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Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
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Despite being largely pleased with the policy direction Trump has followed, I still find myself shaking my head at some of his rhetoric.

It’s the one thing that makes it so hard to go all in for him. Conservative principles (whether he truly believes them or not) are actually more present in this administration than Bush’s Presidency and that’s worthy of praise.

Yet, every few months we get some comments that just make you double face palm.

Take some of his recent musings following the Singapore Summit…

What the heck is he even trying to say?

Only 1 in 10,000 people could inherit a family dictatorship whereby they can simply murder dissidents and tortue people into being subservient? Answering a question on Kim Jung Un running a gulag state by praising the guy as tough and intelligent is just stupid.

Look, I get what he’s trying to do. I couldn’t care less about those protesting this from the angle of North Korea being elevated because I don’t think it matters. The sanctions aren’t going away and South Korea had already “normalized” Kim Jung Un if that’s your concern. This summit didn’t change that.

I also get that this is Trump’s schtick. He’s lazy in his language. He often says imprecise things that are cringeworthy in an attempt to butter up someone in a negotiation where his actual policy goals are laudable.

With that said, come on…no one can pull him aside and tell him that this is a dumb tact to take? There are better ways to dodge this question if the goal is to not ruffle Kim’s feathers right now.

Another comment that struck me as unhelpful was this one on the use of military force against North Korea…

Seoul has 28 million people. Think of that. It is right next to the border. It is right next to the DMZ [demilitarized zone]. It’s right there. If this would have happened — I have heard 100,000 people. I think you could have lost 20 million people or 30 million people. This is really an honor for me to do this. I think potentially you could have lost 30 million or 40 million people. The city of Seoul. It is right next to the border.

This is nonsensical. The idea that North Korea could of killed 30 to 40 million people had we attacked them has zero basis in reality.

For starters, the vast majority of North Korea’s conventional artillery are not in a position to reach Seoul and they suck at ranging it anyway. That’s something we’ve seen when they tried to bombard a South Korean island some years ago. Only 20% of shells even made it to land, much less on target. Their ballistic missiles wouldn’t carry nuclear weapons at this juncture as their technology isn’t quite there yet and they’d almost certainly be shot down by our missile defense systems anyway.

There’s actually not that much fire power that could make it through to the populated areas in a live fire situation (I realize there are lots of doomsday predictions out there, but I don’t buy them based on my research of their capabilities).

Secondly, Seoul is effectively one big bomb shelter with the ability to harbor nearly 85% of it’s residents almost immediately.

I won’t belabor the point, but I’m one that believes we could actually attack North Korea with very few civilian casualties in the South. Most of their capabilities would be destroyed before they’d even have time to react. Just as the death tolls were insanely overestimated in the first Gulf War (tens of thousands vs. the few hundred that ultimately died), I think a lot of the estimates you see floating around on a North Korea attack are to scare monger by those who simply oppose military action.

That’s not to say there’s no risk, but by positing that the human toil of an attack would be so ridiculously, unrealistically large, the President is essentially taking military action off the table. How can we attack the North Koreans now if we really think 30 to 40 million people will die? From a negotiating standpoint, showing your cards in that way is a big mistake and exactly the kind of thing Trump insisted he wouldn’t do.

Lazy rhetoric like this hurts the President’s cause in the end. Over the past six months, it appeared he had cleaned his act up in regards to just saying outright stupid things (I realize some of the insults on twitter bother people but that’s not my concern here). There was a regression the past few days that is disappointing. Someone in the West Wing needs to explain how idiotic he sounds, even if it risks their job to do so.

I realize that saying this might make me unpopular among some of his more serious supporters, but I’ve always said I’ll call balls and strikes on Trump. I don’t belabor a lot of the moral stuff from his past because I think it’s pointless. He’s President, I can’t change that, and I even support most of what he’s done. I think a lot of the daily criticisms are meaningless politics.

These latest statements deserve to be called what they are though. Stupid, dumb, and unhelpful. He needs to do better. This isn’t musing about crowd sizes. It’s serious.