On Politics: Is Trump crazy? Or crazy like a fox?
August 16, 2017
North Korea's threat to target Guam with nuclear missiles prompted President Donald J. Trump to threaten Kim Jong-un with "fire and fury," and a military that is "locked and loaded." Is Trump spoiling for a fight?
Some Trump insight: In 1999, he told Tim Russert "The biggest problem this world has is nuclear proliferation." He warned North Korea would have nuclear weapons "within three or four years." In 2003, North Korea announced it had nuclear weapons.
From Washington, D.C., the response to Trump's belligerence was that the situation calls for diplomacy and negotiations, not trading insults with Kim.
Really? Let's take a look at history. In September 1938, to avoid war, the British and French "negotiated" with Adolf Hitler by allowing him to occupy the German-speaking areas of Czechoslovakia.
Six months later, he occupied the whole country. Eleven months later, Hitler invaded Poland knowingly triggering war with Britain and France. Eight months later, France surrendered and the British barely saved their skins, evacuating back to England from Dunkirk.
In 1941, the United States embargoed steel shipments to Japan because of its aggressive invasion of Manchuria and China. Heavy negotiations were going on between the U.S. and Japan in an effort to avert war.
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The U.S. had broken the Japanese diplomatic code but no information was found about an attack on Hawaii. The U.S. deemed it impossible for Japan to maneuver six carriers and their escorts clear across the Pacific without being spotted.
But when negotiations became fruitless, the Pearl Harbor attack signal was given and the rest is history. By previous arrangement, the three U.S. Pacific Fleet carriers were elsewhere or that war might have ended differently.
In 1950, hordes of North Koreans poured into South Korea, threatening to drive opponents into the sea. President Harry Truman didn't try to negotiate; he sent U.S. forces to Korea without bothering to ask Congress.
He also arranged for the United Nations to be the nominal belligerent, bringing numerous allies to fight along with U.S. troops. It was only when the original border was restored at the 38th parallel that a truce was sought and negotiations begun.
During the 1980s, Libya engaged in a continuing pattern of terrorist attacks, including downing a Boeing 747 packed with passengers and a bomb attack in Berlin that killed an American serviceman.
President Ronald Reagan scrambled Air Force, Marine, and Navy warplanes to decimate Muammar Gaddafi's terrorist training camps in Libya. The result was Gaddafi's retirement from the terrorism.
North Korea's history is less clear. In 1994, the Clinton Administration entered into a pact in which the U.S. and North Korea agreed the latter would freeze and dismantle its older nuclear reactors in exchange for international aid to build two new light-water nuclear reactors.
In 2005, North Korea agreed to give up its entire nuclear program in exchange for allied energy assistance and economic cooperation. In 2006, North Korea claimed a successful test of its first nuclear weapon.
In 2007, North Korea agreed to close its main nuclear reactor in exchange for $400 million in aid. In 2009, North Korea announced it conducted a second nuclear test. In 2012, the State Department announced North Korea agreed to a moratorium on missile testing in exchange for food aid.
In 2015, North Korea said the country now has the hydrogen bomb. And now they say they can launch nuclear warhead missiles.
Conclusions: Actions speak louder than words. North Korea cheats on negotiated deals.
Kim Jong-un says he needs nukes to guard against a U.S. imposed regime change, citing Bush's invasion of Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein.
He ought to be more worried about the way Bin Laden was brought down.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.