target with one yet.

It is, however, clear that North Korea is joining the world’s nuclear family significantly ahead of schedule. Even its strongest allies are finally alarmed by the regime’s bellicose activities. Last week, the U.N. Security Council, including Russia and China, voted 15-0 for “the strongest sanctions ever imposed in response to a ballistic missile test.”

The sanctions did not cut off oil shipments to North Korea and experts differed on their potential effectiveness, but it was the Trump administration’s greatest diplomatic achievement. For the first time, the United States, China and Russia took joint action to stop North Korea’s nuclear program.

The stage was set for the American president, the leader of the free world, to demonstrate the leadership we expect from our great statesmen such as FDR, Kennedy and Reagan. The opportunity to finally force Russia and China to shut down North Korea’s nuclear program was there for the taking.

Instead, channeling his inner Kim Jong-Un, President Trump blustered he would meet North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The Trump administration is now scrambling again to cover for a president who talks first and thinks later, while much of the rest of the world is left to wonder if America’s president is more dangerous than North Korea’s supreme leader.

Neil G. Baron, an attorney and former League City Councilman, is writing columns from a progressive perspective.

(29) comments

Carlos Ponce

Again another DNC talking points column from Neil.
Trump is not taking the path taken by other presidents for a reason. If the efforts made by past presidents actually worked the trouble with North Korea would not exist. Time to try something different. Be patient, Neil, have confidence in a president who doesn't kowtow to petty tyrants.

Ron Binkley

That's BS. We have a President that hasn't done a damn thing except shoot off his mouth and wear down his fingers on Twitter. He is an embarrassment and he is going to get us into a war that could be prevented.

Carlos Ponce

Ron, This president hasn't done anything?????? That's WRONG!!!!! He is embarrassing the previous administration by accomplishing much in a few months. Stop looking at the anti-Trump fake news channels and get educated! Ignorance can be cured.

Ron Binkley

Yeah, he has done SO much that he only has a 36% approval rate. He hasn't signed one piece of important legislation yet! If somebody would just close his Twitter account he would have a much better chance at proving he is just not a big mouth New Yorker with no manners.

Carlos Ponce

36% Approval rating??? If you believe in "polls" then check again. They are now at 45%. Most people quit believing in those things after polls showed Hillary had a clear path to the presidency and Trump had none. Still, the gullible believe.[rolleyes]

Jim Forsythe

Is this Trumps plan , for himself?
"President Donald Trump, who has continued to ramp up the rhetoric against North Korea, tweeted in 2012 that President Barack Obama will "have to start a war or major conflict" to win a second term in office because of his bad poll numbers. "

I guess some only love polls if they our in the lead.
"I love the polls," Trump said, as Lemon referenced the recent CNN-sponsored polls that showed him with huge leads in Iowa, New Hampshire and nationally."

Several polls had him winning the Electoral Collage and losing the popular vote.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Donald Trump would earn enough votes to win the presidency in the Electoral College based on UPI/CVoter's state tracking poll released Monday.
Trump would amass 292 votes and Clinton would get 246 with 270 needed to secure the oval office.
But the candidates' leads are narrow enough -- 5 percent or less -- in 12 states to classify them as swing states, meaning 156 electoral votes could be up for grabs.


Jim Forsythe


If the following is true it may explain all the tough talk toward North Korea , because we know that they can not hurt us yet.  
"North Korea still does not appear to have mastered missile re-entry technology and will take at least one or two more years to do so, although its ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead is advancing quickly, South Korea's vice defense minister said."

North Korea is financing missile program how? Maybe this is how!
If one buys cloths from China, it could have been made in North Korea.
Chinese textile firms are increasingly using North Korean factories to take advantage of cheaper labor across the border, traders and businesses in the border city of Dandong told Reuters..
The clothes made in North Korea are labeled "Made in China" and exported across the world,

What about the UN sanctions
Using North Korea to produce cheap clothes for sale around the globe shows that for every door that is closed by ever-tightening U.N. sanctions another one may open. The UN sanctions, introduced to punish North Korea for its missile and nuclear programs, do not include any bans on textile exports.
Dozens of clothing agents operate in Dandong, acting as go-betweens for Chinese clothing suppliers and buyers from the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Russia, the businessman said.
"We will ask the Chinese suppliers who work with us if they plan on being open with their client -- sometimes the final buyer won't realize their clothes are made in North Korea. It's extremely sensitive," he said.

How large has this become?
Chinese exports to North Korea rose almost 30 percent to $1.67 billion in the first half of the year, largely driven by textile materials and other traditional labor-intensive goods not included on the United Nations embargo list, Chinese customs spokesman Huang Songping told reporters.

Chinese suppliers send fabrics and other raw materials required for manufacturing clothing to North Korean factories across the border where garments are assembled and exported.
if you would like to read the rest of the story, http://www.narutoforums.com/threads/north-korea-factories-humming-with-made-in-china-clothes.1109163/

George Croix

Well, two kernels of grain stand out among all the chaff in this:

"For the first time, the United States, China and Russia took joint action to stop North Korea’s nuclear program."

That makes the GDN supplied title at odds with the fact that one cannot fail a first diplomatic test and at the same time accomplish for the first time diplomatically what no other has accomplished.
More of that misleading we were promised would never happen...[rolleyes]

"The stage was set for the American president, the leader of the free world, to demonstrate the leadership we expect from our great statesmen such as FDR, Kennedy and Reagan."

I note the conspicuous absence of ex-Pres. Obama, with 8 years to lead vs 7 months, from the category of great leadership, despite the virtual lip lock on him by the author in past columns.
Comes the dawn..????[wink][beam]

Ya figure Kim worries more about a guy who puts America first and who'd blow his head off if it came to that, or one who'd just blow harder and blame America first like he's been used to...??
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the decision is yours to make...

Steve Fouga

It's far too early to call the president's actions a failure. My educated guess is that they'll work, war will be averted, and the U.S. will end up with at least as strong a position with respect to N Korea as before. These things sometimes take years to play out. As Carlos so often says, be patient.

David Doe

Doesn't the President and the American people deserve the opportunity to wait and see how this transpires? So far we know the last 5 administrations have Failed.
I hate to say it but the author of this Opinion based article is jumping the gun and a negative nelly.

Jarvis Buckley

Neil I don't even believe you believe what you write. You just write these articles to make a living. More power to you.

Diane Brodie

North Korea backed down on their threat. WINNING!!

Jim Forsythe

How is this any different than before the Trumps speech, as to what he would do to them. The threats are still the same.
"Dictator Kim Jong-un had decided against the missile attack, according to the report, after making preparations to launch it. He warned that North Korea was still ready to attack Guam if the U.S. continued to make “arrogant provocations” and “unilateral demands.”
“If the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the self-restraint of the DPRK, the [North] will make an important decision as it already declared,” he said."

Could this just be a attempt to deflect away from Russia? Or is it Dictator Kim Jong-in trying to get his name highlighted in History ?

George Croix

Everything is an attempt to get away from Russia, Jim, ever since 2014 when the last Admin. was warned they were trying to interfere and since 2016 when they were TOLD it WAS happening right now, all the way to today when the losers just can't get over the 'most qualified person to ever ride in a Scooby van failed to win the election and lost to a rookie like Donald Trump.
It's all diversiion.
Or, all of the 'collusion' conspiracy bunch actually think the Russians have not been trying to interfere everywhere at any time since their 1917 Revolution.....
The same folks who saw no 'collusion' in The Secret Tarmac Meeting.....
Raise your keyboard if you really think the Rooskies have ever NOT wished to mess with this country.

Anyone?
Anyone?

Jim Forsythe


Warning from South Korea  52 mins ago

"SEOUL, South Korea — With his public alarmed by President Trump’s recent threats to North Korea, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea issued an unusually blunt rebuke to the United States on Tuesday, warning that any unilateral military action against the North over its nuclear weapons program would be intolerable.
“No one should be allowed to decide on a military action on the Korean Peninsula without South Korean agreement,” Mr. Moon said in a nationally televised speech"

Steve Fouga

A reasonable admonition, in my opinion. Of course the U.S. is a sovereign nation, and can act as it will. If we did act unilaterally we would receive universal rebuke, strongly warranted, in my opinion.

George Croix

Sounds like the expected political Dog and Pony show/speach that all heads of state make.
Nothing new there.
I do note that it's still tolerable for SK to accept US aid and cover for the last 65 years....
[beam][beam]
Buy a Kia and help the South Koreans become independent of us....
Oh, wait...that won't work.... [rolleyes][innocent]

Steve Fouga

Yes, it's a finely tuned stalemate: N. Korea, S. Korea, China, and the U.S. all have little to gain and a whole lot to lose in an armed conflict. That's why it's very, very, very unlikely to happen.

Funny posturing from leadership. Plenty of embarrassing hysteria from the public. It's like no one knows how to conduct a Cold War anymore... [beam]

Jim Forsythe

To help  the South Koreans become independent of us ,may take awhile..

The U.S. provides Israel $3 billion in aid, compared to about $6 million for S Korea
That's not all the aid.
In the most recent agreement, announced in early 2014, South Korea said it would pay $866.6 million that year to support the U.S. presence. That was 5.8 percent higher than the 2013 amount, and that could grow by as much as 4 percent annually through 2018.
If you look at the most straightforward amount -- salary and benefits for 28,500 troops, which according to experts is roughly $100,000 a head -- then South Korea’s payments account for slightly more than 30 percent of U.S. costs in 2014.

What do we get out of it.
"U.S. forces are no longer there strictly to defend South Korea," said William W. Stueck, historian at the University of Georgia. "They are there to enhance regional stability as well. The point is that we have vital interests in East Asia and the Western Pacific, so why shouldn't we pay part of the bill for our force presence?"
Allan R. Millett, a historian and director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, agreed. "Alliances are not to be measured in dollars, but in their effectiveness at deterring conflict," he said.

Is the money we spend , well spent?
It’s also worth pointing out that South Korea’s willingness to share the costs means that it’s cheaper for U.S. military to support those 28,500 troops, compared to having them stationed elsewhere, even at bases in the United States.   

How much assistance do we provided North Korea, this was before 2009. How much do we provide now?
Updated July 31, 2008
Since 1995, the United States has provided North Korea with over $1 billion in assistance, about 60% of which has paid for food aid and 40% or so paying for energy assistance. 

Carlos Ponce

"With his public alarmed by President Trump’s recent threats to North Korea..." Not the public, just the anti-Trumps which include Leftist media. Check the news, North Korea has given an Emily Lietella "Never mind" to their threats. Will the Lamestream media give Trump credit for Kim backing down? No.And if you believe in polls, Trump's have RISEN since his North Korean rhetoric.

Jim Forsythe

For someone who does not believe in polls, you sure quote them.

Carlos Ponce

Notice I posted "If you believe in polls". I DON'T. The polls are not reliable, oversampling Democrats, and they hardly ask Republicans. An accurate poll would would show Trump's numbers were NEVER as low as reported. Bad demographic sampling leads to GARBAGE results. His last favorability rating is at 45%. What is it REALLY??? 50%, 55%, 60% or what?

Jim Forsythe

What group do you see his approval rating increasing?
As 30% of American voters identified as Democrats, 23% as Republicans, and 45% as Independents, increased approval for the President is going to come from? 

Approves  the job Donald Trump is doing as president?
Even if 100% of Republicans approved , he would not be at a very high  approval range. The one group that could make his numbers go up are the Independents. But each week Independents are not increasing in support of the President.

Approve  the job Donald Trump is doing as president.
Republicans   80%
Independents  30% 
Democrats  9%  
 

Steve Fouga

"And if you believe in polls, Trump's have RISEN since his North Korean rhetoric."

You are correct, more than half a point in aggregate. I predicted this. You can ask my wife. I believe it happened when he shot missiles at Syria, too. Saber rattling is good for presidential popularity.

Jim Forsythe

It may  not ne just the South that we provide money or aid to.
How much assistance do we provided North Korea, this was before 2009. How much do we provide now?
Updated July 31, 2008
Since 1995, the United States has provided North Korea with over $1 billion in assistance, about 60% of which has paid for food aid and 40% or so paying for energy assistance. 

Since 1995, the United States has provided North Korea with over $1 billion in assistance, about 60% of which has paid for food aid and 40% or so paying for energy assistance.  As shown in Table 1 below, U.S. aid fell significantly in the mid-2000s, bottoming out at zero in FY2006.  The Bush Administration resumed assistance in FY2007.  In the fall of 2007, when progress began to be made in the six-party talks over North Korea’s nuclear program, the United States began providing heavy fuel oil (HFO) in return for Pyongyang freezing and disabling its plutonium-based nuclear facilities in Yongbyon.  The United States also is expected to provide technical assistance to North Korea to help in the disabling and dismantling processes.  In May 2008, the Bush Administration announced it would resume food assistance to North Korea by providing 500,000 metric tons (MT).  The first shipment was sent on June 29, 2008, after an agreement on monitoring was signed. Food aid to the DPRK has been scrutinized because Pyongyang restricts the ability of donor agencies to operate in the country. Compounding the problem is that South Korea and China, which in recent years have been North Korea’s two most important providers of food aid, have little to no monitoring systems in place. In 2008, U.N. officials have called for international donations of food to avert a “serious tragedy” in North Korea, as hunger has deepened
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS21834.pdf

Carlos Ponce

And most of that came during the Clinton years and budgeted for 2001 as well. Notice that the number dropped to $0 during GW Bush's term.

Jim Forsythe


"Notice that the number dropped to $0 during GW Bush's term." For a short time. I do not know about the years after 2008.

U.S. aid fell significantly in the mid-2000s, bottoming out at zero in FY2006.  The Bush Administration resumed assistance in FY2007.  In the fall of 2007, when progress began to be made in the six-party talks over North Korea’s nuclear program, the United States began providing heavy fuel oil (HFO) in return for Pyongyang freezing and disabling its plutonium-based nuclear facilities in Yongbyon.  The United States also is expected to provide technical assistance to North Korea to help in the disabling and dismantling processes.  In May 2008, the Bush Administration announced it would resume food assistance to North Korea by providing 500,000 metric tons (MT).  The first shipment was sent on June 29, 2008,

Carlos Ponce

Still, the Clinton administration gave them more. That's like paying a bully not to beat you up.[innocent]

Jim Forsythe

"Still, the Clinton administration gave them more." No , even with a year when GW Bush was President and U.S. Assistance 
it drop to a low number. The number dropped to $0 during GW Bush's term, for less than a year.
Below is a  breakdown of total  U.S. Assistance .


The total  U.S. Assistance to North Korea, 1995-2011 in total  ($ million)  1,313..            
                    .
The total  U.S. Assistance to North Korea      1995-1999 in total ($ million)  531.
The total  U.S. Assistance to North Korea     2000 -2008 in total ($ million)  752.
The total  U.S. Assistance to North Korea      2009-2016 in total ($ million)    29


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