North Korea hasn't ceased to exist!


Mike Mullen, asked and answered:
Events in Charlottesville have largely pushed North Korea off the center of the cable and broadcast news maps.

That said, North Korea hasn't ceased to exist. With that in mind, we call your attention to Mike Mullen's assesment on yesterday's Meet the Press.

From 2007 through 2011, Mullen was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Yesterday, he voiced concern about the rhetoric used by Donald J. Trump in the past week or so.

This led to a question about rationality. Presumably, Todd was discussing the rationality of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, though he didn't explicitly say who he was asking about.

Our own supreme leader has been engaging in "fire and brimstone" rhetoric which "looks like brinksmanship," Mullen said. Here's what he went on to say about their supreme leader:
TODD (8/13/17): Jim Clapper, former director of national intelligence, he says essentially the notion of North Koreans denuclearizing is just—I think he called it a non-starter. And he essentially says it's time to accept the notion that they're going to be a nuclear regime, and we kind of have to move on from that. Do you accept that?

MULLEN: I don't accept that yet. I recognize that as an option or an outcome, and certainly there is a, there is a—one option is to accept that, and then contain him.

Obviously, the concern you would have with that is somehow, he has this weapon. And he is still somewhat of an unknown to us, and unpredictable, and someone that we can't in any way, shape or form predict.

TODD: Do you think he is rational? Do you think he's a rational actor?

MULLEN: No, I don't think he is rational.

TODD: You don't think he's rational.

MULLEN: No, he's got a— I don't think he's a rational actor. He's got a rich history in his family, the legacy to uphold. He is on a race to gain this capability. Much different from his father or his grandfather in terms of developing capability. He is on a flat-out sprint to develop this capability and then see what happens.
We're assuming that the highlighted exchange was about Kim Jong-un.

We don't know if Mullen is right in his assessment of Kim. But in Mullen's apparent view, our supreme leader has been engaged in "almost a fire and brimstone" type of "brinksmanship" in the rhetorical realm, while their supreme leader "may not be a rational actor."

This topic moved off center-stage this weekend. Perhaps our leader will get distracted. But the basic situation is still very much there.


  1. ... two unbalanced nutjobs, both with nukes and something to prove. Not good.

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  2. Criticizing Trump's NK rhetoric compared to what? Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama had policies that totally failed. Under their policies we continued to give material support to NK, while they continued to develop nuclear weapons and delivery rockets. Will Trump do better? I don't know, but he can hardly do worse.

    1. I wouldn't call years of peace a total failure.

    2. Anon 6:22 "Washington has provided aid in the past—between 1995 and 2005 roughly $1.1 billion worth, about 60 percent of which was food. The rest was energy under the Agreed Framework plus some medical supplies. Since then assistance has been only little and occasional."

      Anon 6:17 -- the stated purpose of our NK policy has been to keep them from becoming a nuclear threat. For years, Presidents have kicked the can down the road. Now, we're at or near the point we have feared.

    3. No the Clinton policy was not a failure. The GWB policy was a failure afterwards:

      Sanders Well, if there’s anybody who knows about that, it’s you. Could you review for us the work you did and what happened?

      Perry I was involved first of all as a secretary of defense in the 90s. The first crisis I faced as secretary was a crisis with North Korea. That was in 1994. We nearly went to war with North Korea.

      Sanders Remind us, as not everybody remembers that.

      Perry North Korea had a nuclear facility at a place called Yongbyon. They were processing plutonium. Had they completed that processing, they would have had enough plutonium to build six nuclear bombs.

      We were determined that they should not do that. We confronted them and we threatened them with military action. We offered them economic incentives. A combination of that led to the agreement known as the Agreed Framework which, for at least a period of seven to eight years, stopped the program.

      Sanders It did stop the program?

      Perry Yes, it did stop the program at Yongbyon. It did not stop their aspirations for nuclear weapons, but it did stop that program.

      Had we not had the Agreed Framework, which was signed in 1994, by the year 2000 they could have had as many as 50 nuclear weapons. That bought us time. It didn’t solve the fundamental problem of how they provide for their security. That had to be done in future negotiation.

  3. Personally, I have a lot of respect for DPRK, one - the only one - trully independent country on this planet.

    It leaders do, however, tend to use flamboyant rhetoric, towards the US of A, which is understandable, considering the actions - nay, crimes against humanity - perpetrated on its territory by such irrational animals as Curtis LeMay, for example.

    Anyway, judging by what one reads in the papers these days, one can hardly imagine a more irrational creature on Earth than a typical US or NATO general...

    1. The DPRK is unworthy of respect, but the US air campaign against it was truly atrocious.