Posts Tagged Military

WHAT COMPETITIVE GROUP WOULD GIVE-UP, WHEN THEIR “BEST” TEAM OF MEN AND WOMEN IS IN THE GAME? DONALD?

Throughout his Presidential Campaign, Donald Trump complained about: the Trans-Pacific Partnership; adverse trade agreements with Mexico and China; the six-nation nuclear agreement with Iran and, of course, any of President Barack Obama’s accomplishments!  He often tied the two points together: we negotiated bad deals, because we have bad negotiators.

But, can’t Mr. Trump see that he now has the best possible negotiating team, and the Negotiator-in-Chief is personally available to turn things around!  Surely the (presumed) Author of “The Art of the Deal” can bring all of his super negotiating skills to bear. 

 Keep in mind, that if we do leave the TPP—a trade pact, which consolidates the fastest-growing region on earth under one “roof”—we will be offering our seat to China.  And, President Xi Jinping will be quite pleased to replace us, and assume our leadership position,

The nuclear agreement with Iran, which was thought to be only a couple of months away from having The Bomb, has truly accomplished its very important purpose!  Tehran shipped both 95% of its plutonium and its centrifuges out of the country, in June of 2014, when the negotiations began.  So, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s worst nightmare—a nuclear-armed Iran—has not come to pass.  Psst: Israel has had an entire nuclear arsenal itself, for decades!

And lastly, remember that New World Order that Trump has been dissing—off and on—whenever it suits his purpose?  That’s the UN, NATO, the IMF, World Bank, the WTO, etc.  Guess what?  Those organizations, established after World War II, have: enhanced the global economic recovery: promoted world peace; and further led to a better functioning world.  

As Donald Trump must surely know, the best time to drive that hard bargain is when you are in a position of relative strength!  America did not suffer the double whammy, of both The Great Depression and a Major War being fought on U. S. Soil, during the 1930s and 40s.  Yes, we fought in the War, lost a lot of good men, and drained our National Treasury.  In the end, however, we were in much better shape then either the vanquished, or even the other victors.

America must retain a leadership position when aid, assistance and leadership are needed to:  reverse global climate change; provide financial, medical and manpower assistance in combating medical pandemics; and we must remain in the forefront in responding to natural disasters.  Helping people in times of distress, helps prevent future wars!  

Following any military confrontations, we must act benevolently, if we win, and be thankful if we lose.  Outrageous reparation payments should never be assessed on the vanquished.  The harsh treatment forced on Germany, by the Allies after World War I, merely laid the groundwork for an even deadlier World War II, just 20 years later.  After World War II, however, America instituted the Marshall Plan, by providing $13 billion ($130 billion in 2015 dollars) to help re-build European economies.

Donald Trump should re-consider some of his misguided ideas, and the harsh rhetoric that he has been using to attack a number of global and regional institutions.  As long as the U. S. still maintains a level of stature, Mr. Trump should reflect on another Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt, who was often associated with the phrase: “Speak softly, but carry a big stick!”

NOTE:  If anyone wonders why I was so easy, on Donald Trump, in writing this post, just read the prior post, where I had questioned whether anyone would want his hands on the key that launches the nukes.   In past posts, I have used every name in the book, in referring to Donald Trump.

I took a somewhat different approach this time.  Donald says the negotiators on the deals that he wants to replace–mostly everything–were really awful.  But now, with His Team, led by him as the Negotiator-in-Chief, I say:  Go for it!  Donald, it’s time to “Put-up, or Shut-up!”

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IS DONALD TRUMP TRYING TO PROVOKE NORTH KOREA’S KIM JONG-UN?

Who can be certain that North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-Un, can restrain himself from escalating the current tension with the United States?  But then, can we trust Donald Trump to attempt a peaceful solution either?  Each man has lived his whole life in a privileged environment, is conceited, and appears to love the exhilaration of power.  Also, both have surrounded themselves with loyal Yes-Men!

Given Donald Trump’s recent outlandish attacks on Syria and Afghanistan—both of which were unconstitutional, and violations of the UN Charter—I am concerned that, he believes he’s on a roll!  A very dangerous one, at that!  China, on the other hand, has appealed to both sides to show restraint, and it has reportedly cut-off coal shipments to North Korea.  I can only believe that it is a sorry state of affairs when I can take more comfort in what Chinese President Xi Jinping might do, as compared to our own “Fearless Leader”.

The Korean Peninsula is a dangerous region, at present.  The Kim Dynasty has purposely kept anyone, but the Kim line, from leading the country.  And yet, some sort of re-unification of the Two Koreas—similar to Germany in 1990—would never work.  The Soviet Union had collapsed by then; so, the German re-unification was successful.

China doesn’t wish to assume responsibility for a failed North Korea, if it were to invade it.  Similarly, I doubt that some sort of U. S. military attack on the North would work either, since Mr. Kim just might begin firing missiles.  Also, President Xi doesn’t wish to become America’s next door neighbor, nor should we want that. either.  But, the Trump Regime doesn’t plan ahead for such contingencies.

China is North Korea’s only source of (mostly) humanitarian goods; but, it has recently stopped the shipment of coal.  Food and medicine can hardly be denied to the North Korean People.  The American deployment of a Carrier Task Force, led by the USS Carl Vincent, accompanied by three guided missile destroyers and support ships, hardly diffuses the situation—especially given Mr. Kim’s apparent instability.  So, what is the solution?

Expecting rational thoughts or actions from someone, like Supreme Leader Kim, whose very being is treated as godlike, is hard to comprehend.  He doesn’t seem to be especially concerned about his People, since they are barely given a semblance of human needs as it is.  I firmly believe that, if Kim were asked the proverbial Guns vs Butter question—the balance between Military vs Consumer needs—Mr. Kim would surely respond:  Butter?

Although I have no experience in National Security, there are several things that I would suggest:  stop the shipments of military supplies; deny North Korea access to all manufacturing equipment and supplies; and also eliminate the import of any luxury supplies, which Mr. Kim and the privileged class receive from somewhere.  And then, surround the Korean Peninsula with a U. N. flotilla, plus aircraft, including AWACS!  

The blockade armada could be deployed under a U. N. Resolution.  Besides acting as a blockade against all incoming supplies, other than humanitarian necessities.  The global armada would also eliminate any rational “Fields of Fire”, for North Korean missiles.  Lastly, have the Chinese Navy, as a North Korean Ally, take the lead, in order to provide additional buy-in from Mr. Kim.

NOTE:  Since this action would be under a U. N. Resolution, Congressional Approval of U. S. participation should be easily approved.

NOTE #2:  Welcome to my visitors from Israel and Trinidad & Tobago, and of course the U. S.

NOTE #3:   WHOOPS!  It now appears that the Carrier Task Group had not been deployed to the Sea of Japan, as the White House first announced.  Rather, it had been deployed into the Indian Ocean, for joint naval exercises with the Australian Navy.  The ships are, however, now headed in the right direction–the Korean Peninsula, some 3,500 miles away.

A more in-depth description this last Trump Regime misadventure, is provided by a NY Times article

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THURSDAY’S EXCESSIVE SHOW OF FORCE SERVED NO RATIONAL PURPOSE WHATSOEVER!

On Thursday, Donald’s Trump’s (not ours, anymore) Military dropped a GBU-43, a 22,000 pound bomb, on a series of suspected ISIS caves, in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.  Various Jihadist groups—such as al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban—have located their training camps in such areas over the years.  Perhaps, Donald feels that he displayed some humane restraint by not going all-out, and using the even larger GBU-77, which weighs 30,000 pounds.

The benefit of this area, near Pakistan, enables the terrorists fighters to cross the border, when they are feel threatened.  And then, they return to their caps, once the danger has passed.  Thursday’s show-of-force serves no purpose–besides enabling the generals to play with their “Toys of War.  Meanwhile, when the Big Show subsides, the residents of those caves will merely find similar accommodations nearby.

Terrorists organizations, and perhaps ISIS more than others, operate as independently controlled cells, located around the world.  Like the Hydra of Greek Mythology, when the head of one is cut-off, the hydra just grows two more.  And in this case, there is no one head or one cell, to begin with.  So, as we found in literally every war since Vietnam, superior firepower can “Win the battles, but lose the War!”

In fact, such outlandish demonstrations generally accomplish little when the assumed audience remains mired in the age of donkeys and mud huts.  And, while Thursday’s absurd detonation will possibly provide ISIS with valuable recruiting propaganda, it is most important to remember that those donkeys can traverse the hills of Afghanistan, while our tanks cannot!   In fact, such demonstrations of firepower do little to enhance our image, or win friends, in the Developing World!

The next Federal Budget hasn’t been finalized; however, the Trump Regime had suggested slashing the State Department and Health and Human Services, while increasing our Defense Budget, which is already as large as those of the next ten countries combined.   Just think how cost-effective it would be to spend that same money, through State and HHS, to:  build hospitals and schools; fight malaria and tuberculosis; and provide clean water and electric power.  In other words, we could get more bang-for-the-buck, and enhance our reputation–by doing Good!

Donald Trump has a reputation for: his ignorance about complex issues; excessive hubris; and surrounding himself with Yes-Men.  Although he boasts about having generals in his Cabinet, I seriously wonder whether he even listens to them!  But, I am still concerned about what this fool might do next!   And now, Mr. Trump has, once again,  raised the issue of a pre-emptive strike on North Korea.  Need I say more?

NOTE:  This video is analogous to Donald Trump’s personal reaction to his BIG BANG!  Once again, he just played through it!

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THE KOREAN PENINSULA—A POTENTIALLY MUCH MORE DANGEROUS SITUATION THAN SYRIA!

By now, most people are aware that: America fired 59 Tomahawk Missiles on a Syrian airfield; that act was a violation of both the U. S. Constitution and the U. N. Charter; the Syria Air Force bombed the same city (without Sarin gas) just a few days later; the Pentagon has not suggested any sort of long-range plan in Syria; but, there have been suggestions that the U. S. is considering either placing nuclear weapons in South Korea, and/or sending a team of (assumedly) special ops to assassinate North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un.

In 1950, Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai told several foreign diplomats that China would enter the Korean War if the U. S. crossed the 38th parallel, into North Korea.  General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of U. N. Forces—disobeyed direct orders—crossed the 38th, and continued on to the Yalu River—the Chinese Border.

The Chinese. as Zhou had said, entered the war in a big way, and the Armies of the Two Koreas, plus the U. S., have been encamped at the DMZ ever since.  Although there was considerable Signals and Human Intelligence ,reporting a very significant massing of Chinese troops at the Yalu River, Mac Arthur disregarded it—at his own Army’s peril!

During the second (I believe) Presidential Debate last fall, Donald Trump had suggested that China should just invade North Korea and be done with the irrational Kim Jong-Un.  The result from such an action, however, would force a direct confrontation between nuclear-armed China and the U. S., across the DMZ.  So, here we are, 65 years after that War, and the Chinese seem to understand the potential danger of a nuclear build-up on the Korean Peninsula.  But, why doesn’t Donald Trump get it ?

The Pentagon has deployed a Carrier Strike Force to Korea with the USS Carl Vinson, and three guided missile destroyers, all of which have been temporarily docked in Singapore.  Japan must also be included in any strategic Korean Plan, along with Taiwan, which lies off the southeast coast of China.  I believe that, if China deploys ships to the Formosa Strait, which separates Taiwan from the Mainland, Donald Trump should be very, very careful in making his next move. China proved, once before, that it does follow-through i protecting its interests!

North Korea  has an 880 mile (1,420 km.) border with China, as well as a very small one with Russia.  But, neither of the two nuclear superpowers have common borders with Syria.  Additionally, the U. S. apparently has no long-term plans for Syria.    

America does, however, have a very long, and semi-permanent, presence in South Korea.  With a total of approximately 77,000 U. S. Troops in East Asia, and roughly two-thirds of them in nearby Japan, the situation appears to be more dangerous than Donald Trump’ s first major “Adventure”, in Syria.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump can be almost as irrational as Mr. Kim, of North Korea.  So far, however, Donald has dodged a bullet in Syria, at least so far; but, I surely don’t trust him in Korea, where China will be a much more serious, and powerful, opponent!

NOTE:  Welcome to my readers in China, Taiwan and Malta!

 

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SYRIA ATTACKED! WILL NORTH KOREA BE NEXT? BUT, THE CURE MIGHT BE WORSE THAN THE DISEASE!

trumpAnyone with TV or broadband access, undoubtedly saw videos of the dead and wounded, following a poison gas attack, in Syria on Tuesday.   The U. S. responded with a massive 59 Tomahawk Missile attack on the Shayrat Airfield, the base which the U. S. believes that the planes, loaded with the Sarin-laden bombs, took-off from.   Russia helicopters also uses that base, however!  It is unclear as to whether the Syrians, or the Russians, heeded the advanced-warning of the attack; however, there did not appear to be any aircraft debris on the field, in photos that I saw on the following day.

It is commonly believed that, since the War began six years ago,  President Bashar Assad’s forces have killed 500,000 of his own people.  The photos of dead and wounded, after the Sarin air strike, were horrible to watch; but still, I remember the lifeless body of a three year-old boy, a couple of years ago, who drowned while crossing the Mediterranean, with his mother and brother.  That still photo reminded me of just about any small child, just curled-up sleeping; but, that small boy was dead!   Why hasn’t anyone acted before—the     U. S., Russia, the U. N., the Arab League, etc?   How approaching this problem like the seven nation Nuclear Agreement with Iran?

Why didn’t Donald Trump delay the meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping,  iust a day or two, so that he could devote his full attention to the missile attack?   Or, he could have changed the venue to the White House, rather than to his Mar-a-Lago estate.   How much time did the two presidents, and their various advisors waste, in flying down to Palm Beach?  And that faux “situation room”, with flags a-flutter, truly looked just like a group of businessmen waiting for their dinner reservation.  The flags were a photo-op give-away, in a room where tough decisions were charaded to be made?   And, no jackets off. sleeves rolled-up?

In a recent post, I had suggested that Congress needs to reaffirm its sole authority to Declare War!   Whether we like it or not, Syria is a sovereign state.  Also, as a signatory to the United Nations Charter, we can only use military force on another country’s soil, either with its consent, in cases of self-defense or with the approval of the U. N.

As morally warranted as last Thursday’s attacks might have been, what the Trump Regime did was unconstitutional, and also against International Law.  The U. S. Department of Defense justified the attack as being: “intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again,”   That is clearly NONSENSE!.

An initial use of force against an enemy, by the way, would generally be the first of several, or ,many, narrowly-focused actions, designed to progress toward a long-range, strategic mission. So far, however, since no end-game has been revealed, it certainly appears that the Trump Regime is just making this up as it goes along!

During the Administration of President (and former General) Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Defense Department formulated its “First Offset Strategy”, which has always been expected to be an on-going blueprint, for keeping militarily our superiority over the Soviet Union.  Ike’s Plan was to take advantage of on-going advanced technological applications within our weapons arsenal.  Currently, that top tier of adversaries is composed of Russia and China, with lesser adversaries grouped accordingly.  Two years ago, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, described the newest version of that blueprint, the “Third Offset Strategy”, to a group of U. S. partners and allies.  In his presentation, Mr. Work said:

“While the United States and our closest allies fought two lengthy wars over the past 13 years, the rest of our — the rest of the world and our potential adversaries were seeing how we operated. They looked at our advantages. They studied them. They analyzed them. They looked for weaknesses. And then they set about devising ways to counter our technological over-match.”

Donald Trump boasts about his unpredictability.  After the Election in November, when he received the full Presidential Briefing, he allegedly asked:  “Since we have nuclear weapons, why don’t we use them?”  So here we are, just three days after the (conventional) attack on Syria, and he’s already talking about installing nuclear weapons in South Korea.  He had also suggested sending a (presumed) special ops team to assassinate Kim Jong-Un, the Supreme Leader of nuclear-armed North Korea.

Donald Trump boasts about being unpredictable and, with his lack of any clearly defined strategic objectives, as well as his total disregard for the Rule of Law, I am deeply concerned about the potential outcome.  He does;t seem to realize that Power Kills, and that means real people’s lives!  Under his misguided “Leadership”, Donald Trump could transform America into just another irrational state, but with a vast nuclear arsenal!    

Given Mr. Trump’s unprecedented conceit, he doesn’t realize how ignorant he is about: knowing where the Syrian attack might lead America to militarily; the disapproval that the recent action might bring from the International Community; the ramifications from ignoring the U. S. Constitution and the International Rule of Law…and, now he wants to “Do it again”–in North Korea.  The GOP seems enamored with him; but, only so they can push through their Draconian laws.  But, when will the American People put a stop to this Megalomaniac?

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BESIDES MY CONCERN ABOUT TRUMP’S DISREGARD FOR INTELLIGENCE, THE GREATER DANGER MIGHT COME FROM HIS POTENTIAL ABUSE OF IT!

I just added “Code Warriors: NSA’s Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union”, by Stephen Budiansky, to my Books That I Recommend Tab.  At first, I felt that my interest for this topic was due to my Army service in the field.   But as I read more, I realized that the Intelligence, per se, is not the main topic.  it’s the: mismanagement, the political abuse and the potential abuses at the highest level.

General Douglas MacArthur, who had used Signals Intelligence quite successfully during World War II, chose to ignore it, as the Commander of Allied Forces in Korea.  Chinese Premier Chou en-Lai said that if Allied Forces crossed the 38th Parallel, into North Korea, China would attack.  MacArthur not only disobeyed orders, and crossed into the North, he proceeded toward the Yalu River, the Chinese border.

Numerous SIGINT reports indicated a significant build-up of Chinese forces; but, the General and his G-2 (Top Intelligence Officer) suggested that it was merely a several thousand man force.  China sent four armies—120,000 men—into South Korea, cutting the First Marine Division off at the Chosen Reservoir.  Luckily, China withdrew; but, General Douglas MacArthur was relieved of his Command, in a most public manner.


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Robert S. McNamara, President Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of Defense, had previously been the President of the Ford Motor Company.  He apparently relied primarily on his own intellect and decisiveness; because, the Intelligence Community knew to only send him reports that confirmed his own personal conclusions.  Perhaps that appealed to his ego, since his staff felt that they should only tell him what he already knew.

In January of 1968, just prior to the Lunar New Year, various Army and Navy SIGINT reports suggested a massive build-up of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong (local guerrilla) forces, at numerous locations around the country.  Johnson and McNamara were convinced that the major push would come against the Marine camp at Khe Sanh and that, lacking the troop strength for a multi-pronged attack,  the rest were just distractions.   The NVA/VC attacks hit some 100 allied locations, and all military operations soon ended.  

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While some officials ignored SIGINT, or just refused to even consider it, in the early 1970s, President Richard Nixon wanted to see any intercepts about him.  So, Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s National Security Advisor told the National Security Agency that all intercepts mentioning either the President or him, were to be delivered to him personally, and only to him.  Thus, Nixon and Kissinger were exacerbating the dysfunctional relationship that already existed among the various intelligence agencies.

For his part, Kissinger was also playing one-upmanship, between the National Security Council, which he headed, and the State and Defense Departments.  (Foreign Policy was the collective responsibility of all three Departments.)   Since the NSA reported to the Defense Department, however, at least at that point, SecDef Melvin Laird advised the NSA Director that he had control of his military career, and that he should be copied on the intercepts.  Unbeknownst to Kissinger, that immediately expanded the highly secretive distribution list to three, but still leaving Secretary of State William P. Rogers out.

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General MacArthur was known to be a pompous person, who readily claimed all credit for any successes, while shifting any blame to others.  Subordinates knew to shield him from whatever he didn’t want to hear. This sounds exactly like Donald Trump; however, Trump also appears to be neurotic, like Nixon, regarding what the media says about him, and he is vindictive in attacking both known and assumed personal enemies.  While Johnson was curious about reading the intercepts, he merely seemed to rely on McNamara’s pre-conceived conclusions.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Donald Trump just nine days ago, he should have been prepared to build a relationship with the only experienced European leader, after the French Election in May.  Also, having spent her formative years, and her early scientific career in East Germany, Mrs. Merkel is much more knowledgeable in dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  According to one of Merkel’s aids who attended the meeting, however, Trump wasn’t at all prepared, and he added little depth to the conversation.  None of this surprises Americans who follow his past antics.

Just considering how one type of intelligence has been misused and abused by American Presidents, as well as others in high office, I can only shutter to consider what damage a neurotic psychopath, can do, with access to all of it!   Just consider: Donald Trump has shown signs of isolating America from the world at large; that and his vowed trade wars could cause a global recession, perhaps much worse than 2008; and he has the ability to launch nuclear weapons.

Back, some 20 years ago, there were PSA’s on TV, asking parents if they know where their children are at 10:00 PM.   Well do we need a Donald Trump vision, such as: “It’s Midnight America.  Should you wonder what your President is up to?”

 

 

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WHO WILL DONALD TRUMP HAND-OFF THE MOST DANGEROUS PROBLEM CONFRONTING THE WORLD TODAY? NORTH KOREA! WILL IT BE R. C. McMASTER, OR STEVE BANNON?

North Korea’s nuclear arms have advanced beyond the primitive state.  Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un now has real nukes, and he is in the process of improving the range and accuracy of his missiles, while continuing to miniaturize the warheads to extend the range.  And then, he will be ready to build an arsenal!

China does not want to place anymore political pressure on its failed neighbor; because, that would cause millions of destitute North Koreans to stream across its border, and Beijing would then have to care for the refugees.  Additionally, an invasion would also set-up a potentially disastrous confrontation with the United States.

In a webcast discussion, between Robert Litwak, Vice President at the Wilson Center, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on North Korea, and NY Times National Security Correspondent David Sanger, the topic was “Preventing North Korea’s Nuclear Break-Out.”  The proximity of U. S. Forces, both in South Korea and nearby Japan, along with our allies, turns a potential confrontation with China into a powder keg.

Mr. Litwak suggested, during the discussion, that the likely options—all bad ones—are: “bomb, negotiate, or acquiesce… “   Bombing, which would usually be followed by a ground attack, would merely anger China, and would draw them into the war.  Beijing certainly doesn’t want the U. S. Military just across their border, nor would we want theirs!   That would leave two intolerable situations: facing an unlimited Chinese force, virtually in their backyard; or going nuclear.  Either way, we would not want to see that scenario play out!

Acquiescence is also a terrible option.  North Korea’s Supreme Leader, 33 year-old Kim Jong-Un runs a dynastic dictatorship and, judging by the living conditions that his people must endure, he seems to care little about them.

So, if we merely allow Mr. Kim to maintain the status quo, he will surely begin considering his next move—going even more bellicose.  The North Korean “Leader” is unstable, and cannot be trusted.  And don’t count on regime change; because, Kim has already eliminated the prior military leaders, and replaced them with his generals.

This leaves us with the only one acceptable option:  to negotiate some sort of Iran-like Nuclear Agreement—along with, say, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia.  Similar to the Iran Deal, North Korea must be required to:  dismantle its nuclear program and ship, say 95% of the plutonium and centrifuges out of the country, perhaps to China, before the negotiations even begin.

There must be a slight easing of restrictions initially, mostly for humanitarian purposes, and the IAEA must be able to make unannounced inspections.  The negotiating team, and perhaps others, must provide North Korea with increasingly necessary supplies.  The DMZ, between North and South Korea, should be widened, from two and a-half. to 20 miles.  At least, that will eliminate offensive broadcasts and sniper fire, back and forth, between the two korean armies.

The one immediate question that comes to mind is:  would Donald Trump agree to an Agreement similar to the one that President Obama, and five other nations, entered into with Iran?  So far, Trump has appeared to be intent on eliminating anything that Obama had accomplished.  Yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tellerson said that the U. S. might consider a pre-emptive attack on Pyongyang, rather than a retaliatory attack.  That concerns me!

I believe that National Security Advisor, R. C. McMaster, and Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, might agree to the merits of a Nuclear Agreement, similar to the one with Iran.  Secretary Tellerson, however, the former CEO of Exxon-Mobil, is a veritable novice when it comes to National Security.  So far, Donald Trump has been more willing to hand-off the most important problems to the loyalists among his Regime Staff.  Steve Bannon?  OMG!

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