Mike Pence Isn’t Kim Jong Un’s Daddy

US leaders have put on their best stern-father faces toward North Korea and China. On his trip to the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, Vice President Mike Pence headed outside, against warnings, to stare into the North. “It was important that they […] see our resolve in my face,” he told the US press.

At the White House Easter Egg Roll, President Donald Trump declared North Korea has “got to behave.” He has also tweeted warnings: “I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!” “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them!” “I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will!” Read More

North Korea Links – April 20, 2017

Why there are no good options on North Korea’s nuclear program.

Interview with Joel Wit, who has been watching North Korea for a couple of decades and more. Also by Wit: How to defuse the crisis with North Korea. Hint: Bluster and bluff won’t do it.

History: How Washington hard-liners helped to create the North Korean crisis.

The hidden messages in North Korea’s military parade.

What missiles does North Korea have?

The US isn’t hacking North Korea’s missile launches. Rocket science is hard.

Take a 3D tour of North Korea’s nuclear test tunnels. Top photo is a screen grab from the tour.

The White House’s misleading statements about Trump’s ‘armada’ heading to Korea.

Twitter thread by Ilan Goldenberg on how things might have gotten messed up with the carrier group.

 

Syria Links – April 7, 2017

Remarks by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor H. R. McMasters.

After the strikes, diplomacy is necessary – Anthony Blinken.

Striking at Assad carries opportunities and risks for Trump – David Sanger.

What effect will Trump’s airstrikes really have? – Daniel Byman.

Trump’s attack on Syria – the good, the bad, and the ugly – Ryan Evans.

The issues that make dealing with the mess in Syria so difficult – Robert Farley.

Explaining nerve agents – Dan Kaszeta. More about the institutional means necessary for them – Kelsey Atherton.

Transcript of Trump’s statement and video. I found Trump’s invocation of God, the word used three times in the speech, strange. He also asked us to pray for the souls of the dead and for God to bless the whole world. I’ve never been comfortable with presidents invoking God’s blessing on the United States, and this is more presumptuous, both to whatever God Trump believes in and to the beliefs of the rest of the world. Praying for the dead is a mostly Catholic practice, even narrower than asking for God’s blessing.

This is an oldie-but-goodie article on the idea that macho posturing in the international arena confers “credibility”, which serves to deter bad actors. It doesn’t.

Will add more articles below the jump as they appear. Read More