What’s going on this year? Is everyone trying to lose this damned election?

Let’s go back a to March 29 and a GOP candidate town hall meeting in Milwaukee for Donald Trump emceed by Anderson Cooper. In it, Trump was more or less clear about the fact that a) he thought nuclear non-proliferation was a failed idea and b) if North Korea was demonstrated to have a nuclear weapon then it was logical to expect Japan and the South Korea to go nuclear. The latter two countries could do so in a matter of only a very few months… if not less.

COOPER: That’s what you said to The New York Times. You said you worried about the proliferation of nuclear weapons…

TRUMP: Right.

COOPER: … the most. You also said, though, that you might support Japan and South Korea developing nuclear weapons of their own. Isn’t that completely contradictory?

COOPER: It has been a U.S. policy for decades to prevent Japan from getting a nuclear weapon.

TRUMP: That might be policy, but maybe…

COOPER: South Korea as well.

TRUMP: Can I be honest are you? Maybe it’s going to have to be time to change, because so many people, you have Pakistan has it, you have China has it. You have so many other countries are now having it…

meh. Not exactly true. Both Japan and the ROK are signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty so it hasn’t been “a U.S. policy for decades.” Japan is further constrained by a constitution that forbids it to have nuclear weapons. It also can’t have an army, navy, or air force but we see how that has turned out.

TRUMP: Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen, anyway. It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them entirely.

But you have so many countries already, China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia, you have so many countries right now that have them.

Now, wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons? And they do have them. They absolutely have them. They can’t – they have no carrier system yet but they will very soon.

Wouldn’t you rather have Japan, perhaps, they’re over there, they’re very close, they’re very fearful of North Korea, and we’re supposed to protect.

Inarticulate to be sure, in fact, a lot of verbal flailing about. But the main point he made was that if North Korea demonstrated it had offensive nuclear capability it was rather inevitable that Japan and South Korea would arm themselves similarly.

ThinkProgress had the vapors.

The Washington Post found a couple of obscure academics to claim that non-proliferation was not inevitable (strangely, no mention of India, Pakistan, North Korea, or Iran in the article) and that letting Japan and South Korea go nuclear would reduce US influence.

So now we have Joe freakin Biden, America’s Rain Man, the guy hoping like hell Hillary gets indicted, on a trip to China. This is by way of the English edition of the South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo:

Biden Warns of Japanese Nuclear Armament

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has warned Chinese President Xi Jinping that Japan may arm itself with nuclear weapons if North Korea’s nuclear development remains unchecked.

Japan could go nuclear “virtually overnight,” unless Beijing does more to rein in North Korea, Biden told Charlie Rose on PBS on Monday.

“When I tell President Xi, you have to understand we got a guy up there in North Korea who is talking about building weapons that can strike, nuclear weapons strike the United States and not only Hawaii and Alaska, but… the mainland of the United States,” Biden said. “And I say, so we’re going to move up our defense system, and he says no, no, no, wait a minute, my military thinks you’re going to try to circle us.”

Biden was talking about the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system that Washington is pushing Seoul into deploying here.

“And what happens… if we don’t work out something together on North Korea?” he added. “What happens if Japan, who could tomorrow, could go nuclear tomorrow? They have the capacity to do it virtually overnight.”

There is literally no difference at all in what Trump said and what Biden says. The difference being that one of these statements was made by a Cheeto-colored charlatan and the other is the official policy of the United States.