Ten things: Media miss large boat when it comes to North Korea

N. Korea map

Map of N. Korea from CIA World Fact Book.

Despite hysterics on social media from select reporters at select outlets, many are missing the boat when it comes to North Korea.

Here are 10 things media and most of the public are missing.

  1. I think Trump aimed his decisive comments as much at China as he did North Korea. CNBC claimed the president “ad-libbed” the “fire and fury” China certainly took note, and I think that was Trump’s intent. For why, see number 2.
  2. China and North Korea are trading partners. China isn’t bothered by what amounts to slavery within North Korea’s forced labor industry. China and North Korea share a border. This makes any conflict within NK a problem for China.
  3. While many ‘reporters’ in the Democrats’ camp freaked about Trump’s warning, they seemed okay with a similar warning former president Barack Obama issued. It’s on video. The warning about our “military might” didn’t seem to bother NK despot Kim Jong Un who is easily identified because he is the only fat person in his country.
  4. Obama concealed important information from the American people and the United Nations in 2015 when it came to light that North Korea and Iran were doing some missile tradecraft. This made it impossible for the UN to thoroughly monitor sanctions. Again, media were neither outraged nor rushing to build bunkers.
  5. One reason Obama may have kept the NK and Iran exchanges secret was his intent to pay Iran for what CNN neatly described as “Swiss francs, euros and other currencies as the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement resolving claims at an international tribunal at The Hague over a failed arms deal under the time of the Shah.” Rightwing media went nuts in one of the first rational responses to Obama’s empowerment of one of the most repressive regimes on Earth, a regime who is a sworn enemy to the US.
  6. To be fair, the North Korea problem wasn’t entirely Obama’s fault. It’s been a problem since the 1950s. Former president Bill Clinton made the problem worse but claimed he made it better. I understand why he tripped over words when he claimed all was well and the world was safer.
  7. When it comes to Bill Clinton, NK should be a fan. Mr. Clinton’s secretary of state is famous for sipping wine with Kim Jong Un’s father. Numerous copies of what might be termed aKumbaya’ photo exist online although some sites have removed it. Clinton’s successor George W. Bush didn’t schmooze NK—he tried a different tactic by halting among other things the “500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil” Clinton had bestowed upon NK for the regime’s cooperation. NK used Bush’s decision (allegedly) to get back into the nuke business. While The Washington Post obviously worked hard to justify Obama’s Iran deal and Clinton’s NK deal, what they missed is that no matter what, North Korea has always been an enemy of the US in modern times and likely always will and none of these presidents caused a moment of fear for NK.
  1. Despite broken promises, the cruelty of the N Korea regime, and the fact countries like China and Russia have routinely failed to assist in checking that regime, the US has sent food aid to N. Korea. We have sent that aid despite the fact the CIA believes it was used for the military and the political ruling class in that country. The Food for Peace Act should’ve been called the Food for Nukes Act.
  2. A little known fact about Bill Clinton emerged in a book titled Within Arm’s Length by former Secret Service agent Dan Emmett. Emmett didn’t come off as very political, and the book is more or less a tribute to the Service. He did take issue with Clinton who, as president, decided to thumb his nose at North Korea. Emmett saw this as not only endangering agents protecting Clinton, but risking a global controversy. Clinton walked across the “Bridge of No Return” between North and South Korea in 1993: “After walking a little farther onto the bridge than he should have, practically into North Korea, in fact, Clinton looked around the area for a few minutes and then returned to his vehicle, and we got the hell out of the zone, the totally pointless photo op ending without incident.” [pg.81]
  3. The US-South Korea war with North Korea remains subject to a truce. Despite the deaths of 33,739 soldiers in battle and 2,835 in the theater not connected to battle, neither side could claim decisive victory.

Bottom line is that Trump had to know his warning would be taken seriously by China. North Korea has flaunted its nukes, reneged on various agreements, and ripped off the United States by counterfeiting our money.

Obama’s svelte warnings about “military might” and Mr. Clinton’s showboat diplomacy didn’t work. Bush the 2nd, as Trump is, remained under attack from Dems from the day he took office.

Those presidents, coupled with partisan politics doing most Americans not one iota of good, bestowed a troubled legacy upon Trump. His warning is the strongest I have witnessed.UN Ambassador Nikki Haley put it best:

“The resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled on North Korea.  It targets the regime’s exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood – the mainstays of its economy – and reduces them by about one-third.  It is the most stringent set of sanctions the United Nations has leveled on any country in a generation.”

China and Russia concurred this time on the UN sanctions. Chalk that up as a win for Trump regardless of the hysterics among media who once again appear to have convenient amnesia.

Remind yourself of something else. Ahead of 9-11-2001, media dismissed the threat of Osama bin Laden and so did Congress. They did this despite the fact the World Trade Center had been bombed shortly after Mr. Clinton took office. They did this despite numerous warnings from bin Laden himself.

As is most often the case, the price we paid for media and political malpractice comprised the loss of thousands of lives in the United States in 2001, and many others after that as well.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Aug. 9, 2017)


About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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