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Friday, March 09, 2018

Child with loaded shotgun terrorizes family

This lasted about as long as I expected it to:

Perched in the Oval Office, President Trump floored his own advisors and left his South Korean guests flabbergasted when he agreed — just like that — to accept an offer to meet nuclear-armed dictator Kim Jong Un.

Successive White Houses had deeply considered and roundly rejected such offers, haunted by visions of John F. Kennedy’s disastrous 1961 meeting with Nikita Khrushchev that fueled the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Unencumbered by that historical baggage, this neophyte president agreed to meet Kim without consulting his team, not least Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was half the world away in Addis Ababa.

Trump’s boosters were quick to spin the decision as evidence of political brilliance — the president had browbeaten North Korea to the negotiating table, and then been big enough to accept their capitulation.

More than one Trump supporter imagined a trip to Oslo may be on the cards. “President Trump should be well on his way to his own Nobel Peace Prize,” said Republican Congressman Luke Messer.

And leave it to a GOP Congresscritter to get that far out over his skis.  Watch out, Messer, here comes the agony of defeat:

A meeting by May at a place to be determined is now replaced with a meeting at some place and at some time. The fixed time before which seems gone. Sanders also spoke of needing to see concrete and verifiable steps toward denuclearization for the summit to happen. But from what we understood last night, nothing like that was promised. What was apparently promised was suspending further nuclear or ballistic missile tests before the meeting and presumably in a subsequent period of negotiation or normalization. There’s no need to verify any of this. The US can tell very easily when a ballistic missile is fired or when there’s a nuclear test.

Because according to the NYT according to JMM:

Behind the scenes, events unfolded even more haphazardly. Mr. Trump was not scheduled to meet Mr. Chung until Friday, but when he heard that the envoy was in the West Wing seeing other officials, the president summoned him to the Oval Office, according to a senior administration official.

Mr. Trump, the official said, then asked Mr. Chung to tell him about his meeting with Mr. Kim. When Mr. Chung said that the North Korean leader had expressed a desire to meet Mr. Trump, the president immediately said he would do it, and directed Mr. Chung to announce it to the White House press corps.

Mr. Chung, nonplused, said he first needed approval from Mr. Moon, who quickly granted it in a phone call. Mr. Trump later called Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, and the two discussed coordinating diplomatic efforts. Mr. Trump also plans to call President Xi Jinping of China.
Child with loaded shotgun terrorizes family and orders 300 pizzas.  Family hastens to cancel order.  It's worth quoting Mr. Marshall one more time, just to make that point clear:

He didn’t just not ask. There doesn’t even seem to have been an actual invitation – or at least that was not what the South Koreans believed they were coming to discuss. The President ordered the South Korean representative, Mr. Chung, to the Oval Office and proceeded to quiz him about his meeting with Kim. Chung mentioned Kim’s eagerness to meet with Trump and Trump said he would do it. This seems to have come as quite a surprise and Mr. Chung said he had to get sign off from the South Korean President. In such a situation, it would be hard for the South Koreans to refuse the stated desire of the President of the United States and they may not necessarily have wanted to. The key point is that this was the product of the President riffing with no guidance.

Vanity Fair says:

With the departures of Hope Hicks and Gary Cohn, the Trump presidency is entering a new phase—one in which Trump is feeling liberated to act on his impulses. “Trump is in command. He’s been in the job more than a year now. He knows how the levers of power work. He doesn’t give a fuck,” the Republican said. Trump’s decision to circumvent the policy process and impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum reflects his emboldened desire to follow his impulses and defy his advisers. “It was like a fuck-you to Kelly,” a Trump friend said. “Trump is red-hot about Kelly trying to control him.”

It seems Trump is “frustrated by all these people telling him what to do.”  You know, like his SOS, his foreign policy advisors, his staff members (who, though?) who might actually know what it takes to prepare a summit meeting between world leaders.  Even somebody who could point out a meeting with the leader of North Korea would be North Korea's fondest wish.  How bad is it?

In normal administrations, the idea of a summit would be kicked around almost to death, before a range of options are served up to the president for decision.

More often than not, there would be one unacceptably meek option, one with eye-watering political risk and a third “Goldilocks” option which the experts think is just right.

That process is why the National Security Council was invented.

The NSC takes the temperature of the great offices of state — Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA — and figures out where interests meet and how pitfalls can be avoided.

But Trump has turned the process on its head, deciding first then leaving aides to make the policy and equities fit.

“They are scrambling right now,” said Kelly Magsamen, a veteran of the NSC, State Department and Pentagon.

“Regardless of whether it’s a heads-of-state summit coming too early or not, I don’t think the Trump team has an actual diplomatic negotiating strategy in place.”

Trump don' need no steenken' negotiating strategy!  Trump don' need no steenken' National Security Council!  Trump is a stable genius!  He can just act on his impulses.

Now the question is:  who's going to take the shotgun away from the child?


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