Mike Pompeo’s Masculine Meltdown

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a meltdown last night after he had earlier claimed the talks with North Korea were “productive” and made progress “on almost all of the central issues,” followed by North Korea’s blast at “unilateral and robber-like denuclearization demands as [complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID)], declaration and verification that go against the spirit of the North-U.S. summit meeting.”

Pompeo returned that if the US is behaving like a gangster, then so is the rest of the world, referring to United Nations resolutions that North Korea disarm. (One Korean speaker says that “robber” is a better translation than “gangster.”) He then went on to say that North Korea did not have an issue with CVID, directly contradicting North Korea’s statement of its position. He also went back to the importance of “maintaining maximum pressure” on North Korea, after Donald Trump had backed off from that phrase.

Pompeo’s response follows the pattern that many men follow when they are challenged by someone they feel should be subordinate.

“Oh yeah? You’ll be sorry you said that!”

“You really agree with me – admit it!”

“I’ll show you.”

The Trump administration’s approach to North Korea has been heavily father-inflected from the start. Vice President Mike Pence sternly stared across the DMZ to demonstrate American “resolve.” His rhetoric was that of a father to a disobedient child.

The easy assumption by the Trump administration that their “maximum pressure” in sanctions had brought Kim Jong Un around to a willingness to give up his nuclear weapons program is part of their belief in overweening masculinity as a way to force other people to one’s will. Consultation with their own experts in the State or Defense Departments would have told them that North Korea sees the nuclear weapons program as essential for its survival – not likely to be given up easily.

Despite expressions of that reality by experts through op-eds, white papers, and Twitter threads, Pompeo pressed forward with CVID, which has to look to the North Koreans like the demand for unilateral disarmament that it is. North Korea’s statement after Pompeo’s visit makes clear that they see a stepwise process, as they have advocated in the past, as the way to limiting their nuclear weapons program. And, shockingly to those alpha males, they expect US actions in return.

But shows of masculinity rule in this administration. Don’t expect them to study or understand that statement. They’ll keep grimacing in the belief that it makes a difference.

 

Top photo: ABC News

Pence Photo: CNN

 

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner.

 

129 replies
  1. 1

    […] Cross-posted to Balloon Juice. […]

  2. 2
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    Oh look. Assholes.

    ETA: edited for clarity

    ReplyReply
  3. 3
    sukabi says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch: “an asshole”? It’s assholes all the way down.

    ReplyReply
  4. 4
    sukabi says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch: and I can’t edit…grrrr. On mobile, still no edit function. 😠

    ReplyReply
  5. 5
    pat says:

    North Korea now holds all the cards.
    No more joint military exercises with South Korea, which actually cost less that has been spent on trump’s golfing trips, no compelling reason to stop their nuclear program, and all the alpha males in the white house can do is twitter impotently.

    ReplyReply
  6. 6
    Mike J says:

    One of the nuke guys on twitter said he thought attacking NK was off the table because Trump will never admit he’s a chump. Thoughts?

    ReplyReply
  7. 7
    Platonailedit says:

    Both the chinese and koreans played the ignorant twit and teabagger sos to the hilt. Putin must be so jealous.

    ReplyReply
  8. 8
    Brachiator says:

    Consultation with their own experts in the State or Defense Departments would have told them that North Korea sees the nuclear weapons program as essential for its survival

    Let me stop you right there. This is an administration that doesn’t believe in expertise or consultation.

    Also, these stories are unclear about the degree to which the foreign policy experts who took part in the Singapore summit, have been frozen out of subsequent talks.

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  9. 9
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Pompeo’s response follows the pattern that many men follow when they are challenged by someone they feel should be subordinate.

    More like what some teenage boy says rather than a mature adult. Christ on a shingle, what kind of parallel universe do these clowns live in that Pompeo’s never been challanged by somone? I am getting this vibe that the NK negotiators have the edge because they are all little people next to the Kim family and don’t assume anything and pay attention to details.

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  10. 10
    Teddys Person says:

    @Mike J: So, the only thing deterring nuclear war with North Korean is Dolt45’s inability to admit he’s wrong. This doesn’t leave me with the warm fuzzies.

    ReplyReply
  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    The takeaway I get from Pence’s expression is less ‘steely resolve’ and more ‘constipated’.

    ReplyReply
  12. 12
    Teddys Person says:

    @dmsilev: Or he’s concerned that Mother will find out about that one lunch he has with an unacompanied human of the female persausion.

    ReplyReply
  13. 13
    scav says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: There are a hell of a lot of greying teenagers in boardrooms and upper (or even middling to aspirational-level) management then.

    ReplyReply
  14. 14
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Mike J: That is what I think too. Trump has the shiny object before him of his meeting with Putin. His practice has always been to jump from one outrage/ spectacle/ noisemaker to the next.

    But I am concerned that foreign relations don’t go away like bad real estate deals do. Although if the North Korea story keeps coming up, he can always attribute it to FAKE NEWS.

    ReplyReply
  15. 15
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Platonailedit: Putin: Hold my vodka!

    ReplyReply
  16. 16
    JDM says:

    Why is it that for so many men (Pence and of course Trump are prime examples), their idea of a hyper-masculine tough look is exactly the look of a constipated child.

    ReplyReply
  17. 17
    rikyrah says:

    The title of this post😄😄😄

    ReplyReply
  18. 18
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Brachiator: Pompeo’s group included Sung Kim, a State Department expert. How much Pompeo listens to him is the question.

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  19. 19
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    nuclear weapons program is part of their belief in overweening masculinity as a way to force other people to one’s will.

    Maybe, but what do any of those clowns know about that? The king of the boys club there is Donald Trump, a germophobe, nothing says Conan the Barbarian than being terrified of being sick, draft dodging, hypersensitive to being made fun of by other men and paying women to have sex.

    ReplyReply
  20. 20
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @dmsilev: I prefer to think of Pence as the spiteful face of American Xian Fascism.

    ReplyReply
  21. 21
    Brachiator says:

    The other thing, of course, is that most countries now clearly understand that Trump is an empty suit who can easily be manipulated.

    Unfortunately, no one will say out loud that Trump is incompetent. Out of his depth. A moron when it comes to foreign policy. Unsafe to be left alone with US secrets.

    ReplyReply
  22. 22
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just take the organs in dispute out, measure and weigh, and settle this whole ” mine are bigger” question once and for all?
    I suspect the results would be none too impressive.

    ReplyReply
  23. 23
    Kelly says:

    @sukabi:

    “an asshole”? It’s assholes all the way down.

    Shouldn’t that be assholes all the way in?

    ReplyReply
  24. 24
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @sukabi: @sukabi: Heh, yeah, I realised that right after I posted; that’s why I edited it.

    Speaking for myself, I pretty much never try to comment from mobile. It’d be nice for it to work there I don’t doubt.

    Speaking as someone on the outside looking in (albeit from within the culture that understands yours like no other on earth; i.e. white anglo Canadians) the last couple of years have been very troubling indeed.

    ReplyReply
  25. 25
    nymofnyms says:

    @pat:

    No more joint military exercises with South Korea, which actually cost less that has been spent on trump’s golfing trips,

    I did not know that. Could you post a link so I can needle the needle-dicks I work with? They’ve just recently admitted that Trump indeed “golfs” more than Obummer over did. Using this metric to demonstrate just how much more will be sweet.

    ReplyReply
  26. 26
    MomSense says:

    I still remember all the times “even the liberal MSNBC” would have some Republican Congress critter or talking head on to bemoan how Obama should talk tough or be tough or some bullshit. They were never asked exactly what that meant. Now all these trump assholes think they just have to talk tough or threaten tough or something and that will magically lead to success.
    Talking tough doesn’t mean a damn thing as we are all seeing now. It’s often counterproductive if there are no good actions to take in support of the tough stance.
    This administration is a combination of the biggest assholes from the country club together with the dumbest assholes who watch Fox all day. And then there’s Under his eye Pence who is dumb but also, just a hunch, hiding some shit about which he feels some deep, fundy-Christian rooted self loathing. I can’t be the only person who senses that his manly man thing is performative. Trump is the epitome of toxic masculinity and Pence is trying to mimic it.

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    scav says:

    So cute. Pence has got his little name and description stitched to his shirt like a little kid with an overly nervously protective mother equipping him for his first experience of sleep-over camp. Otherwise no one else will recognise who he is and how precious and important he is.

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    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @nymofnyms:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea scrapped after President Donald Trump griped about “tremendously expensive” military drills would have cost around $14 million, U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday.

    ReplyReply
  29. 29
    pat says:

    @nymofnyms:

    Sorry, I don’t remember where I saw it. I bet Alan or Cheryl will know.

    Hey, what happened to my nym that I just provided a couple of minutes ago? Huh?

    ReplyReply
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    Tokyokie says:

    @MomSense: Teddy Roosevelt famously said speak softly and carry a big stick. Der Trumpenführer only manages to scream, with no club whatsoever.

    ReplyReply
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    MagdaInBlack says:

    @MomSense:
    It’s all “performative display.” In no way do these “men” exude any sense of self confidence. They’re all afraid of their own shadows.

    ReplyReply
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    Platonailedit says:

    @scav: That they had to include tags like first lady, vice president and president shows how insecure these cowardly bullies are.

    ReplyReply
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    patrick II says:

    @Platonailedit:

    Putin must be so jealous.

    Putin’s not jealous at all. He was in on the game. It is Putin’s excess rocket engines that power Kim Jong Un’s missles, it was Putin who suggested to Trump that he cancel military exercises. China, N Korea, Russia all played their part. It’s called teamwork and its the basic reason Trump’s one on one negotiating strategy will not work. North Korea has allies, and as the lone and in this case unusually stupid bully might eventually figure out, unless you are Bruce Lee, when its ten to one against you, you lose.

    ReplyReply
  34. 34

    This reinforces a feeling I’ve had since the 2016 GOP primaries: displays of overweening masculinity work on *them*, it is actually a successful strategy within the GOP. Even if it occurred to them to act any other way in foreign policy, they can’t because it would make them look “weak” and like “losers” to their base and their friends.

    ReplyReply
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    Mandalay says:

    How’s that return-the-remains thingy working out for ya?…

    At a June 20 rally in Duluth, Minnesota, Trump said, “We got back our great fallen heroes, the remains sent back today, already 200 got sent back.

    At a Cabinet meeting the next day, Trump said that he understood “that they’ve already sent back or are in the process of sending back the remains of our great heroes who died in North Korea during the war.”

    But on June 28, Pompeo told the Senate Appropriations Committee, “We have not yet physically received them.”

    First Trump was left looking like an complete idiot, and now Pompeo.

    The Administration has gained absolutely nothing in their dealings with North Korea. Nothing.

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  37. 37
    Brachiator says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Pompeo’s group included Sung Kim, a State Department expert. How much Pompeo listens to him is the question.

    That Sung Kim is still in place is good. That the foreign policy team could not anticipate or blunt North Korea’s return to its standard belligerent stance is very bad.

    Worse is that Trump cannot admit that he has been outplayed, and pretends that he is still king of the world.

    From an earlier NBC story:

    This dissonance between fact and fancy was made clear earlier this week. After NBC News first reported that Pyongyang was in fact expanding elements of its weapons program, the president tweeted, “Many good conversations with North Korea — It is going well!” He added: “If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!”

    Where do we go from here in the light of delusions and incompetence?

    ReplyReply
  38. 38
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I realize pointing out inconsistencies is as useless with him as with his supporters, but this constant shopkeeper bitching about the cost of military options comes from the man who constantly brags about an increased military budget as if stacks of cash were keeping Radical Moose-Lambs from sweeping south out of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

    I think like a lot of people who stumbled into the tarpit of this administration, Pompeo (First in his class at West Point!) figured he was the guy who was gonna manage trump no matter what he did, and believed a lot of simplistic press about KJU being a simple-minded man-child. I’m not suggesting he’s a mastermind, much less a statesman, but from what I understand everything he’s doing is straight out of the NORK (family) playbook of the last half century, with an ego-boosting summit thrown in by a superficial, photo-op obsessed buffoon that everyone knows is easily manipulated.

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  39. 39
    Another Scott says:

    I’m in the mood to see the bright side in this outcome.

    1) There’s no more “rocketman” and “fire and fury” talk coming out of Trump. He’s no longer threatening them with nuclear annihilation.

    2) Kim and the DPRK isn’t talking about raining nuclear weapons down on the US nor our allies, either.

    3) Kim has, as of yet, not received any (known) material rewards. The China and Russia borders may be more porous now, but they were pretty porous before. Actual agreements are going to have to be constructed before Japan and ROK and other neighbors are going to be willing to reward Kim in any meaningful way.

    4) The continued failure of Donnie’s and Mike’s approach on this (cutting out the middle man, making a “deal” rather than a carefully constructed agreement with timelines and details and carefully constructed verification mechanisms) shows anyone paying attention that “handshake deals” and signing ambiguous documents aren’t sufficient. It will be a marker for the future.

    So, yeah, Mike’s failure is obvious.

    But it still beats nuclear war.

    My $0.02.

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

    ReplyReply
  40. 40
    sukabi says:

    @Teddys Person: those aren’t the lunches she should be worried about. He looks like he’s got closet burns.

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    Mandalay says:

    Pompeo returned that if the US is behaving like a gangster, then so is the rest of the world, referring to United Nations resolutions that North Korea disarm.

    This Administration loathes the UN with the heat of a thousand suns, but shamelessly cites them as a moral authority when it’s convenient.

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  42. 42
    Tokyokie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I’m afraid that although all of our foreign rivals know der Trumpenführer is easily manipulated, our domestic rivals think that he’s a tip-top negotiator and the world’s greatest businessman.

    ReplyReply
  43. 43
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @nymofnyms:

    I saw it at Hullabaloo earlier:

    https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/07/lie-of-year.html?m=1

    Unfortunately (as is so often the case with her), Digby neglected to provide a link.

    ReplyReply
  44. 44
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Tokyokie: oh yeah. He’s “finally getting tough”. I’ve heard it at least ten times in the last four days on subjects from immigration to trade. A lobster fisherman who’s getting screwed by tariffs and rising gas prices (and I imagine global warming thought I’m sure he doesn’t believe that) is glad that at least someone is “getting tough” with China.

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  45. 45
    cmorenc says:

    @Brachiator:

    This is an administration that doesn’t believe in expertise or consultation.

    Because real men shoot from the hip and knock their target dead with one shot, whereas wimpy men dither and timidly defer to consultation with experts. And real men are never wrong, whereas wimpy men see so many sides to everything that they tie themselves up in knots doing nothing.

    Real men look in the mirror and see Chuck Norris staring back, thinking he’s real and not just fiction script-written to whup ass.

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  46. 46
    sukabi says:

    @nymofnyms: take your pick of links from this Google search.

    ReplyReply
  47. 47
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Trump has been to Mar-a-Lago 17 times, for a grand total of $17 million in flight and protection costs.

    I imagine Bedminster costs just as much, Manhattan costs more, and the Secret Service (wish they had a different acronym) has to pay him to rent golf carts to follow him around the one in VA.

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  48. 48

    @scav: He is missing a hanky pinned to jacket with a safety pin, to wipe his nose.

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    Thoughtful David says:

    I have a different expectation on how this will go with NK.

    A significant fraction of Trumpanzees support him because he’s The World’s Best Negotiator. So Trump can’t be seen being beaten, and the US has no good options now and precious little chance of pulling out a “win.”

    What he’ll try to do is just ignore NK altogether. It will be as if he and Kim never met, Pompeo never want over, nothing. He’ll hope the whole thing will just go away, so the Trumpanzees don’t notice the failure. That’s basically what he’s doing now–off on something else with Russia.

    It won’t work, though, of course, because NK doesn’t want it to work. They’ll do something provocative that will bring the issue back into the spotlight. Then it will get ugly, because Trump will have to respond.

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    Tom Levenson says:

    @dmsilev: Exactly my reaction.

    ReplyReply
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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    Let’s see how long that attitude lasts when he’s losing his fishing business and still has bills to pay. Reality has a funny way of catching up to people.

    ReplyReply
  52. 52
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Mandalay: According to the North Korean statement, they see discussions about returning remains as a starting point for discussing what the US action will be in response.

    This is not an unreasonable position. North Korea makes a gesture, the US is expected to make a gesture back, and vice versa. That’s how most negotiations go.

    ReplyReply
  53. 53
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Another Scott: I don’t disagree, but would like to point out that when we are judging outcomes as being better than nuclear war, we are in a bad place.

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  54. 54
    Mandalay says:

    @patrick II:

    Putin’s not jealous at all. He was in on the game. It is Putin’s excess rocket engines that power Kim Jong Un’s missles, it was Putin who suggested to Trump that he cancel military exercises.

    This.

    And Putin ignores the sanctions against North Korea, as does China. It’s all an open secret. The notion that Trump talking to North Korea is going to solve – or even change – anything is infantile.

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  55. 55
    oldgold says:

    Pompeo perplexes me. He graduated number one from West Point and did very well at Harvard Law School.

    These academic achievements indictate a keen intellect. Yet, in his public political life, he appears to be a damn dolt.

    ReplyReply
  56. 56
    p.a. says:

    I’ve said this before: I would love to see allies’ and/or enemies’ foreign and intelligence service evals of Trump leaked, and watch the wingnuts’ response.

    ReplyReply
  57. 57
    Brachiator says:

    @cmorenc:

    Because real men shoot from the hip and knock their target dead with one shot, whereas wimpy men dither and timidly defer to consultation with experts.

    No, because Trump is an egotistical man baby who is fueled by his resentments and his insecurities.

    Trump only plays at being a man (or a human being) and surrounds himself with people who are as bad as he is.

    ReplyReply
  58. 58
    Mandalay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    North Korea makes a gesture, the US is expected to make a gesture back, and vice versa. That’s how most negotiations go.

    But that specifically did not occur. North Korea made the gesture of offering to return the remains and then Trump absurdly lied that the return of some remains had taken place when absolutely nothing had happened.

    ReplyReply
  59. 59
    Baud says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: We’re in a bad place.

    ReplyReply
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    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @oldgold: I’ve got my problems with just about all of them, but the list of people who have (I believe) thought they could manage trump because he’s stupid and they’re smart is a pretty accomplished group: Tillerson, McMaster, Mnuchin, Chris Christie, Cohn, Teresa May, Macron, Trudeau, Shinzo Abe. I suspect Lindsey Graham belongs somewhere on the list, but what he’s “accomplished” is being John McCain’s sidekick and Village media darling. They failed and are failing because they ultimately wanted to make trump do things he didn’t want to do. Putin, and to some extent McConnell, find things they both want trump do.

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  61. 61
    Ruckus says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:
    Your quote says it all, they expect respect. Any respect they have ever had was there because of their supposed position/power. They have taken jobs that the only respect they can ever have, they have to earn. And they have zero idea/understanding of how to earn that. None, zip, nada, никто

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  62. 62
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @oldgold: That’s probably just his his character showing. There are lots of highly intelligent people with significant character flaws, frequently accompanied by major blind spots when it comes to self reflection and ethical behavior.

    ReplyReply
  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @oldgold:

    Racism makes even the smartest people act like morons, because it’s the only way to maintain their facade of natural superiority. Pompeo has to treat the North Koreans like unruly children needing a strong daddy because that’s what his ideology tells him that they are. He’s incapable of changing his tactics to more rational ones because his tactics are grounded in ideology and emotion, not facts.

    Also, since Pompeo did well at West Point and Harvard, two institutions that reward loyalty and adherence to tradition, he probably strongly values those things and doesn’t have much ability to adapt to new and/or changing circumstances.

    ReplyReply
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    MJS says:

    @oldgold:As someone on this site routinely and correctly points out, the curve for mediocre white men is real.

    ReplyReply
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    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Mandalay: That was a bit of shorthand on my part. Let me clarify.

    The way North Korea sees the negotiation is that they offer to return the remains. Then they expect the US to offer something up, maybe joint exercises with South Korea, although Trump already gave that away. Then they actually do what they’ve offered.

    Then they move on to the next step, perhaps demolishing a missile test stand, and the US offers something else, like B-1 overflights of South Korea.

    That’s called confidence-building, and it’s the way a great many treaties and agreements have been negotiated. Each side needs to know that the other is going in the right direction and that they will keep their word.

    North Korea wants to move up to a peace treaty. At that point, they’ll start thinking about putting caps on their fissile material production and maybe letting inspectors in.

    The US wants them to list all their nuclear weapons sites and give a timetable for destroying them for nothing in return.

    See the mismatch?

    ReplyReply
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    Ruckus says:

    @JDM:
    SATSQ
    They are full of shit. we

    ReplyReply
  67. 67
    Ruckus says:

    Help, in moderation!!!

    ReplyReply
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    Corner Stone says:

    @p.a.:

    I would love to see allies’ and/or enemies’ foreign and intelligence service evals of Trump leaked, and watch the wingnuts’ response.

    That would be fun. But what I actually want more, to the point of craving, is for our “Allied Leaders” to state on record what a complete blithering buffoon Trump is. How Trump is like a baby that can’t remember where he lost his binky.
    Not on reporter background. At a podium somewhere. That is my dream.

    ReplyReply
  69. 69
    jacy says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    I would think you’re right. NK is just going to cease to exist for Trump. That’s over and done — he did it, right? He’s not going to face it unless he is forced to. He’ll just keep saying on the stump that he denuked NK, and his cultists will believe it. I’m not sure how NK responds to that. Maybe they already got everything they wanted, i.e. made equals on the world stage. Or maybe Pompeo or Pence says something stupid, and they have to shoot off a few missiles to prove that they’re not pushovers. I think that’s probably where we end up.

    ReplyReply
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    boatboy_srq says:

    This is what happens when foreign powers put Queens mafia wiseguys in the WH.

    ReplyReply
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    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    One of the things that people underestimate at their peril when dealing with a narcissist is how much of the narcissist’s behavior is driven by the need to be in control of every situation and every person in their orbit at all times. Even dumb narcissists have an instinct for when other people are trying to control or manipulate them (because narcissists are themselves master manipulators) and will react violently.

    As McConnell and Putin have figured out, the only way to manipulate a narcissist is by encouraging them to do what they want to do anyway.

    ReplyReply
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    boatboy_srq says:

    @Thoughtful David: DPRK ain’t Trump University, or Trump Steaks, or any other failed enterprise that Lord Dampnut inflicted his moniker upon. But of course he doesn’t realise that yet.

    ReplyReply
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    NotMax says:

    It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

    Applies to Dolt 45, to Pompeo, to [fill in the blank with any of them involved in DPRK ‘policy.’]

    ReplyReply
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    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: By some definition of “accomplished” I guess Tillerson has to be listed but IMO the man is a blithering idiot. He started at Exxon as the proverbial mailroom boy and just survived 43 years to become CEO. It’s not hard to run a profitable oil business when the USG gives you billions in subsidies and kills foreign leaders who won’t let you drill where you want. As for Mnuchin, the guy is about as morally and ethically bankrupt as you can get so I doubt he ever had designs on controlling Trump.

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    boatboy_srq says:

    @Mandalay: I still want to know who the parents are that Lord Dampnut assured would get their kids’ bodies back. Because the average age of a Korea veteran is somewhere north of 80 and US life expectancies aren’t all that.

    ReplyReply
  76. 76
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    OT: I want to put my internet quatloos on Thomas Hardimann as trump’s ultimate SC pick, under the Big Simpleton’s “central casting” qualification. Kavanagh has too much Bush history, and looks too young. Coney is the biggest troll for Dems (her strongest qualification in his mind, I’m sure), but, trump’s own sister notwithstanding, girls can’t be judges!

    Somebody on MSNBC just said Hardimann serves on the same court with Maryanne Trump Berry: I thought I had read that she was incapacitated?

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    NotMax says:

    BTW, nothing intrinsically wrong with being masculne. A more apt term, IMHO, is hyper-masculinity.

    ReplyReply
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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Putin and McConnell just happen to be lucky that what Trump wanted already happens to be things they want as well. Otherwise, unless Putin has something on him, he’d be just as SOL as everyone else.

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    MagdaInBlack says:

    @NotMax:
    They strike me a caricatures of masculinity.

    ETA: Who defines “masculinity” anyway” Who decides? Is there a rule book somewhere?

    ReplyReply
  83. 83
    patrick II says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Even dumb narcissists have an instinct for when other people are trying to control or manipulate them (because narcissists are themselves master manipulators) and will react violently.

    As McConnell and Putin have figured out, the only way to manipulate a narcissist is by encouraging them to do what they want to do anyway.

    I think there needs to be an exception carved out for Putin, Xi, and Kim who are leading Trump around by the nose, but not to places Trump should want to go.

    ReplyReply
  84. 84
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Teddys Person: Well, it’s a pretty strong deterrent. Right after he announced “peace in our time” and was getting all psyched up for his Nobel Prize and all.

    ReplyReply
  85. 85
    NotMax says:

    @MagdaInBlack

    Caricature is an excellent descriptor.

    As to your final question, that would be telling.    :)

    ReplyReply
  86. 86
    Mandalay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    North Korea wants to move up to a peace treaty. At that point, they’ll start thinking about putting caps on their fissile material production and maybe letting inspectors in.

    Well that’s where we part company. As things stand I do not believe for a moment that North Korea has the slightest intention of giving up its nuclear weapons program, no matter what rosy prospects might seem to emerge from talks.

    South Africa ended its nuclear weapons program without adverse consequences, but I can’t come up with a second example, and Iran’s current plight should be a massive red flag to North Korea (i.e. You cannot trust the other party to honor an agreement). North Korea has no incentive to end its nuclear program, and every incentive to continue it. There is nothing Trump alone can offer. The only way I see things changing is if Russia and China stop assisting North Korea behind the scenes, or some form of reunification with South Korea takes place.

    ReplyReply
  87. 87
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Mandalay: What I’m talking about is years in the future.

    ReplyReply
  88. 88
    Kay says:

    I love this title, Cheryl.

    Those two words aren’t put together enough :)

    ReplyReply
  89. 89
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @NotMax:
    ….and then you’d lose your Man Card !
    ☺️

    ReplyReply
  90. 90
    kindness says:

    Look at how the SOS portrayed it originally, optics mattered more than reality. What I find odd is the big boys in the Trump admin didn’t expect N. Korea to publicly call them on their bs. I mean, Of Course N. Korea is going to expose you. Jesus……we are led by the socially deficient section of the mentally challenged.

    ReplyReply
  91. 91
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Mandalay:

    The only way I see things changing is if Russia and China stop assisting North Korea</blockquote

    Isn't this extremely irresponsible on their parts? Aren't they worried they worried their actions could trigger a nuclear war?

    Oh wait, what I am saying? I can't speak for China, but Putin is the same dude who thought helping place Trump in charge of the most powerful nation on Earth with the largest nuclear arsenal was a dandy idea. These aren't people who give a shit about silly, "western" things like the "future of humanity" or the "greater good". Only their own power.

    ReplyReply
  92. 92
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Not a big Cornell West fan, but his interview with Tucker re Democratic Socialism is interesting.

    ReplyReply
  93. 93
    Calouste says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Beijing is close enough to North Korea that they will worry about nuclear fall out. I doubt Putin really cares about Vladivostok.

    ReplyReply
  94. 94
    p.a. says:

    Remember when the Clinton Admin had an imperfect but operable agreement on keeping NK out of the bomb club? And which party fucked it up? (3 guesses, last 2 don’t count.

    ReplyReply
  95. 95
    gene108 says:

    @Platonailedit:

    Both the chinese and koreans played the ignorant twit and teabagger sos to the hilt. Putin must be so jealous.

    Dude, in a week, Putin’s gonna show his neighbors how playing Trump as a chump is really done. And then who’s going to be jealous? The Koreans and Chinese don’t have a pee-pee tape of Trump, unlike Putin, that we know of….

    ReplyReply
  96. 96
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @MagdaInBlack: Cornell West and Tucker Carlson?

    ReplyReply
  97. 97
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    Yeah! Picture Tuckers usual perplexed expression. Abstract concepts not his strong suit.

    ReplyReply
  98. 98
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: That house negro with a PhD is dead to me.

    ReplyReply
  99. 99
    John Griffone says:

    It’s easy to forget because Trump is such an incompetent moron that he’s mostly implementing standard, long-standing Conservative foreign policy doctrine, which has failed over and over for the last 70 years. Even the one thing Conservatives insist was their biggest win, the fall of the Soviet Union, was an inevitable result of inherent flaws in the Soviet system, and not of Reagan’s laughable tough guy routine. Conservatives are the reason we are despised in the poorest parts of the world because of their exploitation mindset and disregard for potential blow-back from reckless use of force. Trump is awful, but he’s just the latest in a long line of incompetent Conservative bullies destroying our international reputation.

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  100. 100
    PST says:

    It is revolting to think of the return of remains as either a victory or as a concession that requires a response. First, if NK has 200 bodies, the Kims must have been stockpiling corpses for generations as bargaining chips. How loathsome to reward that! Second, the Korean War ended 65 years ago. The parents of the dead are themselves dead. Any spouse is ancient. Any child old enough to remember the decedent would be in his or her seventies, at least, having grown up and grown old in the intervening years. I wonder whether even one living person deriving comfort from this return even if it actually takes place.

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  101. 101
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @PST:
    Its just a bone he’s latched on to, a shiny thing to wave. It gets a visceral response from his base. Nothing more to it.
    And since his “base” does not think, they only react, of course they don’t think it through. Critical thinking is not an asset.
    He loves the poorly educated

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  102. 102
    J R in WV says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    …Pompeo did well at West Point and Harvard…

    This fact does not make me respect Pompeo more, it makes me respect West Point and Harvard less, way less.

    In fact it makes me wonder if Pompeo sucked up to everyone available to be sucked up to, and got special treatment as a friend of teachers everywhere. He doesn’t look or act like a smart guy. Watching him leaving the conference room with the DPRK negotiators, he didn’t even pause to shake hands with the other guy, who had to bump him to get him to stop for the traditional handshake. He looked like a bumbling fool.

    How stupid is that? How NOT smart is that? To not even be able to act smart……

    ReplyReply
  103. 103
    J R in WV says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    This is what happens when foreign powers put Queens mafia wiseguys tools in the WH.

    Fixed that up a little for ya! Too much a coward to be a wiseguy, he’s just a tool.

    ReplyReply
  104. 104
    jl says:

    Having sort of followed NK strategy and tactics in previous rounds of this kind of negotiation, I wondered, before the big showtime Trump summit with Kim, whether Trump and the Trumpsters were such ignorant and arrogant dolts, as to turn it into such a humiliating circus. I thought it would be too much to expect even of them. So, now I have to note down another time I’ve been wrong on politics.

    As long as Trump thinks he can milk more good PR out of a fake diplomatic victory, that might keep the world away from another war scare on the Korean peninsula. Let’s hope our luck holds out.

    As for Pence, he looks like he’s sitting, very constipated, on an outdoor privy. Or maybe a very dim very frustrated close primate relative to us, who can’t figure out what the heck is going on with that swaying piece of ripe fruit, just out of reach. At least, those are the civil things that come to my mind.

    ReplyReply
  105. 105
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @J R in WV:
    They’re all such social clods, it has to be sucking up and kicking down. That being said, highly intelligent and highly educated do not necessarily go hand in hand. One can regurgitate what appears to be intelligent thought, with out actually understanding the concepts.
    Theres an “abstract thought” deficiency factor involved.
    Again.
    On the other hand, what passes for intelligence, in this administration, is a pretty low bar.

    ETA : Yes, it certainly does make me question those institutions

    ReplyReply
  106. 106
    Matt says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: My guess: he’ll still be 100% behind his orange messiah, even when he loses his business, his home, and everything else. Fuck, he’ll probably be MOAR enthused.

    ReplyReply
  107. 107
    Teddys Person says:

    @PST: It’s something Repubs can do to look like they are supporting the troops wihtout, you know, actually supporting the troops. Now, back to privatizing the VA.

    ReplyReply
  108. 108
    Teddys Person says:

    @Teddys Person: Crap can’t edit typos.

    ReplyReply
  109. 109
    gene108 says:

    @Mandalay:

    This Administration loathes the UN with the heat of a thousand suns, but shamelessly cites them as a moral authority when it’s convenient.

    Republicans loathe the U.N. with a heat of one billions suns. Doesn’t matter, which Republican it is. They all hate the U.N.

    “Get us out of the U.N.” was a big rallying cry on the Right, when Bush, Jr. was running for President. When Jesse Helms became chairman of the Foreign Relations committee in the Senate, in 1999, he held up our required funding to the U.N., because reasons.

    Unilateral dick waving, throwing our military around any damn way we want to get the rest of the world in-line, seems to be the default Republican position, since the 1990’s, and the Project for a New American Century started writing about overthrowing Saddam Hussein and bringing democracy to Iraq.

    ReplyReply
  110. 110
    Ruckus says:

    @Mandalay:
    It’s not just that they didn’t get anything out of their bullshit, it’s that they showed how big of jackasses they really are, how easy it is to play them. They dropped their pants and showed exactly who they are. They think they did well. The rest of the world now knows with out a doubt, they were just standing there pantless.

    ReplyReply
  111. 111
    jl says:

    Off topic, but is there a way we can get James Madison or Alexander Hamilton booked on Snufulpugoloops’ show? Though the clip doesn’t last long enough to see Snufflgoops’ reaction. It doesn’t look like he’s going to laugh, which is not promising.

    @evanmcmurry
    Alan Dershowitz to @GStephanopoulos: “You cannot question a president’s motives when the president acts. If a president pardons, that’s it. If a president fires, that’s it. You can’t go beyond an act and get into his motive or into his intent.” #ThisWeek
    https://twitter.com/evanmcmurry/status/1015950883178201091

    ReplyReply
  112. 112
    Ruckus says:

    @Another Scott:
    That we will not have a nuclear war is not guaranteed, not in any way.
    I see that it is exactly the opposite. drumpf has actually taken the safer option off his table. By weakening himself he’s removed a lot of options that a person of any intelligence could use. His desire to be taken as the strongest leader could cause him to escalate. The only possible saving grace here is that he is a massive chickenshit. That may also be his greatest deficit.

    ReplyReply
  113. 113
    J R in WV says:

    @Ruckus:

    The rest of the world now knows with out a doubt, they were just standing there pantless.

    OMG, you cast the darkest most wonderful shade!!

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    And you do also, sir!! Thanks for your unique perspective on today’s MSM interviews!

    ReplyReply
  114. 114
    Teddys Person says:

    @jl: Zombie Alex could challenge him to a duel ;- )

    ReplyReply
  115. 115
    cmorenc says:

    @Brachiator:

    @cmorenc:

    Because real men shoot from the hip and knock their target dead with one shot, whereas wimpy men dither and timidly defer to consultation with experts.

    No, because Trump is an egotistical man baby who is fueled by his resentments and his insecurities.

    Trump only plays at being a man (or a human being) and surrounds himself with people who are as bad as he is.

    In reading my post, you should’ve taken the left turn at sarcasm. Instead of barreling straight along the road to reading it literally.
    :=)

    Read in proper light, my original comments agree with your comments completely. Except I would’ve described Trump as “egotistical man toddler” instead of baby, but let’s not quibble over such small differences.

    ReplyReply
  116. 116
    jonas says:

    @Teddys Person: Trump will just turn on the ol’ patented gaslighting machine that seems to work so well on his base and the MSM and act like was never conciliatory towards Kim, had always treated their summit with suspicion, didn’t take anything the NKs said seriously, and never signed an agreement.

    ReplyReply
  117. 117
    Brachiator says:

    @cmorenc:

    In reading my post, you should’ve taken the left turn at sarcasm.

    I caught the sarcasm. There are many ways to describe Trump’s infantile way of doing things.

    I can’t edit on my mobile browser, so I couldn’t add that we obviously agree more than disagree.

    ReplyReply
  118. 118
    Aleta says:

    when they are challenged by someone they feel should be subordinate.

    The military, wealth and the mob are the influences that taught Trump how to operate the world. All three are structured by status and threatened if it doesn’t stay in place. “Submit to what I say because of my title/wealth/power.” “Agree, or shut up, or I’ll hurt you.” On the one hand we’re taught by culture and beat-downs to admire or defer to that posturing. On the other the postures display how threatened one is, how inflexible (limited) one’s range. So Trump chooses generals and wealthy men instead of stateswo/men and learners. He believes learning from someone means losing the upper hand.

    Pres and Michelle Obama showed as many children as possible a different way of being in the world, and I have a lot of faith in the effects of that.

    ReplyReply
  119. 119
    SRW1 says:

    Maybe Pence should practice his death stare on Mother. He’ll know it works once she gives in: ” OK, Mike, have a lolly before dinner.”

    ReplyReply
  120. 120
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Aleta: Donald’s military “experience” is limited to a cosplay high school.

    ReplyReply
  121. 121
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jl:

    The fact that the ghosts of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton have not materialized to kick the asses of the people who founded and are members of the Federalist Society is sufficient proof for me that vengeful ghosts do not exist.

    ReplyReply
  122. 122
    Aleta says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Good word for it.

    ReplyReply
  123. 123
    Ruckus says:

    @MagdaInBlack:
    There is no rulebook. Other than don’t act like an entitled dick. Or act with your dick. Notice that the little brain should not be in charge.
    So while there is no book, there are actually some rules. The problem is that some don’t have the sense to think before acting like a dick. Of course some are actually incapable of not thinking like a dick or not thinking with it.

    ReplyReply
  124. 124
    boatboy_srq says:

    @J R in WV: Lord Dampnut the Mob Patsy. Now there’s an image.

    ReplyReply
  125. 125
    boatboy_srq says:

    @gene108: Rethugs hate the UN because it (theoretically) holds nations accountable for their skulkduggery. Also because it (actually) makes an effort to help Those Other People®. And all because of Murikan ‘Cepshunulism.

    Too many have fond feelings for how Harding and Congress yanked the US out of the League of Nations and think they can do the same with the UN.

    ReplyReply
  126. 126
    DissidentFish says:

    @patrick II:

    unless you are Bruce Lee, when its ten to one against you

    Bruce Lee had allies. What about John Savage? And Jim Kelly, what is he, chopped liver? (Oh, too soon?)

    ReplyReply
  127. 127
    Procopius says:

    @pat: Oh, come on, you don’t really think the U.S. is going to keep that promise, do you? The way it works, the U.S. promises something, and then says it’s a bad deal and reneges on their promise. It’s too bad McConnell succeeded in blocking almost everything Obama tried to do, because it would have been greatly to America’s, and the World’s, advantage to have made the Iran Nuclear Deal a treaty. Trump’s withdrawal is a blunder, and is going to cost us bigly in the future. It also shows that America’s word cannot be relied on, so diplomacy is not going to be a very useful tool for a long time to come.

    ReplyReply
  128. 128
    Procopius says:

    @Mike J: I sure hope attacking NK is off the table because it would destroy the entire world economy. Both South Korea and Japan are vital transportation hubs. If they get interrupted supply chains to both America and Europe are cut. It would take (many?) years to establish new shipping routes. That’s aside from the casualties and facilities destroyed, which will depend on whether or not nukes are used.

    ReplyReply
  129. 129
    Procopius says:

    @Mandalay:

    The Administration has gained absolutely nothing in their dealings with North Korea. Nothing.

    Well, we haven’t lost anything, either. We’re no worse off than before. Trump wanted to cancel the military exercises anyway — their cost could pay for 24 golf trips to his properties — and his promise is worth as much as any of his contracts for construction on his properties. The North and South Koreans are back in communication (temporarily, I’m afraid), and we really are no worse off than before. I am annoyed that so much energy is wasted complaining about an utterly trivial display of incompetence.

    ReplyReply

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