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Archive for March, 2018

Republicans’ Worst Fears

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Trump is out to face political suicide. If he could only: keep his bloody mouth shut, STOP TWEETING, and go on a nation wide tour touting all he has accomplished and that he needs more Republican senators and more Republican representatives in order to prevent the Democrats from destroying all he has done.

Washington Examiner

 Trump Confirms Republicans’ Worst Fears

By David Drucker

3/20/18

President Trump is confirming House Republicans’ worst fears about the depth of their midterm woes after spending a weekend lashing out at special counsel Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation.

House Republicans were relying heavily on the $1.4 trillion tax overhaul to counteract concerns about the president and revive their 2018 fortunes, burdened with traditional midterm headwinds made exponentially worse by dissatisfaction with Trump’s polarizing leadership.

But they need Trump’s cooperation to pull it off, and the president appears uninterested.

He has sidelined the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in favor of tariffs, while unleashing a tweet storm of attacks on Mueller and the Russia probe that amplify personal traits that make him such a liability for Republicans in November.

He’s a mercurial figure,” Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., who represents a battleground district in suburban Chicago, said in a recent interview with the Washington Examiner editorial board. “If he’d put the Twitter feed away, what a glorious thing; what a glorious thing. But I just don’t think that’s going to happen.”

House Republicans have staked their 23-seat majority on tax reform, signed into law by Trump in late December after clearing Congress amid unanimous Democratic opposition. Tax cuts and economic expansion, plus proof that Republican governance could deliver tangible results, is the party’s recipe for maintaining power.

For a time, it appeared the strategy was working. Trump and congressional Republicans worked together in January and most of February to promote the tax bill, a period that coincided with positive news about the national economy.

Voters’ optimism about the future jumped, Trump’s approval rating ticked up, and the generic ballot gauging which party Americans would prefer be in charge on Capitol Hill swung back toward the GOP. But Trump’s fascination with tax reform and his historic legislative victory had waned by early March.

Last week, during a fundraiser in Missouri to boost the Republican Senate front runner, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, the president briefly mentioned tax reform, reserving much more of his speech to defend new tariffs on steel and aluminum. A few days later, Trump targeted Mueller, an escalation of sorts of his criticism of the special counsel’s Russia investigation — he had never singled out Mueller personally in a tweet.

The president also lit into the FBI after Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior agent Andrew McCabe based on the finding of an as-yet unpublished inspector general probe into his role in the bureau’s investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state.

“A total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!” Trump tweeted on Monday, as his tirade continued.

But, Trump isn’t completely ignoring the tax law. He did manage one tweet highlighting it in the past week: “Six months ago I promised that we would cut taxes and bring Main Street roaring back — and that is exactly what is happening,” he said. And, his official outside group, America First Policies, is holding town hall meetings across the country to boost the law, featuring Vice President Mike Pence. The next event is Thursday in Manchester, N.H.

And, Trump still stands to boost Republicans in the battle for the Senate, where the party holds a slim 51-49 majority.Democrats are defending a handful of seats in red states that embrace the president. In states with influential rural and exurban populations, like Missouri, North Dakota, and West Virginia, Trump’s trade policies appeal to working class voters. To them and other Republicans in these conservative bastions, the president’s capriciousness as evidence that he is shaking up Washington — just like he promised.

House Republicans are in a tougher spot, especially after the Democratic upset last week in a special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, which sided with Trump in 2016 by 20 percentage points. Their majority could hinge on defending nearly two-dozen districts won by Clinton in the 2016 election that are comprised of upscale, educated suburbs inclined to vote Republican but are unhappy with Trump.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was the GOP’s way of telling these voters — especially skeptical women — the party was delivering on traditional conservative goals despite Trump’s unorthodox behavior. It’s why House Republicans are so sensitive to the topics and messages favored by the president.

Earlier in the year, it appeared doable. The Democrats’ advantage on the generic ballot dwindled, as Trump and his allies in Congress focused equally on promoting the tax law. But as Trump has drifted back into old habits, the polling has drifted back toward the Democrats. In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, Democrats led the generic ballot 50 percent to 40 percent.

“No plan for anyone on the Hill should start with what the president is saying, it should start with what we can get done and send him to sign,” said a veteran Republican operative, advising as to the best way for Republicans to deal with Trump and survive the midterms. “No matter what his daily focus is, the fact remains that if congressional Republicans could pass things and put them on his desk, he would sign them.”

The challenge Republicans face is competing with Trump’s megaphone. Presidents always influence the political landscape; their personas and message tend to define their parties, no matter how hard down-ticket candidates work to create separation.

Trump dominates the media environment more than his recent predecessors, making it that much more difficult for Republicans in Congress to be heard above the din generated by the president. But they’re trying. Along with affiliated big money advocacy groups on the outside, the Republican Party aside from Trump is stubbornly promoting the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, viewing their ability to sell the bill as integral to their midterm prospects.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC, and its sister political nonprofit, American Action Network, both aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are investing millions this year to advance the tax bill. So is Americans for Prosperity, the conservative grassroots organization affiliated with the Koch political network.

There are “three keys” to withstanding a possible Democratic wave, a top Republican consultant said: “Localize your campaign; win on the tax issue,” and make the elections a referendum on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

 

Soros/Krasner/Philadelphia is the Victim

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s new district attorney who was backed by billionaire George Soros, recently rolled out sweeping policy changes “to end mass incarceration and bring balance back to sentencing” in the City of Brotherly Love.

The progressive Democrat issued a memo to 300 assistant DAs last Tuesday outlining several bold reforms crafted to reduce the number of people in jail. The procedural shifts instruct prosecutors to stop charging people for possession of marijuana, seek lighter sentences with plea deals, and directs them to obtain approval from supervisors before requesting more punitive penalties.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

Krasner highlighted one element of the memo at a news conference Thursday: the requirement that prosecutors, when asking a judge to sentence a defendant to prison, specify how much it will cost taxpayers to keep the person behind bars.

Taken in full, the five-page document – which also addresses policies around plea offers, diversion programs, and some charging decisions – is likely to impact thousands of criminal cases in the state’s busiest prosecutor’s office and one of the nation’s most violent cities.

Criminal justice experts said some of the guidelines appeared to be unprecedented, a blend of research and practices touted by reform advocates but perhaps never made so explicit in writing by a top prosecutor.

The memo encourages prosecutors to consider several department talking points before making their sentencing recommendations, such as:

“The cost of one year of unnecessary incarceration (at $42,000.00 – $60,000.00) is in the range of the cost of one year’s salary for a beginning teacher, police officer, fire fighter, social worker, Assistant District Attorney, or addiction counselor.”

“Pennsylvania’s and Philadelphia’s over-incarceration have bankrupted investment in policing, public education, medical treatment of addiction, job training and economic development – which prevent crime more effectively than money invested in corrections,” wrote Krasner, who had never prosecuted a criminal case before taking office two months ago.

During his thirty years as a defense attorney, Krasner became known for filing 75 civil rights lawsuits against the city’s police department and representing radical activists from groups like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Philadelphia, pro bono. After making his lack of prosecutorial experience a focal point of his campaign, Krasner won in a landslide last November, capturing 75 percent of the vote.

“This is a story about a movement,” Krasner said after his victory. “And this is a movement that is tired of seeing the system that has systematically picked on poor people – primarily black and brown people.”

Black and brown residents constitute approximately 57 percent of Philadelphia’s population.

Soros had contributed more than $1.6 million to a political action committee that supported Krasner’s candidacy.The organization, called Philadelphia Justice & Public Safety, paid for people to walk neighborhoods campaigning on his behalf and also financed television commercials and other advertisements.

Krasner, who was sworn-in on January 2, fired 31 prosecutors who did not share his vision during his first week on the job. Last month, he eliminated cash bail for low-level offenses. His anti-incarceration platform is the latest of many Soros-backed reform efforts intended to reverse local sentencing laws throughout the nation.

In 2011, Soros’ international grantmaking network and other deep-pocketed foundations began funding multi-pronged drives demanding California change its policies on crime and imprisonment. Since then, Soros has spent millions convincing voters in the Golden State to approve ballot measures that reclassified many felonies to misdemeanors and revamped the state’s parole guidelines. Soros-funded political action committees – like the one that supported Krasner – started sprouting up around the country in 2015, established to elect progressive prosecutors on the local level.

As Politico previously reported:

Soros has spent on district attorney campaigns in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas through a network of state-level super PACs and a national “527” unlimited-money group, each named a variation on “Safety and Justice.” (Soros has also funded a federal super PAC with the same name.) Each organization received most of its money directly from Soros, according to public state and federal financial records …

Some of these targeted, Soros-influenced races had been researched by progressive groups that identified potential regions and electorates which might be more receptive to transform its local criminal justice system fundamentally.

“There is without question a national movement toward having progressive prosecutors all over the country,” Krasner told HBO’s “Vice News Tonight” in an interview broadcast last Wednesday. “It’s in Chicago; it’s in San Francisco, Houston, it’s happening quickly. The rate of winning is high.”

Brain Dead Journalist

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

An amazing article. How far journalism has fallen.

Daily Wire
NYT Columnist Pens Stupidist Column in Recent History: ‘Go Ahead Millenials, Destroy Us!’
by Ben Shapiro
3/21/18

On Monday, New York Times essayist Tim Kreider penned an op-ed so stunningly ridiculous that readers everywhere must have simultaneously come to the realization that Kreider was dropped on his head as a child. The piece, titled, “Go Ahead, Millenials, Destroy Us,” suggested that young Americans have the freshness of youth to appreciate all the errors of the past, and that they should tear down the structures of thought that have brought about the most prosperous and free civilization in world history. In the name of progress, of course.

It’s a pandering, meandering, maudlin screed — an invitation for youngsters to burn everything with fire. Everything except Kreider, of course, who will be given a stay of execution for his role in ushering in the Xbox Revolution.

Kreider begins with the Parkland massacre, of course, which supposedly taught Americans that youngsters have greater wisdom than their elders — even though the kids from Parkland most lauded by the media have generally had little to say beyond “take the guns away” and “I hung up on Trump” and “Dana Loesch and the NRA and Marco Rubio hate children,” which isn’t so much wisdom as sheer nonsense. But according to Kreider, the children shall lead us:

As with all historic tipping points, it seems inevitable in retrospect: Of course it was the young people, the actual victims of the slaughter, who have finally begun to turn the tide against guns in this country. Kids don’t have money and can’t vote, and until now burying a few dozen a year has apparently been a price that lots of Americans were willing to pay to hold onto the props of their pathetic role-playing fantasies. But they forgot what adults always forget: that our children grow up, and remember everything, and forgive nothing. Those kids have suddenly understood how little their lives were ever worth to the people in power.

Such idiocy. Everyone in America cares about these kids — which is why they’re on television non-stop, and why we’re still talking about Parkland when we stopped talking about a massacre in a Texas church and a far larger massacre in Las Vegas mere days after they took place. Yes, America cares about its children. Duh. But according to Kreider, the kids know that we don’t care about them, and thus they will surely put down their iPhones and sound the call to the barricades:

And they’ll soon begin to realize how efficient and endless are the mechanisms of governance intended to deflect their appeals, exhaust their energy, deplete their passion and defeat them. But anyone who has ever tried to argue with adolescents knows that in the end they will have a thousand times more energy for that fight than you and a bottomless reservoir of moral rage that you burned out long ago.

And then they’ll grow up and realize half of what they thought was dumb. Which is what age and experience does to young people. I should know. I regret a good deal of the crap I wrote when I was 17 and a syndicated columnist — and I was as passionate about politics as any teenager ever.

Now, Kreider acknowledges that young people haven’t undergone that experience:

The young — and the young at mind — tend to be uncompromising absolutists. They haven’t yet faced life’s heartless compromises and forfeitures, its countless trials by boredom and ethical Kobayashi Marus, or glumly watched themselves do everything they ever disapproved of. I am creeped out by the increasing dogmatism and intolerance of millennials on the left…I just can’t help noticing that the liberal side isn’t much fun to be on anymore.

But never mind all that — bring on the guillotine!

Yet this uprising of the young against the ossified, monolithic power of the National Rifle Association has reminded me that the flaws of youth — its ignorance, naïveté and passionate, Manichaean idealism — are also its strengths. Young people have only just learned that the world is an unfair hierarchy of cruelty and greed, and it still shocks and outrages them. They don’t understand how vast and intractable the forces that have shaped this world really are and still think they can change it. Revolutions have always been driven by the young.

Yes, and those revolutions have often ended in bloody chaos and/or tyranny. The number of liberal revolutions in world history is rather limited, and those were rarely led by gung-ho 17-year-olds. The average age of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence was 44, in an era when life expectancy was far, far lower. But Kreider continues:

The students of Parkland are like veterans coming home from the bloody front of the N.R.A.’s de facto war on children. They’ve seen their friends, teachers and coaches gunned down in the halls. To them, powerful Washington lobbyists and United States senators suddenly look like what they are: cheesy TV spokesmodels for murder weapons. It has been inspiring and thrilling to watch furious, cleareyed teenagers shame and vilify gutless politicians and soul-dead lobbyists for their complicity in the murders of their friends.

Kreider makes no case for that complicity. And he can’t explain why he isn’t a jabbering spokesmodel for virtue signaling New York leftism — which he clearly is, by the way. But the kids say so, so it’s so. Go, kids!

My message, as an aging Gen X-er to millennials and those coming after them, is: Go get us. Take us down — all those cringing provincials who still think climate change is a hoax, that being transgender is a fad or that “socialism” means purges and re-education camps. Rid the world of all our outmoded opinions, vestigial prejudices and rotten institutions. Gender roles as disfiguring as foot-binding, the moribund and vampiric two-party system, the savage theology of capitalism — rip it all to the ground. I for one can’t wait till we’re gone. I just wish I could live to see the world without us.

The kids will remake the world. We’ll have a world in which the government controls all industry, in which biological sex disappears into the vagary of subjectively-defined gender, in which we no longer talk about the horrors of the Soviet Union and China and North Korea and Cuba and Venezuela (they’re probably fake, anyhow, made up by those old fogeys who just don’t understand sharing!); we’ll have a world in which men and women are merely clay to be molded to societal whim, in which capitalism disappears in favor of, well, something, and yet Tim Kreider keeps getting to write s****y essays for cash instead of doing something useful like cleaning the restrooms with his discarded drafts. Yeah, kids! And remember that Tim Kreider was there, cheering you on like that cool, dope-smoking uncle at the holiday party three years ago who sneaked you a beer and then patted you on the back as you vomited into the bushes to fight the system, man!

At least Kreider is right about one thing: sane people can’t wait until he’s gone, from the pages of The New York Times, at least.

Senator Cotton and the North Korean Talks.

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Senator Cotton knows a great deal about North Korea. The following is a warning by him about the upcoming “ Peace Talks.”

Washington Examiner

Tom Cotton: The U.S. Should be Ready For War With North Korea

by David M. Drucker
3/13/18
Sen. Tom Cotton is warning that North Korea isn’t interested in relinquishing its nuclear weapons and can’t be trusted to negotiate in good faith, just as President Trump is preparing to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un without preconditions.

“We should be taking more steps than we are right now to be ready to fight a war, if that’s what’s necessary, with North Korea,” the Arkansas Republican said in an interview with “Behind Closed Doors,” a Washington Examiner podcast. Cotton, 40, is a combat veteran of the Iraq war.

Cotton, a close ally of the White House, discussed the matter one day before Trump surprised the world by announcing plans to hold a summit with Kim, currently planned for May. The administration is trying to force North Korea to dismantle a nuclear weapons program that threatens U.S. allies in Asia and could soon endanger the American mainland.

Trump’s approach to subduing North Korea revolves around a strategy the White House dubs “maximum pressure.” The administration has led an international effort to enforce tough diplomatic and economic sanctions against Pyongyang, while keeping the threat of military action on the table.

The president is relying heavily on China and its leader, Xi Jinping, to squeeze North Korea and create the ultimate pressure for the rogue communist nation to denuclearize. At issue is whether China is interested in help the U.S. — and whether overtures from Pyongyang are sincere.

The statement Cotton issued after Trump announced his potentially historic summit with Kim suggested that he remains suspicious. He elaborated on in his views regarding Beijing and North Korea in his interview with Behind Closed Doors.

“For years, China said they wanted a denuclearized North Korean peninsula. I think they’re lying about that. They obviously have no interest in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula because as long as North Korea is a nuclear power, it is the primary focus of the United States in Northeast Asia,” Cotton said. “Meanwhile, China runs wild, building islands in the South China Sea, intimidating Taiwan, oppressing its own people.”

North Korea’s nuclear program has been a conundrum for previous administrations. Trump’s predecessors tried to a mixture of strong-arming the regime, and negotiations, to entice Pyongyang to give up nuclear weapons. Both Kim and his late father, Kim Jong Il, were impervious to pressure, even as sanctions crippled the North Korean economy and the quality of life of its citizens.

The elder Kim regularly forged agreements to halt the development of nuclear weapons in exchange for financial incentives or aid, only to break those agreements.

Cotton said he believes Trump has learned from the past; he emphasized that nothing he has seen from the North Koreans indicates anything has changed “because of their long history of manipulating diplomacy in their own advantage to gain concessions or buy time for their nuclear program.”

“The last three administrations, at a minimum, have been Charlie Brown to North Korea’s Lucy [with the football,] in that they’ve granted concessions for the mere act of sitting down to talk,” Cotton said. “If Kim Jong Un or one of his senior envoys wants to sit down w/ the United States, we should listen to them. But if they demand any kind of suspension of sanctions or food aid or financial aid in advance, we obviously should not do that.”

Trump has agreed to accept Kim’s invitation to hold bilateral talks without concessions from North Korea. But he has similarly declined to any relaxing of sanctions, and U.S. military exercises in the region will continue as scheduled.

Cotton said that only the credible threat of war is likely to “compel” China to crack down on North Korea, a client state of Beijing, sufficient to force Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear weapons program.

To do that, the senator, who serves on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees and has Trump’s ear, recommended that the U.S. take concrete steps to prove it’s willing to follow through with the military option.

“We need to take steps like beginning to stop the deployment of military dependents to the Korean Peninsula and gradually removing dependents from the Korean peninsula,” Cotton said. “Stockpiling ammunition … fuel stores and so forth. We need to make it perfectly clear to PyongYang and Beijing that we are prepared and willing to fight a war to stop North Korea from threatening us with nuclear weapons.”

North Korean Peace Trap

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

An interesting article about a dangerous trick North Korea might try in the proposed upcoming N.Korea – USA talks in May

The Washington Examiner

Trump Must Not Fall for the North Korea Peace Treaty Trap
Michael Rubin 3/12/18
North Korea reportedly wants President Trump to sign a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War 65 years after an armistice established a ceasefire, according to a report by the South Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo (cited by the Daily Beast).

It’s a trap. Let’s hope Trump doesn’t fall for it. Certainly, the idea of peace on the Korean Peninsula sounds desirable. Peace is good, right? And what Western politician doesn’t want to make resolution of one of a decades-old conflict seemingly more intractable and far bloodier than the Arab-Israeli conflict to his legacy?

But, in this case, the devil is in the details. When the United States intervened in Korea to protect South Korea from communist invasion, it did so under the flag of the United Nations. Most U.S. forces actually operate as the United Nations Command, a force established at the start of the war in 1950. When Gen. William Harrison signed the Korean Armistice Agreement with a representative of the North Korean army and Chinese “volunteers” in 1953, he was actually representing the U.N. Command rather than the United States government. In the course of negotiating the armistice, U.S. diplomats and officers did not insist that North Korea recognize the South’s legitimacy; to do so might have derailed the sensitive talks.

Still, President Dwight D. Eisenhower hoped to bring American forces home. Three months after signing the armistice, American, Korean, and Chinese officials met at Panmunjom to discuss peace and withdrawal of foreign forces. The talks were even more hostile than the armistice, according to U.S. Ambassador Arthur Dean, the peace talks were anything but peaceful and hardly involved talking. “No individual ever spoke personally to anyone on the other side,” he noted. North Korean representatives read every statement only after the Chinese approved it. He described it as “negotiation without contact,” and, after four weeks, the Americans and North Koreans could not even agree on an agenda. A follow-up conference in Geneva also went nowhere.

The next few decades were tense. North Korea launched attacks across the DMZ, sent saboteurs into South Korea, and kidnapped foreigners. Against the backdrop of North Korea’s threats and its refusal even to recognize South Korea, however, the American commitment to Seoul remained firm. North Korea still talked about their desire for peace and unity, but the assumption that it would be on North Korea’s terms always underlay their rhetoric.

Diplomacy, therefore, became not a mean to a win-win compromise, but rather an asymmetric warfare strategy meant to advance North Korea’s strategic position while simultaneously undercutting South Korea’s relations with the United States. If North Korea could not meet its objective—bringing South Korea under its fold—then it had no interest in talking or peace.

This is why Kim Il-Sung’s sudden outreach to President Jimmy Carter in 1977 raised so much suspicion. Shortly after Carter’s inauguration, Kim sent a letter to the president-elect proposing to replace the armistice with a peace treaty. The North Korean foreign minister followed suit in a letter to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Carter expressed interest, so long as South Korea might also participate. Kim Il Sung, however, refused. He wanted dialogue, but not compromise. He demanded Carter withdraw all forces from the Korean Peninsula, something Carter considered until his advisers convinced him that such a move would be both rash and dangerous. When Carter shelved his withdrawal plan, Kim reacted bitterly, accusing the U.S. president of aiming to “deceive the world.”

It would be another 15 years before North Korea would again float the prospect of a peace treaty. In October 1993, Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., visited North Korea. He carried a White House letter seeking new talks. He met Kim Il Sung and other senior officials, but was lukewarm in his assessment, saying the talks were “long on symbolism but short on substance.” North Korea wanted concessions before fulfilling its nuclear commitments. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Gallucci, however, was more positive. He spoke about a grand bargain floated by North Korean leaders in which the communist regime would remain inside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and allow inspections in exchange for light water reactors, diminished U.S. ties to South Korea and, of course, a formal peace.

Fortunately, however, Clinton overruled Gallucci. To abandon South Korea for the sake of peace with North Korea would, in effect, be to reverse the outcome of the Korean War. Even as Clinton continued talks with North Korea, Clinton refused to allow Pyongyang to substitute the substance of disarmament talks for the symbolism of peace. (That North Korea cheated on disarmament is another story, one I chronicle in Dancing with the Devil).

With the 1994 Agreed Framework complete, however, Clinton spent the rest of his presidency trying to entice North Korea toward peace. In 1996, Clinton proposed four-way talks with the United States, China, and the two Koreas. North Korea raised numerous objections, all of which boiled down to Pyongyang’s objection to having Seoul represented at the table. After all, in North Korea’s narrative, they are the only legitimate Korea. This is why bilateral talks are so dangerous: When the United States sits down alone with North Korea, it hands Pyongyang a victory before talks even begin.

In 1998, as Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright tried again to spur on the peace process, talks stalled when North Korea demanded the United States first withdraw its forces from South Korea. Again, the White House recognized that whatever their political ambition, this was too dangerous a gamble.

Fast forward to the present day. North Korea wants peace, and they want to negotiate it with the United States. Trump, unlike Carter and Clinton, appears willing to engage on a personal level. As my American Enterprise Institute colleague and veteran Korea watcher Nicholas Eberstadt points out, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s desire to negotiate without preconditions is not what it seems: After all, removing preconditions requires the formal voiding of every previous commitment North Korea made in negotiations. But, the risk goes further. Any peace treaty would end the United Nations Command which legitimizes and formalizes the U.S. presence in South Korea. In effect, the Trump administration would be trading the security of a key U.S. ally and one of the most vibrant economies in East Asia for the promise of North Korean denuclearization, a promise North Korea has repeatedly broken.

Trump sees himself as a master negotiator and, without doubt, the president deserves credit for not yet rewarding North Korean bluster in the manner that so many of his predecessors did. But, while the United States should aspire to peace on the Korean Peninsula, it should never be done on North Korea’s terms. Indeed, any juxtaposition of North and South Korea today shows just how wise President Truman’s decision was to defend South Korea from communist aggression. Trump may see himself as master of the art of the deal, but true mastery comes with a recognition that sometimes it’s best not to negotiate a deal in the first place or, at the very least, not negotiate any new deal until an adversary implements all the terms of previous deals to which it has committed.

Peace, naively embraced, can be the shortest path to war.

Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official.


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