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Trump, Tillerson Babble Toward War with North Korea

In ongoing signs that the Trump Administration does know how to talk about, let alone solve, pressing global problems, Donald Trump babbles about North Korea being a “humanity problem“:

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday North Korea is a “humanity problem” and he will talk about the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We’re going to have a great meeting. I’m sure we’re going to have a fantastic meeting and we’re going to talk about a lot of things, including, of course, North Korea, a problem, and that’s really a humanity problem,” Trump said during a townhall meeting with business CEOs [“Trump: N. Korea Is ‘Humanity Problem’,” Korea Herald, 2017.04.05].

I invite readers to try to explain what the phrase “humanity problem” means in this context.

Trump’s oilman Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who may be as reclusive as North Korea, isn’t helping clarify matters:

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released this somewhat cryptic statement in reaction to the missile launch: “North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment” [Elliot Hannon, “U.S. Hints at Escalation After North Korea Fires Another Missile Ahead of U.S.–China Summit,” Slate, 2017.04.04].

The nation’s top communicator of foreign policy is now saying our policy is not to communicate about a major foreign policy problem, issuing ink blots that leave the world dangerously uncertain about what happens next:

But vagueness in diplomacy is a dangerous thing. Words matter. Misunderstandings can cause international incidents — or worse.

How will North Korea and China interpret Tillerson’s comments? As a provocation? A dismissal? Something else entirely?

That uncertainty is the point. Tillerson is the leading edge of America foreign policy. As such, his most important job is to ensure that other countries know exactly where the US stands when a major international event — like the one in North Korea — occurs. His statement Tuesday night suggests he simply doesn’t grasp just how much words matter [Chris Cillizza, “Rex Tillerson’s Incredibly Odd and Confusing Statement on North Korea,” CNN, 2017.04.05].

Maybe we should all take the Tillerson tack to Donald Trump: “The Trump Administration has launched yet another statement demonstrating its dangerous cluelessness. We have spoken enough about Trump. We have no further comment.”

But I don’t think we can take such a position when the madman leading the world’s largest military is setting a course to get Americans killed in Southeast Asia (and the Middle East).

28 Comments

  1. Daniel Buresh 2017-04-05

    NK sure is an interesting situation. I think we all know they are probably capable of more destruction through their own stupidity rather than their exact intentions to harm someone else. I don’t want to see us in a war, but NK is one place I have always thought something needed to be done a long time ago. Not because of their continued use of weapons and stupid military posturing, but because of the torture camps and prisons. This is basically on the level of the Nazi’s and I don’t say that to downplay what happened in WWII because they are slaughtering people and have been for years. I just don’t get how the entire world just sits by. I don’t know the answer but I hope someone does and it involves the least amount of conflict with the best end result.

  2. Rorschach 2017-04-05

    Kim Fatty should be indicted in Malaysia for sending a hit squad to kill his brother (also Kim Fatty). When Fatty travels abroad he can be taken into custody and extradited to Malaysia to face charges. China should help with this process.

    What the hell is going on in the Trump administration? Looks like confusion. Our government has become a Three Stooges routine.

  3. jerry 2017-04-05

    Daniel Buresh, I’ll hold your coat whilst you take care of the NK situation. Of course, trump and his idiots are just talking trash. The United States can no more fight a war in Korea than they can any place else in this old world at present. Our military is bogged down in the sands of the mid east. Unless Daniel Buresh and the rest of the gung ho gang want to see the draft come back, we are gonna sit back and give China whatever the hell it wants to try and soothe the bad haircut dude into just shooting stuff into the ocean.

    When you have diplomacy and a functioning State Department, you can get stuff done. Until we impeach the russian puppet and his billionaire apprentices, we got diddly squat.

  4. Daniel Buresh 2017-04-05

    Jerry, go fly a kite. You probably would have sat back when the Nazi’s were cooking Jews. I bet you got a kick out of that.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2017-04-05

    China’s President Xi Jinping should take the same approach Trump did in his meeting German President Merkel and demand that Trump “pay up, you owe us and I want that money”.
    Trump and North Korean Kim Jung-un are equally dangerous and recklessly unpredictable.
    Sorry, Trump alone cannot solve the ‘North Korean problem’, he can only contribute to the instability.
    As long as Trump continues his promise to remove millions of Americans from Obamacare he has no right to talk to any nation about their humanity problem.

  6. buckobear 2017-04-05

    As George McGovern once said: “I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”

    None of these Trump half-wits have served or sacrificed for our country. When Uday and Qusay (oops, eric and jr) put their lives on the line, this crime family may, but probably not, start gaining some respect.

  7. jerry 2017-04-05

    To old and fat to get a good running start now to fly a kite. That is what young folks do the best at. I can only tell you that my father was in the Pacific fighting the war while my uncle, his only brother, was in Europe fighting the Nazi’s during the war. One of my cousins husband, was killed in Europe while over Germany. It seemed like even each small village lost family members during that war. During those times, there was a draft and you could not simply say you were gonna stay home. If they want to beat the drums of war, then they will need the military to back those words up. We do not have that military to do that, they are busy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Africa, Yemen, Germany, etc. If you want to support a draft, while finding the money to finance it, you can be like trump. Do you really think China would bankroll us in a war against their neighbor? BTW, NK has 1,000,000 standing soldiers with tens of thousands of heavy guns trained on the Seoul itself, I think diplomacy might be a better way of going, just sayin..

  8. mike from iowa 2017-04-05

    Good news at NSC and more head scratching news at NSC. Drumpf is sinking fast.

  9. leslie 2017-04-05

    “sat back when the Nazi’s were cooking Jews.” stupidest thing I’ve heard since mistakenly listening to info war guy babble an minute ago. geez. republicans.

  10. mike from iowa 2017-04-05

    I remember N korea as if it was only yesterday dumbass dubya refused to engage them with diplomacy. He stood around with his finger up his arse while NK got nukes and then blamed Clinton administration.

    As foe diplomacy nowadays, Drumpf has no one to diploma for him except veep Kushner and he is stretched too thin and has no experience to solve any of the world’s problems. This administration is out of chances and needs replacement pretty pronto.

  11. Moses6 2017-04-05

    ATleast Obama didnt lose 4500 like The draft dodgers Bush JR And deficits don;t matter draft Dodger Cheyney.By the way I am a vet.

  12. jerry 2017-04-06

    Trump, Russia, Thune, NOem, Rounds and most of the republican party support the Russian supply of arms and intelligence to the Taliban in Afghanistan. These arms and intelligence have been killing and maiming US and EU troops for more than a decade. What a bunch of traitors to continue that support https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-03-23/russia-may-be-helping-supply-taliban-insurgents-us-general-says How can trump and the ghost Dept. of State, speak of war with NK when it is an ally of the same Russia they are all in bed with? That is like your left hand fighting your right hand to settle a dispute with yourself.

  13. leslie 2017-04-06

    anyone who had paid attention to Trump’s behavior, including his 2011 treasure hunt in Hawaii for President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, that he had little regard for facts, decorum and especially the traditions that tenuously bind our system together.

    McConnell-era congressional Republicans abandoned tradition a long time ago, starting with the intentional sabotaging of the Obama presidency from Day One. Beginning with his pledge to make Obama a one-term president (good job, Mitch) and ending with his refusal, for the first time ever, to hold hearings and a vote on Obama’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia, McConnell tossed aside senatorial traditions and decorum in exchange for political expedience.

    In the face of a potential left-leaning court, McConnell and the GOP caucus chose to establish a new precedent — no Supreme Court nominees will be confirmed in the final year of a presidency— rather than biding their time and enjoying a counter-victory at some point in the future, when the next seat becomes available.

    This is how democracy slowly suffocates — by the deeds of power-hungry leaders whose only allegiance is to political expedience, rather than doing what’s right, what’s legal and what tradition demands. I can assure you that when a future Democratic president nominates a progressive justice and has just enough votes to confirm that nominee, Republicans will crave a return to the filibuster. It will be too late.

    Bob Cesca, a regular contributor to Salon.com

  14. leslie 2017-04-06

    War. Gorsuch says he’s an “originalist.” Scalia, whom Gorsuch also championed originalism. Thomas now stands alone on the high court as a self-proclaimed originalist.

    Largely discredited by courts and legal scholars, originalism is ultimately a way to reach a right-wing result under the guise of following the original intent of the authors of the Constitution.

    After visiting Guantánamo, where guards were violently force-feeding prisoners, Gorsuch wrote to the prison operation commander, “I was extraordinarily impressed. You and your colleagues have developed standards and imposed a degree of professionalism that the nation can be proud of, and being able to see first hand all that you have managed to accomplish with such a difficult and sensitive mission makes my job of helping explain and defend it before the courts all the easier.”

    Gorsuch could end up being the decisive vote in a range of future cases that involve executive branch policies that push at, or cross, the line of legality — defended based on expansive claims of unreviewable executive authority in the arena of NATIONAL SECURITY.”

  15. leslie 2017-04-06

    “Assad has an air force, and that air force is the cause of most of these civilian deaths as we have seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days,” Clinton said. “And I really believe that we should have and still should take out his air fields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.”

    Hours after Clinton’s remarks, the U.S. began striking targets in Syria.

    a few other late night trump ejaculations resulting in dangerous headlines–

    C.I.A. Had Evidence of Russian Effort to Help Trump Earlier Than Believed

    Mitch McConnell Goes ‘Nuclear’ To Break Supreme Court Filibuster

  16. leslie 2017-04-06

    “Witnesses said at least one Syrian warplane dropped bombs on Khan Sheikhun at about 6.30am on Tuesday. Shortly afterwards, first responders were overwhelmed with patients suffering from acute breathing problems, foaming at the mouth and writhing in pain. 72 people dead, 27 children, 546 injured.

    detecting a, it’s ever possible to discern method in his madness, Trump’s attitude towards the war in Syria has been relatively straightforward. Destroying Isis is the priority, he has stated time and again, and if that means bolstering Assad as a side-effect, so be it. This has been the logic of his benign attitude towards Russia, too: Vladimir Putin is a Christian leader willing to use hard power against jihadist Islam, so he’s one of the good guys. Also, Iraq was a mess, and no one wants to start a third world war.

    It turns out that a weak and paranoid president leads very rapidly to a weak and paranoid government. It also turns out there’s a difference between playing the role of a business exec on reality TV and actually knowing something about the economy.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/04/06/steve_bannon_called_jared_kushner_a_cuck_behind_his_back_report_says.html –a girly man on the right, the penis/vagina obsessed white male ruling class.

    Obama previously said, bluntly that Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s scornful remarks about administration officials represent conduct that “undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.” a girly man on the right

    just some thoughts on the so called president and voters who made him one. “they get what they deserve. the rest of us….” Will Rogers

  17. jerry 2017-04-07

    So, we Americans have decided, without authorization, that we will not tolerate chemical’s used to kill Syrians. We are okay with hospitals being bombed and used as torture chambers to kill defenseless Syrians though. While we morally claim the upper hand on the attack to prevent further attacks against defenseless Syrians, we refuse to grant those same Syrians refugee status. Sounds to me like wagging the dog to change the subject of the russian takeover of this country.

    Obama went to the congress to seek authorization to do the same in 2013 when a chemical attack killed scores more. Republicans, in our then congress, refused his request. Today, republicans in our newly formed parliament, are all for it. The House of Lords (Former Senate) did not vote to authorize, but they support. The House of Commons (Former House of Representatives) did not vote to authorize.

    Of note, perhaps the chambers of both former houses of congress will be remodeled to resemble more of the look of the British Parliament. The one our founding fathers loathed. But hey, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. The UK has the best delivery system for single payer healthcare just about anywhere. The folks there love their healthcare coverage, so we may have that going for us.

  18. jerry 2017-04-07

    Ah, good news though. We did not hit anything. “The Pentagon called the strike a “proportional response to Assad’s heinous act.” There was no immediate word on casualties, but no people were targeted, an official told NBC.

    Additionally, Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike, according to the Pentagon. “U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield,” Davis said.”

    Kind of like when the bad haircut dude in NK shoots off a missile towards the ocean. Might get a couple of Captain Nemo fish, but not much of anything else. This will keep the “journalists” busy for some time to deflect the treason in the complicity of the trumps and the russians.

    Meanwhile, stocks for Raytheon should be much higher in trading. Good news for investors!

  19. jerry 2017-04-07

    $93,810,000.00 was spent last night to blow up a couple of bunkers that no none was in. Thankfully, there was no loss of life in the raid. Just the tail wagging the dog, pathetic waste of money for nothing. Everyone knew the raid was coming so they simply left to their hotels that are close by. I wonder if trump owns those hotels? http://abcnews.go.com/International/eyewitness-syrian-military-anticipated-us-raid/story?id=46641107

    Get the flight decks ready for punkin head and “Mission Accomplished” Navy says that it will need a bigger belt for the codpiece, China is working on it.. with a trump trademark.

  20. mike from iowa 2017-04-07

    It wasn’t just the final year of Obama’s term it was all 4 or 8 of HRC’s term that no scotus justice would get confirmed by winguts.

    McCTrurtle likes to blame Dems for having a double standard for wingut and Lib justices. Dems have given every one of the wingnut nominees a hearing and an up or down vote. Wingnuts gave Garland neither, Now which party had the double standards?

  21. mike from iowa 2017-04-07

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/04/airstrike-carried-out-so-it-wouldnt-hurt-russias-long-term-plans-in-syria-us-military-official/

    We didn’t target airfield so Russian planes and presumably Syrian planes can continue with chemical weapons strikes. We also didn’t use serious cruise missiles that would leave craters. Just some that cause minimal damage. Why not bomb them with marshmallows? We warned Russian troops at the base they would be attacked and apparently that is how syria found out about the strike. The war was over before it began and Russia is apparently awfully unhappy with Drumpf.

  22. mike from iowa 2017-04-07

    Quiz time- guess which airport America refused to destroy is Syria launching bombing raids on HOMS from? Extra points if you guess correctly the first time.

    Fake Noize claims a Russian warship entered the Mediterranean and is speeding toward the two US destroyers that deployed missiles last night.

  23. leslie 2017-04-07

    Like Will Rogers quip, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin discussed the frozen trucker case with Gorsuch, saying that the temperature was minus 14 that night, “but not as cold as your dissent.” http://marjoriecohn.com/neil-gorsuch-and-the-deconstruction-of-the-administrative-state/

    Score–trump: $17 million purchased Justice Gorsuch’s stolen seat + $59 million Tomahawk missiles on Syrian runways + the life of a Navy Seal and $70 mill aircraft. American public dazed, confused and distracted: priceless. Potential damage to national security: incalculable

    Bannon “fired” for calling Jared a cuck (btw, Kushner excluded mention of Russian meetings on security forms) was like Gen. McChrystal fired for mouthing off to Obama previously. Oh, just a coincidence that navy man Bannon influenced the Navy Tomahawk missile choice?

    see addl 4.5.17 Huffpo headlines at 22:34 above. Meanwhile…

    “Mr. Trump has rejected any suggestion of a Russian election meddling as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘fake news.’ The White House has also sought to REDIRECT the focus from the investigation and toward what Mr. Trump has said, with no evidence, was President Barack Obama’s wiretapping of phones in Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.

    …classified briefings that the C.I.A. held in August and September for the so-called Gang of Eight — the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and the Senate and of the intelligence committees in each chamber — show deep concerns about the impact of the election meddling.

    In the briefings, the C.I.A. said there was intelligence indicating not only that the Russians were trying to get Mr. Trump elected but that they had gained computer access to multiple state and local election boards in the United States since 2014….Director Brennan indicated that the C.I.A., focused on foreign intelligence, was limited in its legal ability to investigate possible connections to Mr. Trump. The officials said Mr. Brennan told Speaker Reid that the F.B.I., in charge of domestic intelligence, would have to lead the way.

    C.I.A. analysis was that American intelligence agencies learned that Russia’s cyberattacks had breached Republican targets as well as Democrats. But virtually none of the hacked Republican material came out publicly, while the Russians, working through WikiLeaks and other public outlets, dumped substantial amounts of Democratic material damaging to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

    Some intelligence officials were wary of pushing too aggressively before the election with questions about possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign because of concerns it might be seen as an improper political attempt to help Mrs. Clinton….

    Obama administration officials proposed that the eight senior lawmakers write a letter to state election officials warning them of the possible threat posed by Russian hacking, officials said.
    But Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, resisted, questioning the underpinnings of the intelligence, according to officials with knowledge of the discussions. Mr. McConnell ultimately agreed to a softer version of the letter (Sept. 28), which did not mention the Russians….

    …briefings left Mr. Reid frustrated with the F.B.I.’s handling of Russia’s election intrusion, especially after the agency said in late October — 11 days before the election — that it was re-examining Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

    Mr. Reid fired off another letter on Oct. 30, accusing Mr. Comey of a “double standard” in reviving the Clinton investigation while sitting on “explosive information” about possible ties between Russia and Mr. Trump….after her loss, a number of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters have said that Mr. Comey and other government officials should have revealed more to the public during the campaign season about what they knew of Russia’s motivations and possible connections to the Trump campaign.

    IMO, Trump’s election meddling has resulted in more bloody deaths (he likes his finger on the trigger after Yemen). A lot like failures in EB5 and MCEC in SD.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/06/us/trump-russia-cia-john-brennan.html

    A continuing pattern of republican distraction…the big revelation that Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, learned during his secret visit to the White House on March 21 and described in vague terms to reporters the following day…. Nunes and some other Republicans say this supports Trump’s claim that the Obama White House had Trump’s team under surveillance.

    Further outrage comes from the editorial page of Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, which describes Rice’s request for the uncensored names as “highly unusual—and troubling” and says of Nunes’ allegation, “Now we know he is onto something.” In fact, however, Rice’s request was not at all unusual or troubling….”

    trump can now blame HRC for the missile attack when it goes sideways, too. and WSJ for misleading him! Maybe he should go to National Security briefings rather than to Rupert Murdoch and to florida golfing for his intel.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2017/04/the_bogus_susan_rice_unmasking_story_shows_how_desperate_the_white_house.html

    Humanity-Cory, trump just has no vocabulary so the nation and our children will have to dumb down to his level to take advantage of his function as role model. you’d think voters would have learned after electing Bush (courtesy of a conservative supreme court). $800 mill Koch dollars of ads can brain-wash 50% of a population apparently.

  24. jerry 2017-04-08

    Trumps ruskies already have old smokey in the Mediterranean, http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.749859 So there is just more smoke and mirrors.

    North Korean bad haircut dude, is still working on his aim. Now vows to hit a whale in the heiny. Xi vows sale of the tee shirts with the motto “Heiny Hitter” sales to trump’s trademarks. All is well in grifter world.

  25. jerry 2017-04-08

    Gotta grift where ya can mfi. Old trump cannot help himself and the tee vee dudes and dudettes lap it up like they cannot wait for more blood and guts and veins in the teeth. As long as the two punking heads, the one here and the one in North Korea, just keep hitting nothing with their missiles, then it just costs resources and no blood. Those two should just mud wrestle. Winner gets to give the loo oo ooser, a smoothie haircut.

  26. jerry 2017-04-08

    Trump indicated to Xi that President Bannon would be gone soon from the sounds of things. “Trump said in a brief appearance before reporters Friday that he and Xi made “tremendous progress” in their talks and that he believes “lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away.” He did not elaborate.”

    Nothing regarding North Korea though as that is gonna sit there like a bump on a log until China gets some more money from us taxpayers.

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