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Neuman writes: "President Trump is doubling down on his incendiary rhetoric aimed at North Korea, saying on Thursday that his promise earlier in the week to meet Pyongyang's threats with 'fire and fury' might have been too soft."

President Donald Trump. (photo: Evan Vucci/AP)
President Donald Trump. (photo: Evan Vucci/AP)


Trump Doubles Down on North Korean Threats

By Scott Neuman, NPR

11 August 17

 

resident Trump is doubling down on his incendiary rhetoric aimed at North Korea, saying on Thursday that his promise earlier in the week to meet Pyongyang's threats with "fire and fury" might have been too soft.

"Maybe it wasn't tough enough," the president said ahead of a security briefing with Vice President Pence and other advisers. "They've been doing this for a long time, and it's about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries."

Trump says North Korea "better get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble." Pyongyang should be "very, very nervous" about any attack on the U.S. or its allies, he said.

The latest remarks come as North Korea released details of a plan to fire four of its Hwasong-12 missiles into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam, which houses 7,000 U.S. military personnel and two major U.S. bases. The trajectory of the missiles would take them over Japan, which along with South Korea has vowed a strong reaction should the North go ahead with the plan. Pyongyang's military says the plan would require approval from leader Kim Jong Un.

Following the meeting, Trump spoke again, saying "we are preparing for many different alternative events."

Kim "has disrespected our country greatly. He has said things that are horrific," the president says.

"And with me, he's not getting away with it. He got away with it for a long time, between him and his family. He's not getting away with it. This is a whole new ball game. And he's not going to be saying those things. And he's certainly not going to be doing those things," he said.

"Let's see what he does with Guam. If he does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody's seen before, what will happen in North Korea," Trump said.

Asked to clarify, the president responded: "You'll see. You'll see. And he'll see. He will see."

A Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee, Arizona's Rep. Trent Franks, tells NPR's All Things Considered that he's confident that the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system could shoot down an incoming North Korean warhead. "I think we would be able to intercept it," he says.

Earlier this week, The Washington Post published a report citing an anonymous U.S. official who said that the Defense Intelligence Agency believes North Korea could field nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

The president's remarks on Thursday come after days of mixed messages on North Korea from the White House. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to tamp down concern, saying: "I do not believe there is any imminent threat." Tillerson said Trump "was sending a strong message to North Korea in a language Kim Jong Un would understand."

But on the same day, Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned Pyongyang that it "should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."

On Thursday, Mattis was asked about U.S. readiness for any conflict with North Korea and said: "We are ready."

Asked on Thursday whether there was any prospect of resuming negotiations with North Korea, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that Washington "would need to know that North Korea is taking serious steps to de-escalate its nuclear program."

"The DPRK is not showing us that they are ready to sit down and talk anytime soon," she said, referring to North Korea by its abbreviation.

Nauert discussed U.S. efforts to pressure allies not to accept North Korean laborers, who she said repatriate their income not to families at home but to government coffers in Pyongyang. The money, she said, was used in part to fund the nuclear program.


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+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-08-11 09:42
"Trump says North Korea "better get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble." "


Trump only shows his ignorance. China and Russia are saying the US better get its act together. Both China and Russia want a nuclear free and peaceful Korean peninsula, but they both believe that the US must make the first move by stopping military exercised and overt threats against the North. They say this because the North has always said that if US war games and weapons build up in South Korea stop, they will end their defense build up.

Everyone in the world is talking about the failure of the US to negotiate a peace treaty and the end of the 1950 war -- except for the US media. I'll be that 95% of American don't know the US won't agree to end the war of the 1950s. I'll bet they don't know this is the root casuse of the dispute.

Indeed, the US needs to get its shit together. Not much chance Trump will do that.
 
 
0 # Old School Conservative 2017-08-11 14:13
If you think the North Koreans would discontinue their nuclear program if we stopped war games and weapons build up in South Korea, then you are more naive than Obama and Kerry.
 
 
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-08-12 06:42
Old School -- exactly that happened in the 1990s when Bill Clinton negotiated with N. Korea. And this is what the N. Korean government has always said. Read up on the Sunshine Policy which was the conclusion of the successful negotiation in the 90s. It led to the Kaesong Industrial project in which S. Korea and N. Korea developed manufaturing together.

N. Korea really did give up a lot in the 1990s. There hope was that the talks would lead to a full peace treaty between the US and N. Korea.

Sec of State Madeleine Albright actually went to N. Korea for talks -- that's never happened before or since.

It still would happen if the US were reasonable and wanted peace. But the US wants war, as it always does.
 
 
0 # librarian1984 2017-08-12 07:39
North Korea DID give up its program when Bill Clinton was president and calmed the fears of NK's paranoid rulers. Then Cheney decided to renege on the agreements in place. NK got nuclear weapons under the Cheney administration, though we don't talk about that much.

Which raises the question, hw can you believe the media is liberal when not one person has gone to jail regarding torture, lying us to war, war profiteering, bank fraud, etc?

Isn't it obvious the msm is corporate, not liberal?

Finally, liberalism is not naive. It's a belief system, not well represented by Clintonism and the New Democrats, that all nations want to survive and want their citizens to thrive. They want to develop cooperative relationships. They would rather have peace than war. They would rather trade than fight.

You may call that naive, but it is also moral and intelligent, and the only way forward that might lead to a worthwhile existence.

Liberals can be hypocrites and we, like other humans, have faults and jerks of our own, but the liberal vision is worth fighting for, a future I'd rather see than what I perceive to be the conservative vision of everyone alone, fighting for survival independently, might makes right bs.

If we say we're better than animals we should act like it.
 
 
+1 # twocents 2017-08-11 09:50
Trump is dangerous bully. What his worse that fire and fury? World conflagration?
 
 
-1 # librarian1984 2017-08-12 07:52
Trump is, of course, monstrous. But he has his silver linings, one of which is the reassessment of insane policies that have evolved through the administrations of both parties, not least the role of nuclear weapons. Was it sane (or practical, honorable, intelligent, liberal or democratic) for Obama to commit a $trillion to a nuclear weapons makeover? I'd argue no.

As Chomsky tells us, that one decision moved the Doomsday clock a half minute closer to midnight. That move should be rescinded by Trump, and though I'd be surprised if he did so, he HAS said that he wants a no-nuke world. sigh. It's impossible to know what Trump really wants, intends or can accomplish, and it's his unpredictabilit y that makes him so tiring.

But perhaps instead of attacking him 24/7 (except when he bombed Syria), perhaps we should use our intelligence and skills to elevate his better instincts? Just an idea.

Something I find very interesting in this situation is that Un is a bully. Trump is a bully. They understand bullying better than we wussy liberals do. What if this escalating rhetoric is a dance that bullies do that we can't comprehend? What if it works? All my personal instincts tell me we're dealing with a tinpot dictator that we should cozen to control, but Trump (and Kim-Jong) speak a different language.

I'd like to know what conservatives think of this brinksmanship. Are they comfortable. Do they 'get' the dynamic. Or are they also afraid?
 
 
0 # MikeAF48 2017-08-11 14:50
He talks the talk but absolutely is clueless. Who is this guy?????
 
 
0 # Brice 2017-08-12 03:57
Yeah, Trump is a clown, an incompetent idiot who seems
to rolls around in his sloppy ignorance and love it.

But we know this and most Americans are just holding
on for dear life hoping we can survive this idiot and if
there is any way to fix this country?

The real story here to me through China.

This issue with Korea would not be nearly so thorny
except that China is leveraging North Korea as a way
to screw the United States.

China said the other day that it would basically
defend North Korea if the US moved on it, but China
will not do anything, authorize anything, or even try
to control North Korea.

Why? Because China is using North Korea as a proxy
fist and flipper of the bird, while protecting it using its
super power status.

What I have seen in the last decades with China
concerns me a lot more than even what I see in my
our country, the US, because China is very stealthy
and serious. China gets what it wants silently through
business or stealthily though spying or corruption,
while the West makes this big show of trying to
pretent we want to co-opt the world into this
diverse and multicultural orgy, but our societies show
that we are mostly lying about that.

Who really wants to live and become Chinese? Even
Chinese if they're honest hate the Chinese, because
they know them. Imagine how the Chinese will act
when they feel powerful and unchallenged, compared
to what they are doing now?
 

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