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.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America focus on North Korea today, in light of the recent news that the isolated nation now has the technology to put a nuclear warhead inside one of its missiles and is now threatening a strike on Guam. With such a development, Jim says, we may have to begin looking at the the possibility of accepting North Korea as a nuclear power, Jim and Greg discuss the unpalatable downsides to that. They examine the statements President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson regarding North Korea, as Trump promises “fury and fire” and Tillerson says that’s the only language that Kim Jong-Un understands. Jim also delves into the history of the past three presidential administrations and their failures to keep North Korea fee of nukes.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America like the new sanctions approved against North Korea, and they really like to see China, Russia, and other countries cooperating in this effort to rein in the isolated nation. They rip the New York Times for suggesting Vice President Mike Pence is planning to run for president in 2020 if President Trump does not, all because Pence is doing a lot of fundraising events — and they enjoy a little Kasich-bashing as the same Times article conjectures about Ohio Gov. John Kasich launching a primary challenge to Trump. And they react to Dunkin’ Donuts blaming a confusing store layout for an employee’s refusal to serve two NYPD officers in Brooklyn.
The U.S. successfully tested a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or T-H-A-A-D system Tuesday. According to Fox News, the test took place over Alaska and marks the 14th successful launch of this system. T-H-A-A-D systems are designed to intercept short and intermediate range missiles, and the process is described as “shooting down a bullet with another bullet”. This success comes on the heels of last week’s North Korean Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launch. Officials are pleased with the results of the test and the personnel conducting it. ~Sarah Schutte
North Korea murdered Otto Warmbier and a fierce response is needed, says a prominent expert on China and North Korea, but he warns the increasingly belligerent actions of the communist regime are a result of the U.S. failing to hold it accountable for more than two decades.
Earlier this month, North Korea released Warmbier after imprisoning him for 16 months. He spent the vast majority of that time in a coma and died just days after returning to Ohio. North Korea claimed Warmbier’s coma stemmed from a bout of botulism and that he was released on humanitarian grounds. U.S. doctors found no evidence of botulism.
“At this point, we have to go with the overwhelming evidence and that is indeed an issue of murder,” said Gordon Chang, a leading scholar on China and North Korea and the author of “Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World.”
“There is just no other explanation for a healthy 22-year-old – then a 21-year-old – would end up in a permanent coma and then death. We have to just follow the evidence and just realize that the North Korean explanation is not accurate,” said Chang.
“It may have been guards who got overzealous, but it probably was an order from the top of the regime to send a message to the United States,” said Chang. “It was as horrific as we can think. This is a good reminder when we start to talk about negotiating with the North Koreans of who we are actually dealing with.”
On Friday, the North Korean regime vigorously denied torturing Warmbier, insisting it provided him medical care and then released him on humanitarian grounds.
“Although we had no reason at all to show mercy to such a criminal of the enemy state, we provided him with medical treatments and care with all sincerity on humanitarian basis until his return to the U.S.,” the foreign ministry said, according to state-run Korean Central News Agency.
The North Korean government also claimed it was the biggest victim in this story due to an alleged smear campaign by the U.S. and South Korea to accuse it of torture.
“It’s a typical North Korean response that it’s all the Americans’ response. Any problem in the world can be traced to Washington. This is just the way that they operate. They’re certainly not going to accept any responsibility for the treatment of Otto Warmbier, although they had total custody of him since January 2, 2016,” said Chang.
While the actions of Kim Jong-Un’s regime infuriate the Trump administration, Chang says increased North Korean aggression is simply a result of the U.S. doing virtually nothing in response to provocations for decades.
“We have not imposed costs on North Korea for their brutalized treatment of Americans: the seizure of the (USS) Pueblo in 1968, the shoot down of the Air Force EC-121 with the loss of 31 lives. Again, no penalty was imposed. We never do so, so of course the North Koreans think they can kill us,” said Chang.
“Yes, the North Koreans are villains, but this has become an issue not of North Korea. It’s become an issue of the American response to North Korea, he views of the American policy establishment, the views of American administrations – Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives,” said Chang.
“The north Koreans will continue to act in this way until the United States imposes some costs. So this has become a question of us, not them,” he added.
And what is an effective response?
“Regardless of what they think about North Korea, the Trump administration needs to impose costs on Pyongyang. We need to do that because we cannot allow anyone to kill anyone with impunity,” said Chang.
He believes going after North Korean money would send a crystal clear message.
“I think the most important thing would be to cut North Korea off from the global financial system by cutting North Korea off from Chinese banks, which are participating in illicit North Korean commerce and North Korean crimes,” said Chang.
In addition to providing an appropriate wake-up call to North Korea, Chang believes China would also receive the message loud and clear.
“If were to start to do that, I think that we would start to see a new Chinese attitude, much more positive and much more cooperative. But until we are willing to take political risk and show political will, they’re going to continue with their support of North Korea. They’ve weaponized North Korea against us. We have not responded,” said Chang.
He says demonstrating diplomatic backbone is vital for U.S. national security.
“It’s becoming essential for the United States to show the rest of the world that, first of all, we’re going to enforce our own laws regardless of what we think about China or North Korea policy,” said Chang.
“Second, we need to send a message to the Chinese that for the first time since 1994 that we are serious about protecting the American homeland. We haven’t done that, and because of that Beijing and Pyongyang haven’t taken us seriously,” he said.
President Trump has said the approach of previous administrations toward North Korea does not work, but he has yet to lay out a new policy. In the meantime, Chang says we’re still getting pushed around.
“So far they’ve adopted the policy of their predecessors and they’re, again, getting no results from the Chinese. I don’t know if the president has genuinely been taken in by Beijing or whether he’s just giving them enough rope and he’s decided he’s eventually going to do something on his own,” said Chang.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to North Korea’s release of an American hostage, express concern over troubling reports of his health condition, and marvel at how former NBA star Dennis Rodman seems to provide intelligence on North Korea that our own spies can’t uncover. They also discuss the rumors NewsMax CEO Chris Ruddy stirred up during a PBS interview about President Trump possbily firing special procecutor Robert Mueller. And they question Megyn Kelly’s decision to host conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars on her new Sunday night show on NBC.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are surprised by who is arrested for allegedly issuing scores of threats to Jewish Community Centers and other institutions. They also react to the details of the terrorist attack in London and shred the rationale behind radical Islamic terrorism. And they discuss North Korea being suspected of a massive heist of money from Bangladesh that was held in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – and something about that story seems very familiar to them.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the Trump administration’s new executive order temporarily banning travel from six nations with major terrorism problems. They also react to North Korea announcing its latest missile tests were designed to strike U.S. bases in Japan. And they slam teachers in Alexandria, Virginia, for forcing the cancellation of school because 300 of them plan to attend the anti-Trump women’s march.