Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He said—and may even believe—that North Korea not doing nuclear testing means that North Korea is denuclearizing.

At a joint press conference with the Chancellor of Austria, Trump had this exchange with a reporter on the subject of his upcoming peer-status summit meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea:

Q How hard is it going to be to get North Korea to completely, verifiably denuclearize, which I think you —

TRUMP: ...When we started, as you know, there were a lot of problems. There was the missiles going all over. There were hostages that were being held. There were remains that we wanted to get back. There were many, many things. Now there’s no nuclear testing, no missiles going up. And we have a good relationship — a very good relationship, I’d say.

Trump's own administration has repeatedly told him that North Korea has absolutely no plans to denuclearize—so often, in fact, that Trump reportedly thinks that his hand-picked Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is "not loyal" and is considering firing him.

Trump's belief that North Korea is not a nuclear threat seems to hinge on three pieces of evidence. First, that Vladimir Putin told him so, which is an answer he liked better than that provided by the U.S. military and intelligence communities. Second, that he himself tweeted out a declaration that he'd ended the North Korean nuclear threat, and therefore cannot afford to change his position. And third, that North Korea has stopped testing nuclear weapons.

The reason that North Korea is not testing weapons is that North Korea now has a working nuclear design, and no further tests are necessary. Tests would only waste plutonium and enriched uranium that could be used for the stockpile of weapons that the Kim regime has already been caught planning to hide, after the last time Trump rewarded North Korea with a summit.

The United States has not tested a nuclear weapon since 1992 for the same reason: it doesn't need to.

As for the "very good relationship," if Trump is referring to his personal "love" for Kim, it may be true. But the United States and North Korea are still in a de facto state of war.

Why is this bad?

  • A president who ignores his military and intelligence advisors endangers the security of the United States of America.
  • Vladimir Putin does not have the United States' best interests at heart.
  • Neither does Kim Jong-un.
  • It is not disloyalty to tell a president things he doesn't want to hear.