ChrisWeigant.com

The Battle Of The Bluster

[ Posted Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 – 16:52 PDT ]

There are more imminent foreign policy problems for Donald Trump than North Korea this particular week, but I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to talk about NATO, Trump's visit with the Queen of England, and the summit between Trump and Vladimir Putin in the days to come. For now, I think it's worth turning our attention to the apparent deterioration of the comity between America and North Korea. Trump, a master blusterer if ever there was one, has been overselling what happened between him and Kim Jong Un pretty much since the two men parted in Singapore. He sees the meeting and the agreement as a great achievement, thus he has his own political reasons for praising Kim and the North Koreans. However, the North Koreans are no slouch in the blustering game themselves, as they proved this week by hurling insults and mockery at Mike Pompeo after the first high-level meeting since the Trump-Kim summit. Pompeo appeared blindsided by this bluster, after already having publicly said that it was a productive meeting. So far, Trump has been too busy with other matters (foreign and domestic), and has not really responded to the deterioration in relations. But sooner or later, he's going to have to address it in one way or another. We've seen some potshots, but the full-on battle of the bluster has not yet been truly joined, to extend the metaphor.

Overall, it's looking more and more like Donald Trump essentially got played by Kim Jong Un. Trump met with Kim, and then magnanimously declared that the North Korean nuclear threat no longer existed. Unsurprisingly, this was not true then, is not true now, and will not be true for the foreseeable future.

To fully understand what is going on, we must start with a look at the language of the agreement both men signed in Singapore. At the beginning of this extremely short document is a broad statement of what both countries' goals are:

President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK [North Korea], and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

This is expanded (somewhat, although still in the vaguest-possible terms) into a list of four areas of cooperation. The third item on this list is the crucial one:

Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

So, Kim Jong Un personally has a "firm and unwavering commitment to" while his country "commits to work toward" a goal that is not actually defined anywhere in the document: "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

This phrase is craftily designed to mean completely different things to the two sides of the agreement. To America, this is supposed to mean that North Korea gets rid of its nuclear weapons and its facilities used to build and test such weapons. Also somewhat implicit is that North Korea will at least partially dismantle their missile program as well, at least the part that builds long-range intercontinental missiles. Also implicit (since nothing was really spelled out in the written agreement) is that North Korea will have to verifiably achieve all of this before any sanctions against it are lifted.

However, the phrase is designed to mean something totally different to North Korea. Their original point of view was much like an American president wishfully hoping for a day when nuclear weapons ceased to exist anywhere in the world. North Korea's basic position on its own nuclear forces is pretty close to this -- that they will only relinquish their nukes right after all the other countries in the world do so. This is absurd, of course, but it's an absurd sort of regime. So the Singapore agreement was only one step backwards from their original extreme position on nukes, because what they believe they are committing to is getting rid of their nuclear arsenal right after America promises to remove South Korea (and, implicitly, Japan as well) from under its "nuclear umbrella," while also pledging to never bring any nuclear weapons anywhere near the Korean Peninsula (which, of course, contains both North and South Korea). So North Korea will only get rid of its weapons after the U.S. promises never to use them to defend South Korea. This is also pretty absurd, since it would require a massive change in an American military policy that has remained unchanged since nuclear weapons existed, but this is indeed how the agreement reads to the North Koreans. Indeed, in the more-specific numbered list, North Korea is really only committing to "work toward" this goal -- meaning as long as they're still at the table talking, they've already completely accomplished what they promised to do.

This disconnect is now getting more and more obvious. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just found this out in a big way, after holding talks with the North and then being excoriated afterwards (accused of using "gangster-like" tactics) in the state-run media. But while the insults were what captured the media's attention, the North also sent a message on the basic disagreement with what a "denuclearized Korean Peninsula" actually means. They ripped into America for repeating the same demands as America has consistently demanded in the past, as if somehow we were the ones who were supposed to have changed our basic bargaining position. To the North Koreans, we had indeed agreed to do so and were now not making good on our agreement. To Pompeo, of course, it looked exactly like the North Koreans were actually trying to back out of something previously agreed to.

This is what happens when important diplomatic terms aren't defined, of course. The United States' position has always been for "complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement" of North Korea's nuclear stockpile and its ability to make more nuclear bombs. This "CVID" doctrine has always been at the core of the U.S. position. Furthermore, because North Korea is already known for cheating on such agreements, the inspection process will have to be both robust and fully completed before we lift any sanctions or make any other large concessions to North Korea (like ending the Korean War, for instance).

So it's no wonder we're essentially talking past each other in the negotiations. We've each got our favored definition of what the two leaders actually agreed to, and no progress on any of it will be possible until we can both see eye-to-eye on this basic definition. Everything else follows, really.

President Trump's wrongheaded assurance that the North Korean nuclear threat had evaporated overnight wasn't the only thing he got wrong, of course. Trump and Kim apparently talked about two other issues during their face-to-face meeting, the dismantlement of a missile engine testing facility and the return of American soldiers' remains lost in the Korean War. Since then, Trump has spoken of both of these as if they have already happened, several times. He brags that 200 bodies have been repatriated, but the Pentagon says that figure is actually zero. Pompeo let slip that the dismantling of the plant in question is still under discussion, meaning it won't be destroyed any time soon, even though Trump is convinced this has already happened.

Watching the back-and-forth between Trump, Kim, and their aides is amusing in one respect, at least. Trump is king of the bluster, as we all know. He is a living, walking example of the old T-shirt slogan: "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit." He brags about the 200 non-existent soldiers' bodies that have come home at his rallies, and his crowds eat it up. But he may have finally met his match in a totalitarian regime with full propaganda control over their own media. North Korea has been playing the game of bluster for decades, remember -- they're experts at explaining to their own people why the rest of the world is headed for doom while the valiant people of North Korea are the shining future of humanity. A few insults about Pompeo can be classified as child's play for such a propaganda machine.

The real question is how Trump will react, once he's done with the other weighty items on his foreign policy calendar (the upcoming NATO meeting, and the summit with his buddy Vladimir Putin). So far, he's obviously been distracted by other matters, including his Supreme Court nomination. But sooner or later Pompeo's going to meet with the North Koreans again, likely with similar results as what just happened. If the North Koreans continue to hurl insults after such meetings, eventually Trump is going to be goaded into reacting.

How he reacts could actually help the process move along, or it could wind up with both parties walking away from the table. Since Trump already gave away much of the store on his first meeting with Kim, it leaves him in the position of being able to make a major move that would just put us all back to the status quo ante. Trump already did this once, with some degree of success. When he threatened to cancel the meeting with Kim, it caused a noticeable effect in the propaganda within North Korea -- an immediate softening of their always-harsh rhetoric. The next time some unnamed North Korean official called us gangsters (or something similar) in their state press, Trump could use this gambit again, stating that unless the North Koreans apologized within 24 hours, Trump would immediately reconvene the joint military exercises with the South Koreans (which both the North Koreans and Trump call "war games"). By initially giving this rather large concession away without getting much of anything in return, Trump does now have the option of reversing course. This wouldn't increase our military posture in any way, it would instead simply return it to where it was before the Singapore meeting. Easy come, easy go, in other words. Doing so runs the risk of completely breaking down the talks between the two countries, but if we are so far apart that we can't even agree what the key phrase means, then further talks without any sort of concessions would really be meaningless.

This is only round one, please remember. We're at the very start of what -- whether successful or not -- will doubtless be a very long and hard process. There's no guarantee that North Korea is ever going to budge an inch, currently. They spent a lot of time, money, and effort to get to where they are now -- seen by the world as an equal to the United States, with a nuclear arsenal to be feared by all. They're not going to walk away from this position easily, if ever. They may make a limited show of blowing some factories up and decommissioning the earliest models of nuclear bombs they produced (the ones that don't work as well as their later efforts, in other words), but complete denuclearization of North Korea will still be a long way off. The battle of the bluster between Trump and the Kim regime is going to continue for some time to come, that's for sure.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

92 Comments on “The Battle Of The Bluster”

  1. [1] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    " . . seen by the world as an equal to the United States, with a nuclear arsenal to be feared by all . ."

    Some parts of the world could be that dumb, but likely not the ones that count.

  2. [2] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Trump showed all the negotiation skills of Neville Chamberlain in his talks with Kim. Fortunately, N.Korea isn't the 21st century economic and technological equivalent of 20th Nazi Germany, although the N. Koreans have been able to purchase cheap nukes due to the breakup of the Soviet Union. Given time, professional US diplomats and military should be able to walk the situation back to something close to the pre-Singapore standoff. N. Korea has nukes, and for the foreseeable it's going to take a hot war to change that.

    Trump is going to show the same skills and attitudes when he meets with his good friend Vlad Putin. I fear that Putin is going to prove much more formidable than Kim. Trump seems overly eager to trade NATO for a mess o'porridge.

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Some parts of the world could be that dumb, but likely not the ones that count.

    That says it all..

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    I get it.. I really do..

    President Trump has gotten farther with the Norks than ANY POTUS before him, even the beloved Obama with his "Strategic Patience" AKA The Coward Of The Country bullshit...

    And that just chaps the ass of everyone here. :D

    So I understand exactly where ya'all are coming from... :D

  5. [5] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "...they will only relinquish their nukes right after all the other countries in the world do so."

    That says it all.

    The only incentive they would have to get rid of their nuclear weapons is if no other country had them. Of course, at that point what incentive would they have to get rid of their nuclear weapons?

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    The only incentive they would have to get rid of their nuclear weapons is if no other country had them.

    Qadaffi....

    Of course, at that point what incentive would they have to get rid of their nuclear weapons?

    https://youtu.be/N1tGCDeOi2o

    :D

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    https://youtu.be/N1tGCDeOi2o

    Who does the POTUS remind ya'all of?? :D

  8. [8] 
    John M wrote:

    [4] Michale

    "President Trump has gotten farther with the North than ANY POTUS before him,"

    NO, HE HASN'T. I am simply not sure if that is a DELIBERATE LIE on your part, or pathetic FANTASY on your part.

    President Clinton actually got an extensive SIGNED agreement with North Korea in 1994 that went FAR BEYOND the vague statement Trump got.

    It only failed because the North Koreans ended up getting caught cheating on the agreement.

  9. [9] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW-
    "...I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to talk about NATO, Trump's visit with the queen of England and the summit between Trump and Vladimir Putin in the days to come."

    So since there is plenty of time to cover these and other issues there should be plenty of time to spend one day exploring One Demand and the current opportunity to mobilize some of the 20-30% of citizens that vote in presidential elections but do not vote in off year to participate in One Demand instead of not voting in 2018.

    After all, if there is time to write about the bluster of North Korea getting rid of their nuclear weapons, which is unlikely to EVER HAPPEN, then there should be time to write about this current opportunity in the 2018 elections which has a much better chance of happening.

    You have hid behind the bluster of your excuses long enough. It's time to step up and address this reality.

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    OPEC's oil output jumps in June as Saudi Arabia opens the taps to tame crude prices
    Saudi Arabia's oil production jumped by nearly 500,000 barrels per day in June as it aims to put more supply into the market to tame the cost of crude.
    Output from the 15-member producer group OPEC was up 173,000 bpd as the group prepares to lift production caps in place since 2017.
    OPEC forecast that global oil demand will cross 100 million bpd for the first time in 2019, but warned trade tensions could negatively impact the market.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/11/opecs-oil-output-jumps-in-june-as-saudi-arabia-opens-the-taps.html

    WINNING :D

  11. [11] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Another Cohen in the news. Sasha Baron Cohen pranked Sarah Palin at the airport. Palin is indignant, but that rings a little hollow from somebody who pranked herself by giving a speech while some guy kills slit turkey throats in the background.

    Remember the Acorn!

    In the immortal words of Bob Einstein "it's not so funny when it's your mom." (Look it up on The Google, you'll be glad you did). Arguably the funniest joke ever. Einstein's talking dog joke is a very close second.

  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Oh crap, left off the parenthesis around slit. I need more coffee.

  13. [13] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale (6)-
    Let's hope Trump didn't see that movie.

  14. [14] 
    TheStig wrote:

    John M:

    "DELIBERATE LIE on your part, or pathetic FANTASY"

    One from column A, one from column B

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let's hope Trump didn't see that movie.

    hehe.. Well, you Lefties want a nuclear weapon free world..

    That's one way to go about it. :D

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    President Clinton actually got an extensive SIGNED agreement with North Korea in 1994 that went FAR BEYOND the vague statement Trump got.

    Of course you would say that.. Clinton has a -D after his name, right? :D

    But I have to ask. Was that BEFORE Clinton raped and sexually harassed a multitude of women or after??

  17. [17] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    TS

    Another Cohen in the news. Sasha Baron Cohen pranked Sarah Palin at the airport. Palin is indignant, but that rings a little hollow from somebody who pranked herself by giving a speech while some guy kills slit turkey throats in the background.

    He also pranked Dick Cheney and got him to autograph a waterboard!

  18. [18] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale (15)-
    I am only a lefty if you are talking aboot being left handed.

    Politically, I am not a lefty. While I may have some of the same goals, I have a different approach than the political left.

    For example, One Demand is based on the free market principle of supply and demand. It is designed for citizens to take action on their own to solve the problem of Big Money in politics rather than depend on politicians to solve the problem with legislation.

  19. [19] 
    neilm wrote:

    Anybody around here think they are intelligent and everybody else is an idiot?

    Well it turns out (as we all knew) the more confidence you have in yourself, the lower your actual understanding of a subject (this is also established by Dunning and Kruger, and known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect).

    https://digest.bps.org.uk/2018/05/31/people-who-think-their-opinions-are-superior-to-others-are-most-prone-to-overestimating-their-relevant-knowledge-and-ignoring-chances-to-learn-more/

    Key Section:

    Finally and more promisingly, the researchers found some evidence that belief superiority can be dented by feedback. If participants were told that people with beliefs like theirs tended to score poorly on topic knowledge, or if they were directly told that their score on the topic knowledge quiz was low, this not only reduced their belief superiority, it also caused them to seek out the kind of challenging information they had previously neglected in the headlines task (though the evidence for this behavioural effect was mixed).

    You're welcome (you know who you are).

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well it turns out (as we all knew) the more confidence you have in yourself, the lower your actual understanding of a subject (this is also established by Dunning and Kruger, and known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect).

    SO.. What you are saying is that, when ya'all are saying very confidently, that Democrats are going to win the mid-terms, you are actually NOT understanding the situation at all..

    Yea.. I have total confidence that I get that.. :D

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    You're welcome (you know who you are).

    If ya don't do a MAUI after that, ya don't mean it.. :D

    "What can I say except... Yer Welcome...'
    -Maui, MOANA

    :D

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just remember Neil...

    "Insulting People For Fun Is A Fault"

    :D

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    And boy are we having fun now!!!! :D

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Well, you Lefties want a nuclear weapon free world..

    Don't you?

    I mean, who does?

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Well, you Lefties want a nuclear weapon free world..

    Don't you?

    I mean, who DOESN'T?

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    The preview button is great, when I use it, but, the next time you update, please consider adding a time-limited edit function ... :)

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, you Lefties want a nuclear weapon free world..

    Don't you?

    I mean, who DOESN'T?

    Touche' :D

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    To clarify....

    I would want to live in a world where a nuclear deterrent wasn't required...

    Ever read THE JESUS FACTOR??

  29. [29] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    President Trump has gotten farther with the Norks than ANY POTUS before him

    "President Trump looked at a wider variety of SCOTUS candidates than any other.."

    "President Trump's inaugural crowds were larger than any other.."

    One way to know you've found a bullshitter is when dung patties like these start littering the landscape.

    We need clean up on aisle four..clean up on aisle four..

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    One way to know you've found a bullshitter is when dung patties like these start littering the landscape.

    Of course, you didn't mind when Obama was the bullshitter, did you??

    Of course not...

    Ergo, it's not the bullshit you object to.. It's only the -R bullshit you object to...

    Ergo, Party slavery... :D

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    "President Trump's inaugural crowds were larger than any other.."

    President Trump's viewership of the inauguration was larger than any POTUS in history..

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Osceola-Cortez has stated that Hamas is simply the Palestinian version of Black Lives Matter...

    What's yer opinion on that??

  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Would you please get her name right.

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Also, I'm sure you're spinning up what she said to say what she didn't say.

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Or, you are relying on a news source that commonly does the same.

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I think your country should have a serious political debate about what your policy in the Middle East and towards Israel should be.

    The trouble with many Republicans is they seem to believe that political leaders in Israel can do no wrong when, in fact, they have a lot to account for.

    US foreign policy, in general, needs to be freed from its Israeli handlers, in other words.

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    None of the above is to say, of course, that Israel has not only a right but a responsibility to defend itself and protect its citizens.

    Israel lives in an extremely dangerous neighbourhood. It is my opinion that Israeli leaders like Netanyahu have acted in ways that sometimes do more harm than good. They need to be called out when they act badly while being fully supported in their overall security concerns.

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Also, I'm sure you're spinning up what she said to say what she didn't say.

    Actually, that is pretty close to the mark.. I take it you disagree with the sentiment..

    Good..

    Moving on.. What do you think about her claim to Brooklyn low income roots when she actually lived in a ritzy rich section of town north of Brooklyn??

    The trouble with many Republicans is they seem to believe that political leaders in Israel can do no wrong when, in fact, they have a lot to account for.

    I have said it befores and I'll says it agains.

    As long as Palestinians resort to terrorism, Israel will have Carte Blanche in dealing with the Palestinians up to but not including terrorism itself..

    As long as Israel doesn't cross that line, it's factually accurate to say that Israel can do no wrong..

    Israel lives in an extremely dangerous neighbourhood. It is my opinion that Israeli leaders like Netanyahu have acted in ways that sometimes do more harm than good. They need to be called out when they act badly while being fully supported in their overall security concerns.

    The problem is how the international community defines "acting badly"... Israel merely defending itself is "acting badly" in the eyes of the international community..

    Yet the IC gives complete support to Hamas using civilians as cover, placing munitions and launch sites in hospitals and schools and, basically, doing everything that civilized nations abhor..

  39. [39] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    M-

    President Trump's viewership of the inauguration was larger than any POTUS in history..

    Facts to support?

    Nielsen ratings actually bestows that honor to Ronald Reagan.

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    Facts to support?

    Nielsen ratings actually bestows that honor to Ronald Reagan.

    Online streaming put President Trump over the top..

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Do you know how to spell her name yet?

    I'm more interested in discussing the NATO meeting so I'm moving on to a place where that can be done in a civil and enlightened manner.

    Adios amigo ... hasta manana!

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That was for Michale ...

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    Do you know how to spell her name yet?

    I usually don't bother to learn the names of people I don't respect..

    But, in deference to you, I'll refer to her as Cortez...

    I'm more interested in discussing the NATO meeting so I'm moving on to a place where that can be done in a civil and enlightened manner.

    We can do that here too! :D

    Ya gotta say this about President Trump..

    By far, President Trump has NATO by the balls and is controlling the debate unequivocally... :D

    Stick it to the deadbeats!!!!

  44. [44] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    M-

    Online streaming put President Trump over the top..

    Again... facts to support?

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    Will you acknowledge the facts???

    Of course not...

    So, tell me.. Why should I bother??

  46. [46] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    By far, President Trump has NATO by the balls

    *ahem* Those are his own. They were handed to him by his own party, who joined the Democrats in a 97-2 (Rand Paul and Mike Lee) declaration of support for NATO, including a restatement of our commitment to abide by article 5 of the NATO Treaty (wherein we commit to defend other NATO members that are attacked), and specifically states that NATO benefits the US as much as it benefits Europe, an argument that undermines Trump's argument the the relationship is lopsided. And they did this as he left for Brussels.

    The Establishment Strikes Back

    To add insult to injury, this nearly unanimous statement sends a clear and unambiguous silent message as well, perhaps summarized as: "Listen, don't worry yourselves about this guy - we're still with you even if he's not." Which is an extraordinary message to send to our allies on the eve of a summit.

    After that, will anything Trump has to say to NATO be taken seriously?

  47. [47] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    M-

    So, tell me.. Why should I bother??

    Gotcha... No Facts to support...

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    Gotcha... No Facts to support...

    Nope.. Just no facts that you will accept because they prove me right and you would disappear with yer tail between yer legs..

    So, again.. Why should I bother???

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    After that, will anything Trump has to say to NATO be taken seriously?

    Uhh......

    Nato fears Donald Trump may pull troops out of Europe if countries do not increase defence spending
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/07/nato-summit-fears-trump-may-pull-troops-europe/

    Yea....

    Do you people EVER get tired of being wrong???

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b1da96359e7e61b660922bcb2d96ee10bdc75e3a5b5930e7b1883bc450d54054.jpg?w=800&h=549

    And NATO is correct to be afraid.. Patriotic Americans are sick and tired of footing the bill for NATO while pansy ass countries like Germany pay with themselves...

    Europe better get their heads out of their candy-asses or they'll face Russia alone..

  51. [51] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Europe better get their heads out of their candy-asses or they'll face Russia alone..

    Well I'm sure that Comrade Putin will appreciate your support. Somewhere out there are generations of former Republicans spinning in their graves like centrifuges in Yakutsk. Eisenhower is livid. Nixon is depressed. Even Reagan remembers a very different GOP.

    So I guess this is the kick-off to 'kiss Russia's balls' week.

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    So I guess this is the kick-off to 'kiss Russia's balls' week.

    Oh, yer Obama did that a while ago..

    "Please tell Vlad that if he can give me some space to win this election, I can be more flexible once I win. ANd you know what I mean by 'flexible', right?? baak chicka waaa waaa chicka waaa waa..."
    -Barack Obama

  53. [53] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    M-

    Nope.. Just no facts that you will accept because they prove me right and you would disappear with yer tail between yer legs..

    Gotcha..not only do you have no facts...you are too lazy of a debater to provide your so called facts.

    Remember kids, FACTS= BS Michale types faster than he can think and, facts are things based on reality.

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    Remember kids, FACTS= BS Michale types faster than he can think and, facts are things based on reality.

    And you have a PROVEN track record of ignoring facts and reality that don't comport with your Party slavery..

    For example.. Didn't you say that Hillary Clinton was going to be POTUS?? THAT was YOUR "reality"...

    ANd who was wrong and who was correct??

    Who had the FACTS and who did not?? :D

    'Nuff said...

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    For example.. Didn't you say that Hillary Clinton was going to be POTUS?? THAT was YOUR "reality"...

    ANd who was wrong and who was correct??

    Who had the FACTS and who did not?? :D

    Oh, I know...

    We can take a trip down memory lane.. :D

    https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/1016079192604139520

  56. [56] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    M-

    For example.. Didn't you say that Hillary Clinton was going to be POTUS?? THAT was YOUR "reality"...

    Your memory fails you...

    'Nuff said...

    Yup... no facts to back your claim that started this.
    If you had some facts (or even FACTS) you would have posted them. I am sure your quick scrabble on whatever right wing search engine you use, since google is for lefties, illuminates the facts as Ronald Reagan being the record holder, Obama 2009, trump in third.

  57. [57] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    and 56 is taking into account the limited forms of streaming in 2009, and the widespread streaming available in 2018.

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yup... no facts to back your claim that started this.
    If you had some facts (or even FACTS) you would have posted them.

    Why??? I spend time doing the research and you run away without acknowledging you were wrong..

    Why should I bother???

    illuminates the facts as Ronald Reagan being the record holder,

    BBWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Facts to support???

    Cuz there was a LOT of online streaming at Reagans inauguration, right? :D

    You a funny guy...

    The simple fact is, President Trump's inauguration was the most viewed inauguration in history...

    You know it.. You can't handle it.. :D

  59. [59] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    This has become nothing more that an asinine chat-fest, completely unworthy of Chris's blog.

    I, for one, have a big problem with that.

  60. [60] 
    Michale wrote:

    This has become nothing more that an asinine chat-fest, completely unworthy of Chris's blog.

    I, for one, have a big problem with that.

    He started it!!!! :D

  61. [61] 
    Michale wrote:

    Wanna chat about NATO??

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b1da96359e7e61b660922bcb2d96ee10bdc75e3a5b5930e7b1883bc450d54054.jpg?w=800&h=549

    Many EU countries need to get their act together..

    Estonia's commitment to NATO is almost TWICE that of Germany's...

    That's just sad...

  62. [62] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yes, I do but, not here.

  63. [63] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Estonia's commitment to NATO is almost TWICE that of Germany's...

    Only as a percentage of GDP but, Germany contributes much more in terms of dollars.

    And, there is more to NATO contributions than just money.

  64. [64] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [62] Yes, I do but, not here.

    What do you want to discuss here, Liz? Menu's ala carte.

    Topic of the Day is: "What a big bag of Gas Trump is - could he be any more wrong about North Korea?"

    CW will provide the food for thought, and Michale will be your heckler (day only).

    It's all self-serve, so grab a tray and pony up.

  65. [65] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [63] Yep. Trump doesn't understand the 'strategic' part of "strategic alliance".

  66. [66] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Balthasar[64],

    Let me know when you're ready to have a serious and enlightened discussion about NATO in general, and about US leadership, in particular, and about how Democrats should go about persuading voters and winning elections.

  67. [67] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Call me a sucker for punishment.

  68. [68] 
    Michale wrote:

    What do you want to discuss here, Liz? Menu's ala carte.

    As long as it's I HATE TRUMP/PARTY SLAVERY AND BIGOTRY...

    Like going to China Buffett and all you can order is rice.. :^/

    Yea.. REALLY appetizing for the true intellectual.. :^/

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    NATO members are PETRIFIED that President Trump will say, "FINE, OK. FRAK IT... You morons face Russia on yer own.. I am bringing our troops home..."

    NATO countries will bow to President Trump's demands...

    It's a foregone conclusion...

  70. [70] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Liz [66] Sure.

    My perspective isn't very much different from that of most Americans, as stated in the 97-2 resolution that the Senate passed as Trump was setting down in Brussels.

    Trump is channeling a strain of rightie isolationism that has always existed on the fringe of US politics. Usually we ignore them as much as we ignore folks who want to abolish the Fed or start trade wars. That was before the Alex Jones whisperer got into the Oval Office, of course.

    I believe (as I said in [46]) that the establishment will push back hard against Trump's pro-Russia anti-NATO posture. This isn't BREXIT, in other words. Don't forget that another resolution reinforcing Russian Sanctions was passed by Congress nearly unanimously, which Trump was forced to sign.

    If Trump continues to ignore Congress' wishes on this subject, they'll start putting teeth into these resolutions, especially after the midterms, whether Democrats pick up seats or not.

    That's how far afield Trump is right now.

  71. [71] 
    Michale wrote:

    If Trump continues to ignore Congress' wishes on this subject, they'll start putting teeth into these resolutions, especially after the midterms, whether Democrats pick up seats or not.

    Yea, cuz Republicans in Congress have really gone after Trump..

    Balthy, your problem is you are indulging in WISHCASTING rather than a realistic prediction..

    You are talking about what you WANT to happen rather than what is likely to happen based on facts and reality...

  72. [72] 
    Michale wrote:
  73. [73] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    M-

    Why??? I spend time doing the research and you run away without acknowledging you were wrong..

    You have? Twitter is the only link on the subject you have posted and even it was off topic...

    Here is how it works. You present some facts ( not FACTS) and I get to consider them, Then, I can provide more information to disputer yours, THEN we get into the back and forth on who is right.

    You have done neither... Do I need to give you a quarter to call 1.800.get.a.clue?

    Cuz there was a LOT of online streaming at Reagans inauguration, right? :D

    There was zero...and he still hands Trump his ass in numbers as rated by Nielsen. Once you get into 2009 and beyond streaming ,as flawed as the measurements are, when combined with television viewership still has both Obama and trump lagging.
    The simple fact is, President Trump's inauguration was the most viewed inauguration in history...

    So you claim, as unsubstantiated as it is...

    Again, I have requested facts and you have yet to put anything up.

    You know it.. You can't handle it..

    I accept you concession.

  74. [74] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    He started it!!!! :D

    Factually inaccurate...you were the OP ;)-

    It has been mildly diverting as I am trapped in a departure lounge in an airport that is miles from anything good to eat and has the worst departure immigration process in the world...it takes for bloody ever to get through the line.

  75. [75] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (66)-
    How Democrats should go aboot persuading voters to support Democrats is to stop taking Big Money. Too many citizens see the contradiction between what the Democrats campaign on and what they do after being elected to serve the Big Money interests for these citizens to believe the Democrats when they are campaigning so 40% stay home and don't vote and 20-30% that do vote only vote in presidential election cycles.

    This 20-30% that don't vote in off year elections could instead participate in One Demand in 2018 and if the Democrats get the message they can do well in 2020. If the Democrats don't get the message, someone else will and they will replace the Democrats that will at that point will deserve to be replaced.

  76. [76] 
    Michale wrote:

    I seem to recall someone saying the whole world hates Trump

    Anti-Trump protest in Brussels expected THOUSANDS, got DOZENS...
    Anti-Trump Protest at NATO Draws Only a Couple Dozen

    https://ntknetwork.com/anti-trump-protest-at-nato-draws-only-a-couple-dozen/

    Apparently... NOT..

    BBWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA :D

  77. [77] 
    Michale wrote:

    Factually inaccurate...you were the OP ;)-

    :D I'll give ya that one.. :D

    It has been mildly diverting as I am trapped in a departure lounge in an airport that is miles from anything good to eat and has the worst departure immigration process in the world...it takes for bloody ever to get through the line.

    "One is honored to be of service"
    -Robin Williams, BICENTENNIAL MAN

    :D

    Peace out, dood.. Fly safe...

  78. [78] 
    Michale wrote:

    There was zero...and he still hands Trump his ass in numbers as rated by Nielsen.

    And, if we were talking about Nielsen, you would have an argument. But we're not, so you don't.. :D

  79. [79] 
    neilm wrote:

    OK, so if the U.S. doesn't need to protect Europe, can we cut the defense budget in half, i.e. to 2% like other countries?

    Let's face reality, Russia might be able to roll over Estonia, and justify it by claiming that the Russian speaking population is being harassed so it is self protection, but they aren't going to get anywhere near Germany, France, Italy, etc. and why would they want to. Also, if the U.S. abandoned NATO then Germany, Italy, etc. would all become nuclear powers to deter Russia - something that the U.S. really doesn't want.

    Trump just likes attention and this is his latest way of getting it. Some kids in Thailand were sucking up the news cycle, and since it involved freeing trapped children instead of his preferred policy of locking up babies, it was a double insult.

    A joint European force required to deter Russia would cost about 1% of E.U. GDP, if even that.

    Look at North Korea. They have thousands of weapons trained at Seoul, that will fire if their border is violated. It would be very cost effective for Europe to set up a similar deterrent with missiles all pointed at major Russian cities and a policy to fire them all off at once if Russian troops invade. A few nuclear submarines and for under $100B a massive and effective deterrent could be created.

    The U.S. MIC just wants Europe to spend more on their products, and Trump is running around being a well trained, if unwitting, poodle for them.

  80. [80] 
    neilm wrote:

    The GDP of the Baltic Republics is about $90B. A top of the line nuclear sub costs $2.5B. They could build a new sub every three years for a decade and have one each, relying on the first one and a joint pack in the interim.

    They could have a NATO like tripwire but tell any potential enemies that instead of costly tanks, etc they are just going to destroy them.

    If Trump wants to nuclearize the whole of Europe he is doing a great job.

    What a blithering idiot.

  81. [81] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    And, if we were talking about Nielsen, you would have an argument. But we're not, so you don't.. :D

    But my friend we are....Viewership means primarily television and cable with the addition of some streaming metrics. Nielsen is the undisputed authority on cable and television metrics and has been since before Reagan.

    Since you've already done your research you would know that right?

    Given the facts you have published and all of that...

  82. [82] 
    neilm wrote:

    Can you imagine all of the Balkan states, plus Greece, Turkey (you know Turkey will get nuclear weapons if Greece does) and Albania armed up with nuclear weapons?

    This is Trump's policy. What a complete clown.

  83. [83] 
    neilm wrote:

    GT [81] Stop confusing Michale with reality. This is a little playpen for his wild imagination, where he gets to claim he is the only reliable authority, and he gets to tell us what we'all think and say.

  84. [84] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,

    why do you keep writing "aboot?" you're from new jersey, not manitoba.

    JL

  85. [85] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet-
    two reasons.
    I told Liz I would stop if she encouraged CW to run my guest article and she didn't.

    I am practicing in case Trump sees one of my Trumpface videos and I have to leave the country.

    You never know if the new Supreme Court will decide that it's okay to lock somebody up retroactively or not.

  86. [86] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    @ Neilm- 83

    But I thought that's what Disqus was for....or maybe it is his right wing search engine.

  87. [87] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Neilm 79,80

    Excellent outside the box analysis. The Baltic States have pretty good ship building capacity, but it's probabably not up to building subs. Better to a take a hint from
    Israel and buy customized diesel boats from Germany. Buy sub launched cruise missles (Popeyes) from Israel, maybe the nuclear warheads too.

    Testing the system would probably be the biggest hurdle for for a confederation of small states with lots of neighbors, but it's not a show stopper. Again look to Israel for the model of deliberate ambiguity aka nuclear opacity.

    Electing an evill clown has consequences.

  88. [88] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,

    who says canada would take you, eh? mejor que practiques tu espanol.

    JL

  89. [89] 
    Michale wrote:

    GT,

    But my friend we are....Viewership means primarily television and cable with the addition of some streaming metrics.

    And if we were talking 20 years ago, once again, you would have a point.

    But we're not, so you don't.

    The simple fact is, President Trump's inauguration was the most viewed inauguration in the history of the country.

    I know, I know.. Ya'all hate to give the President props on ANYTHING..

    But the facts are the facts.. Which I would show you if I had even a passing hope that you would acknowledge them...

  90. [90] 
    Michale wrote:

    But my friend we are....Viewership means primarily television and cable with the addition of some streaming metrics.

    Of course, the FACTS say differently.. :D

    Nearly 60% of Americans are streaming and most with Netflix: CNBC survey
    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/29/nearly-60-percent-of-americans-are-streaming-and-most-with-netflix-cnbc-survey.html

  91. [91] 
    neilm wrote:

    Nearly 60% of Americans are streaming

    Yeah, I watch reruns of Obama's inauguration all the time and can't wait to watch the SCOTRUS senate hearing on Netflix. Netflix is my go-to for political events!

  92. [92] 
    Michale wrote:

    And ^^^ THAT is why I never bother to bring facts to the discussion.. Ya'all never acknowledge any facts that don't fit into ya'all's Party slavery agenda..

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