Closure For Some American Families

Yesterday The New York Post reported that North Korea has returned 55 cases of remains of American soldiers who have been missing since the Korean War.

The article reports:

Also on the plane were technical experts from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

“It is a solemn obligation of the United States Government to ensure that the remains are handled with dignity and properly accounted for so their families receive them in an honorable manner,” the statement read.

The agreement to return the remains were made during a historic summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore last month.

The White House said the move was the first step in achieving the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The Korean War ended in 1954. For those still running around with their hair on fire because they hate President Trump, why couldn’t this have been done years ago? Can we please give the President credit for taking care of things that other Presidents either could not do or were not interested in doing.

The Real Key To The North Korea Negotiations

On Friday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the negotiations with North Korea over denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  The article reminds us of the major role China has played and will play in the continuing talks.

The article reports:

…And at a press conference in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart, Mike Pompeo said, “We have made very clear that the sanctions and the economic relief that North Korea will receive will only happen after the full denuclearization, the complete denuclearization, of North Korea.”

Which is why Pompeo’s meetings in Beijing are decisive. Not only would North Korea’s nuclear program cease to exist without Chinese support. North Korea would disappear too. Some 90 percent of North Korea’s foreign trade is with China. And it was most likely China’s reluctant imposition of tough U.N. sanctions last spring that grabbed Kim’s attention. Now, with Singapore behind us, China is ready to ease the pressure. That cannot happen if denuclearization is to succeed.

Pompeo understands that in the midst of good feeling there is a tendency to look away from bad behavior, to excuse or rationalize autocratic probing for weakness and irresolution. Democracies often sacrifice both their principles and their interests in order to perpetuate abstract, meaningless, consequence-free diplomatic processes. If the Trump administration is to produce a different outcome than the Clinton, Bush, or Obama administrations, it must relax its posture only when North Korea provides tangible reasons to do so.

So you go to Beijing. Why? Because North Korea is but a part of a much larger puzzle: China’s rise to great power status.

Some might argue for going easy on Kim in order to free up resources to deal with China’s military, cultural, political, and economic challenge to American power. This gets it backward. Want to see results in North Korea? Resist Chinese hegemony. By opening up the space for strategic decision-making and pressuring China at several points at once, you make it more likely Xi Jinping will exert influence over his vassal. Just so we back off.

Indeed, China is worried that North Korea may cut its own deal with the United States and, like Vietnam and Laos, become a one-party state that nevertheless balances against the Middle Kingdom.

President Trump is the first American President to introduce a stick into the negotiations with North Korea and China (as well as a carrot). Because he is seen as an usual President, the tactic seems to be working. Hopefully it will continue to work.

The article concludes:

Let’s increase Xi’s blood pressure a little. There are plenty of options. For starters, kill the defense sequester. In addition to conducting freedom of navigation operations, penalize China for militarizing islands in the South China Sea. Levy tariffs. Sell the F-35 to Taiwan. Warn the region that, if negotiations with Kim fail, America may be forced to reintroduce the tactical nuclear missiles that were removed from the Korean peninsula in 1991.

Will China protest, and U.S. doves cry? Of course they will. But remember they did exactly the same thing last year—until maximum pressure forced China to act. And North Korea sang a different tune.

Leadership Matters

We have known for some time that North Korea is an awful place to live. It is a prison camp run by a heartless tyrant. Looking at a nighttime satellite photo of the Korean peninsula shows South Korea lit up and North Korea dark. That is a true picture of the total lack of nearly everything in North Korea. Recently a video was posted on the Internet showing a North Korean soldier escaping North Korea. He was shot five times as he fled to the safety of South Korea–but that is not the whole story.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line reported yesterday:

In treating the North Korean, doctors discovered that he was malnourished and had a severe parasitic infection they hadn’t seen before except in medical textbooks. The tapeworms they found in the man hadn’t been seen in South Korea since the 1970s. Uncooked corn was in the soldier’s stomach.

These discoveries shocked South Korean, given that the soldier came from an elite military unit. If the regime can’t feed its best soldiers, it is probably in more trouble than we have assumed.

Would a malnourished army fight for the regime against South Koreans? If so, how effective would it be?

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un does not look as if he is starving. Even if the North Koreans wanted to rebel against their leadership, would they be physically able to do it?

 

Breakfast With Santa

This past weekend my husband and I were visiting one of our daughters on Long Island. We had the pleasure of attending a Breakfast with Santa sponsored by the Long Island Chapter of US Veterans MC (USVMCLI), a fraternity of motorcycle riders who have all served honorably in one of the branches of the United States military. The USVMCLI was serving breakfast and collecting care packages and food for veterans in the Long Island area. They were also collecting toys and clothes for children of hospitalized veterans.

As the wife of a Vietnam-era veteran, the event was almost overwhelming. The USVMCLI included veterans from Vietnam, the more recent wars, and I suspect that one of the veterans I saw may have served in Korea. It is incredibly encouraging to me that the Vietnam veterans, who were treated so badly when they returned home, have worked hard to make sure that today’s veterans are cared for and helped with some of their basic needs.

The food was great and Santa arrived, but the inspiring part of the breakfast was the sea of motorcycle jackets dedicated to helping their fellow veterans.

Thank you, USVMCLI, for the work that you do.

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Honoring Neil Armstrong

Flag of the United States on American astronau...

Flag of the United States on American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday Investors.com posted an article about the death of astronaut Neil Armstrong. He was 82. On July 20, 1969, Astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon.

The article reports:

A graduate of Purdue with a degree in aeronautical engineering, his academic career was interrupted when he was called to duty with the U.S. Navy in 1949 and flew 78 combat missions in Korea. He was an exceptional man and an exceptional American.

The article cites Mr. Armstrong’s objections to the direction the Obama Administration has taken the American space program:

…Armstrong had publicly opposed the gutting of the U.S. space program by the Obama administration, which has left us no current way of sending men into space except for paying the Russians for a ride while NASA conducts “missions” like a Muslim outreach program and observing earth for signs of climate change.

Neil Armstrong was one of our early astronauts. The early astronauts were American heroes. All of them showed amazing courage in facing a task with so many unknown elements and no promise that they would return.

I have posted the above picture of Neil Armstrong because President Obama chose to honor Neil Armstrong by posting a picture of himself looking up at the moon. That picture is posted at Lucianne.com with the caption, “The Ego Has Landed.”

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What Happens Next In North Korea ?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is dead. This was reported by North Korean state television early today. The North Korean media is reporting that Kim Jong Il died on Saturday during a train ride. The youngest of his three sons, Kim Jong Eun, will succeed him.

The article in the Wall Street Journal reports:

South Korean shares tumbled along with other Asian markets on concerns about potential instability in the region. South Korea’s Kospi Composite fell 3.4% to a four-week low after initially dropping 4.4%. South Korea’s currency, the won, tumbled to over two-month lows against the dollar before recovering somewhat.

Kim Jong Eun is believed to be 27 or 28 years old. In September 2010, his father appointed him a four-star general in the North Korean military and to high-level posts in the ruling political party.

An article in the New York Daily News today suggests that the chances of a military coup in North Korea at this time are very small. The concern that seems to come up in most of the articles written today on the death of Kim Jong Il is the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons. The unknown fact is who has control of those weapons and whether or not this change in leadership will mean that North Korea will become an aggressor in that area of the world. 

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