Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see South Korea’s president say North Korea is ready to give up nukes with no conditions, but wonder whether this is yet another ruse from Pyongyang. They also wonder why 175,000 Starbucks employees need racial sensitivity training because of a high-profile controversy at one franchise. And Jim has the perfect charity in mind for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio after tax returns show the mayor and his wife donated just $350 to charity in 2017.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America look at the possible pros and cons of President Trump meeting face-to-face with Kim Jong-Un, hoping there’s a shot at progress but realizing the North Koreans have no track record of honesty. They also fume as radio chatter from the Florida high school shooting confirms Deputy Scot Peterson knew right away that shots were being fired inside the building, a direct contradiction of his earlier explanation that he did not enter the building because he thought the shots were coming from outside. And they celebrate a robust jobs report, with over 300,000 new jobs added in February.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton says North Korea has no intention of scrapping its nuclear program, is trying to sucker the United States into relaxing sanctions, and is now just months away from being able to deploy nuclear weapons capable of reaching any point in the United States.
Earlier this week, South Korea trumpeted the news that North Korea is allegedly willing to suspend nuclear testing in exchange for direct talks with the United States and may even be open to ending its nuclear program altogether.
Bolton doesn’t believe a word of it.
“The North Koreans have been conducting an absolutely masterful propaganda campaign, beginning with their participation in the Winter Olympics,” said Bolton.
But he says the true objective is clear.
“The only thing they’re trying to do is get us to abandon the pressure that we’re putting on them and hopefully foreswear the possible use of military force, which nobody wants but nobody wants North Korea with nuclear weapons either. That’s what this is about,” said Bolton.
Bolton says the North Koreans are on the verge of posing a very real danger to every part of the United States.
“They are very close to achieving their long-sought objective of deliverable nuclear weapons. CIA Director Mike Pompeo said recently that the North was within a “handful” of months – his phrase, a handful of months – of being able to land a thermonuclear weapon on any target in the United States they want,” said Bolton.
However, Bolton says this is not merely a distraction to buy time. He believes the big stick approach from the Trump administration is working.
“I think the North, finally figuring out that Barack Obama is no longer president, is worried about what Donald Trump might do. So their response is to throw up a lot of smoke and dust in the air and hope to divert our attention, first with the Olympics and now with this supposed offer to sit down,” said Bolton.
Bolton is adamant that North Korea has zero interest in actually making nice with the U.S. or South Korea and says the proof can be seen in our recent history.
“They’ve made commitments four separate times in international agreements to give up their nuclear weapons program.
“Four times they’ve lied about it. Does history ever mean anything? If you’ve negotiated with somebody for 25 years and failed to get agreement, what possible reason is there to think they’d agree in year 26,” said Bolton.
So what will deter North Korea? Bolton says we’re facing a series of difficult options. He outright rejects former National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s recommendation for the world simply to accept North Korea as a nuclear power, but hopes the solutions can come through engagement with China.
“There’s really only one diplomatic play left here and that’s trying to convince China either to do what they uniquely have the capability of doing, overthrowing the regime in North Korea and putting in something that’s at least vaguely more reasonable, or working with us for the reunification of the Korean peninsula,” said Bolton.
And while he hopes to avoid it, Bolton says the military option must be considered.
“The other things we have to look at is the potential to use military force against the regime’s program to make sure that they don’t endanger us and our allies in South Korea and Japan. Neither of these options is very attractive, but that’s where we are after 25 years of failure,” said Bolton.
But one of those allies is also contributing to the problem. South Korean President Moon Jae-in is a strong advocate of reunification with North Korea and Bolton says Moon is actually strengthening the regime that wants to conquer him.
“There’s a compassionate, humanitarian argument here. Many South Koreans have family in the North. But the fact is the North is a 25 million-person prison camp. It’s not going to treat its people humanely. It’s going to take the subsidies and use them for its own purposes,” said Bolton.
He says South Korea’s generosity was fully exploited by North Korea at the Winter Olympics.
“South Korea actually paid for the North to participate, one more series of subsidies to keep the Kim Jong-Un regime in power, unfortunately by our allies in Seoul,” said Bolton.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America very warily approach the reports of North Korea supposedly being willing to scrap its nuclear program in exchange for security guarantees. While fully aware that Kim Jong-Un may only be looking to bait us or stall for time, they are hopeful that the tougher approach from the Trump administration is starting to pay off. They also wince as Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri emerges in a new video urging jihadists to stop fighting with each other and focus on a common enemy. And they react with bemusement and concern as former Trump campaign official Sam Nunberg appears on several cable news shows to announce he is defying the subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, only to later admit he will probably cooperate.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome the retirement of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and give him credit for the things he’s done well, and while they like Mitt Romney, they wonder if Utah is missing out on a younger and more conservative replacement for Hatch. They also slam President Trump for his childish tweet about having a bigger nuclear button than Kim Jong-Un. And they react to Steve Bannon unloading on his former White House rivals and accusing Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort of treason.
Update: Since this recording, Trump has responded to Bannon. “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” reads part of the statement. Trump also accuses Bannon of leaking extensively during his time in office.
David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see Kim Jong-Un has publicly back down from his threats to fire missiles towards Guam and discuss whether some new blunt talk from Defense Secretary James Mattis made the decision an easy one. David rejects the push by the left and some on the right to move or remove Confederate memorials and statues and instead proposes more memorials to honor Union, slave, and free black figures from the war to provide more context. And they roll their eyes as an ESPN commentator says he hopes a positive outcome from Charlottesville will be Colin Kaepernick getting a job in the NFL again.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo for pointing out that nuclear threats from North Korea are no big news for the tiny island, and that Americans there should go about their business as they would on any other day. However, Jim and Greg still have some reservations about the idea of North Korea firing missiles designed to land just 20 miles off Guam’s shores. And they throw up their hands in reaction to a new survey showing that more than half of Republicans would support postponing the 2020 elections if President Trump wanted to assure that only eligible voters took part. They are exasperated both at the response and for pollsters asking a worthless hypothetical question in the first place.