Mr Trump’s threats

It is not easy being the world’s superpower. Mr Trump swept into office on a programme of America First. He envisaged doing good deals for the USA. He did not seem keen on military interventions around the world of the kind favoured by the Clintons and the Bushes, by the State department and the Pentagon. Many people warmed to the idea that the west had intervened too much. Maybe the west had resorted to arms in too many cases where it did not have the political ability and influence to settle things well after its force had dislodged dictators or unsettled evil regimes.

Mr Trump has avoided escalation of military involvement in the Middle East. He has tried rapprochement with Russia, though this has been badly knocked by outraged Democrat opposition seeking to allege that it was all to do with Russian help for his election campaign. Just as it seemed he was turning to the main economic matters which dominated his election statements, the absurd and unpleasant dictator of North Korea decides to provoke and taunt the USA with stories of breakthroughs in weaponry, tests of missile systems, and his usual threatening language.

US policy seemed to be based on the diplomatic playbook. The State department engaged with the UN and the leading powers Russia, China and Japan to back an important UN Resolution. This pledges all to seek diplomatic solutions, whilst imposing much tougher sanctions which seek to block one third of all North Korea’s exports by value. There are also travel bans and other restrictions imposed on 9 senior officials and four institutions of the North Korean state.

It therefore looked as if it came as a surprise to the US establishment when Mr Trump started talking of massive military responses should North Korea threaten the USA and its allies and territories. They soon came into line with their President and pictures emerged of the kind of weaponry the US could deploy from Guam and their carriers if need arose. This builds on the traditional exercises conducted annually with South Korea under previous Presidents to display to North Korea ability to fight and resolve to defend.

Some think Mr Trump was right to speak in the kind of language the No0rth Korea dictator uses. Others think it is unhelpful and gives too much publicity to North Korea. I would be interested in your views.


  1. APL
    August 13, 2017

    JR: “Some think Mr Trump was right to speak in the kind of language the No0rth Korea dictator uses.”

    Scott Adams makes a plausible case that Trump and Tillerson are effectively playing the role of ‘good cop, bad cop’, using the tools of persuasion to bring Kim il Jong to the negotiating table. Il Jong: Trump is mad, we’ll negotiate with Tillerson.

    Let’s look at Trump’s record, he’s built a billion dollar empire. He’s apparently been bankrupted more than once, which speaks to his resilience and determination and more recently, he came out of nowhere and knocked every Republican piece off the chess board and went on to ‘mate’ the opposing Queen. ( Horrible thought, but it amused me.)

    I’m with Trump, I don’t think he wants a war with N Korea, but we are watching his much vaunted negotiating skills in action.

    He is also exposing the duplicity of China too.

    Could we get Trump to advise the BREXIT negotiations?

    1. Lifelogic
      August 13, 2017

      I am broadly with Trump too on this. I do not really see that his strong language will make things worse and it might well help to deter North Korea.

      Menzies Campbell on Any Questions yesterday was totally wrong on almost every issue, just as one would expect. He seemed to think anyone should be fired if they write something that offends (even if it is obviously true). He seemed to want a complete end to all free speech.

      But three cheers for the excellent Kemi Badenoch MP, an engineering graduate, who sensibly defended the sacked Google employee. Sacked simply for telling the proveable truth and doing very politely, in a very balanced internal memo. A truth that is very clear from all the statistics. Men and women, on average, simply do not choose to study the same subjects, nor the same work life balance choices. Physics, Further Maths and Computer Studies, in particular, have a very low percentage of females.

      Something that Google must know very well, just from looking at their search data brocken down by gender or by searching A level gender data for example. They seem to want their staff to be rational when designing their systems but not be rational when anything related to gender politics arises.

    2. Simon
      August 13, 2017

      Trump has never been bankrupt. A couple of his subsidiary companies have filed for Chapter 11.

      1. Hope
        August 13, 2017

        He has delivered unlike May. His extreme vetting is now in place, migration from Mexico severely curtailed, Paris agreement scrapped, putts no US citizens first, second and last. He dropped a huge bomb in Afghanistan on terrorists- more to send a message than effect. Sacked a few disloyal servants. Not caving in to the press and still says what he wants when he wants.

        May responsible for three atrocities in London and we are still unsafe from her mass immigration and insecure borders, Brexit still dithering nine months to send a letter FFS. Hammond and Carney scare mongering and still in place, Grayling and Gove allowed to scare people to damage economy and car production at a time when we need it- FYI petrol under a pound a gallon in South Carolina, can you see the US, Russia, China, or India going electric by the same time! Govt still following EU policy. We read in the DT how another Pakistani Banagladshy gang convicted for child abuse on white girls under the heading we prefer to allow child abuse than be called racist.

        May trying to speak for Trump. He does not need it. She is the one with the problems of weakness, PC crap, BBC propaganda allowed and encouraged with the Govt doing absolutely nothing as usual. This applies to all key areas that need addressing. Empty words from May. Man of action Trump.

  2. Bryan Harris
    August 13, 2017

    “Some think Mr Trump was right to speak in the kind of language the No0rth Korea dictator uses.”

    Of course you have to say something the other side will understand…. apart from anything else you shouldn’t pacify such people. You certainly do not ignore or back away from such bullies, as obama would have done.

    The democrats are still bitter that they didn’t win the presidency, after they imagined they had gotten it all sewn up, and will do everyhing they can to disrupt Trump, it seems. Who can trust such people?

    The world is concerned that North Korea could start a war to end all wars, and end civilisation on Earth at the same time, but they miss the war the democrats, and other socialists, are already waging against civilisation, and us all.

    With a left leaning media, Trump will never get anything right, according to them. It’s high time we stopped being influenced by those that can only put a negative view on everyhing they oppose.

    1. Pragmatist
      August 13, 2017

      North Korea has in fact only threatened retaliation in regard to the use of nuclear weapons against its people…a fact which has been lost in our Fake News and daft commentary. The four missiles threatened were not to be armed nor entering any nation’s territorial waters or land and were in response to a distinct and stated threat by America.
      The UK tested rockets at Woomera and they did not meet North Korean expertise. But no communist nation threatened Britain or Australia with “Fire and Fury”.
      The People’s Republic of China, because of threats of a pre-emptive nuclear bombardment of major Chinese cities, with a loss of population in the hundreds of millions advocated by extreme US Republicans decided to build semi-autonomous towns and villages each with the ability to produce its own steel, guns, food, water supply, its own militia. The West criticised it as “An economic disaster” It was, but a miracle of military expertise and strategy attributed to MaoTsetung. And…so…it…was…
      To understand the enemy, North Korea, you must understand the enemy. Why they behave in such a “OTT” manner.

    2. Hope
      August 13, 2017

      Trumps language will force China and Russia to act against North Korea. He could of course take Obahams dithering, threat red lines and do nothing approach.

  3. formula57
    August 13, 2017

    North Korea seems to wish to redefine relationships (at least to the extent of being taken more seriously) through obliging other countries to take account of its enhanced military capabilities, including allegedly a nuclear ICBM capability. That makes for a very different, more dangerous world and so I think President Trump was right to recognize that, just as President Kennedy did with regard to Cuba.

    Yet it seems that for now at least there is no nuclear missile threat to US territory from North Korea for want of any capability to land its ICBMs: –

    “All tests have shown so far that the North Koreans are nowhere near capable of actually mastering re-entry back through the thick atmospheric layers at supersonic speed. All analysis shows each ballistic missile breaking up.

    So they have the bomb, they have the missiles, but they can’t shoot the missile long or even medium range successfully, and they definitely can’t survive re-entry.”

    so says Chris Becker (10 August) at

    Mr. Trump has also said recently ” “We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary”. That sounds unnecessarily belligerent but who can say with what purpose and precision and expected effect such statement was framed.

  4. David Cockburn
    August 13, 2017

    When you are the top guy it’s best to talk quietly and carry a big stick.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 13, 2017

      Sometimes this might be true, but but sometimes this means you have to use it, when its use might perhaps have been avoided.

      Could the UK have deterred the invasion of the Faulklands for example, by using stronger more clear language?

    2. Anonymous
      August 13, 2017

      I am uneasy that he governs by Tweet.

      1. Tweety
        August 13, 2017

        Then don’t read them. Block him out. You talk like a Labour MP

        1. Anonymous
          August 13, 2017

          Tweety – They give rise to impetuousness and maybe their transmission after a dram or two in the dead of night.

          The problem is not me reading them but important people reading them.

          You talk like someone who doesn’t think things through.


          1. Deborah
            August 14, 2017

            Trump doesn’t drink.

      2. Iain Gill
        August 13, 2017

        On the contrary it’s good to hear directly what he thinks without the Chinese whispers of the media in the middle.

        He would have overwhelming support at home for military action against North Korea.

  5. Mark B
    August 13, 2017

    Good morning

    There was an incident many moons ago when the North Korean government shelled a small South Korean village near to the border. There has also been incidents where the South Korean government has invasion tunnels. The NK have consistently shown hostile actions against its neighbours and is developing weapons which it one day does intend to use
    It clearly has not given up on the idea of uniting the country through force of arms.

    President Trump is right to bring in both Russia and China on this. If NK defies them it will effectively isolate them from their allies.

    If NK launches atracks against Guam or any other location that the USA deems a hostile act it will i am sure military force. And it will be in its right to do so. What we must not have is a desire for regime change.

    Destroy the missile and WMD capacity only.

  6. Prigger
    August 13, 2017

    The former first female South Korean President Park Geun-hye Chairperson of the Cabinet, the Chief Executive of the Government, Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, and the Head of State of South Korea. 2013-2017 is on trial for corruption.

    The present Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),Kim Jong-un, 9th May 2016-…is not on trial for corruption.

    Mr Trump is personally used to speaking one to one with people in that part of the world and negotiating business deals. So is Ivanka his daughter . Mr Trump has already saad he would welcome a meeting with th North Korean Leader ( “I would be honored to meet him” ). Our Donald is the right man for the job. He should be left to get on with it. He knows what he is doing.

    1. TomTomTom
      August 13, 2017

      So your point is that the democratic South has the mechanisms, processes and independent judiciary to bring those that who hold power to account for their crimes.

      Whereas the people living in the autocratic North have no such redress.

      Which neatly illustrates why the South is a thriving society with one of the highest living standards in the world, whereas the North does not.

      1. Prigger
        August 13, 2017

        Maybe I should give up on making multi-points. Get me a snipers’ rifle instead of my chucking a grenade.
        I could say in one breath the epithets and titles of the two leaders on the Korean peninsula may be of interest.

  7. lojolondon
    August 13, 2017

    Bill Clinton signed the treaty that enabled N Korea to build nuclear weapons. Barack Obama did absolutely nothing as N Korea escalated their threats over the last decade. Trump has tried the traditional way of dealing with this rebel nation, now he is trying an unorthadox way. It is worth a try, maybe it will succeed where all else has failed.

    1. Popeye
      August 13, 2017

      Who signed the treaty enabling the USA building nuclear weapons?

      1. Denis Cooper
        August 13, 2017

        Churchill and Roosevelt:

        Well, it was an Aide Memoire which they initialed, and of course the USA would have been able to build the atomic bomb without British help.

      2. S Matthews
        August 13, 2017

        If anyone, it was us. WW2 cooperation for the Manhatten project.

  8. sm
    August 13, 2017

    I feel the US was offered an appalling choice of Presidential candidates last year. My views of Mr Trump would not be printed on this blog if I expressed them fully; I sincerely hope that the American military top brass can constrain their President from tipping the world into a devastating war.

    China’s hold over N Korea is a major bargaining tool for Peking, and the whole matter needs to be handled by those with vast political and diplomatic skills.

    1. Peter Wood
      August 13, 2017

      I think your comment ref China is correct, and they may be working on that, but the PRC needs proper motivation.
      Here’s the issue: the US has always said it will not tolerate a NK with nuclear weapons, well now its got them, so what will it do. There is no cost-free option; its either war or money, or war and money, time to chose.
      The obvious solution is for the US to tell the PRC, you can trade with NK or you can trade with us, but not both; make a choice (money is going to be spent, but its the least bad option). If the border with NK is closed off the state will collapse and then there has to be a UN sponsored, but Chinese managed, recovery plan for NK until it becomes a rational state.

    2. Iain Moore
      August 13, 2017

      I would think North Korea is more of a liability than a negotiating asset. I am surprised that Trump hasn’t tried to shift the sanctions from North Korea to those who trade with North Korea, for it is those who trade with North Korea who are supporting its attempts to attack the USA. Trump should say to the likes of China you can trade with us, ore you can trade with North Korea , but we won’t be trading with countries who are helping them attack us. This would also fit with Trump’s America first policy, for it would also have the US corporations who have off shored US jobs to China scurrying to repatriate them.

    3. Stephen Berry
      August 13, 2017

      The Left both in North America and Western Europe are still hysterical about Trump. At some point they will get over it, but that point has not yet arrived. It is hard to believe that Trump’s critical comments about vicious and criminal governments in North Korea and Venezuela would be used as a stick to beat him, but they have.

      Let’s imagine it. A small country in Eastern Europe is ruled by a bombastic and unstable dictator who has ordered members of his family to be killed abroad. This country begins a project to build nuclear missiles which the regime says are specifically targeted to hit the UK. This is followed by threats to specifically aim these weapons at Jersey, a small island under British protection. In response, the British Prime Minister warns this Eastern European country that there will be severe consequences if UK territory is attacked. Would the British Prime Minister expect to be subject to a hail of criticism in such circumstances?

      1. Denis Cooper
        August 14, 2017

        Well said.

  9. Gina Dean
    August 13, 2017

    It seems to me every time his country is in need of more food aid, he ups the military might.
    I would be interested to know just how much help in aid is sent to the country from different sources.
    Where is he getting the money to buy (or build counterfeit ) missiles.

    1. rose
      August 13, 2017

      I understand he gets the hardware for his arsenal from China.

      No-one is talking about China’s new “islands” either.

  10. eeyore
    August 13, 2017

    The usual way to run a great organisation is to have a statesman at the top and pirates at the bottom, but I believe Mr Trump has inverted this. He talks wildly, presumably in the hope of appearing unpredictable and dangerous, but seems content for his underlings to act with prudence.

    If there is a war, I suspect it may not be quite the pushover most think. It will begin with attempts to take out the other side’s IT systems. In this cheap but vital conflict of mathematicians and computer scientists there is no obvious reason why North Korea should be much less capable than the US.

    1. TomTomTom
      August 13, 2017

      Because they don’t have super-fast broadband. Only an old dial-up modem. They only have the bandwidth to launch one attack a day.

      But more seriously. The reason that North Korea will be at a disadvantage is that the West invented the net ( and computing & IT & telecoms ) and as an open society we have a much bigger talent pool to draw on for our hacker army.

      The best hackers are independent-thinking, wild, intelligent, free spirits. Not people sworn to uphold a bureaucracy.

      The best solution to North Korea though would be love-bomb the population with iPhones and strategically drop a couple of Walmarts into Pyongyang. And maybe a McDonalds and Starbucks or possibly a Costco for good measure.

      Once the population realises that they are living in the worlds largest prison, with a living standard and life expectancy a fraction of the developed world then they ain’t going to be happy.

      1. eeyore
        August 13, 2017

        TomTomTom – I take your point, and hope and expect the US has already penetrated Kim’s systems to such an extent that they may be trashed at will.

        But we don’t know. I doubt Kim launches his missiles by dial-up. However much one may deplore him he seems up for it, and we’ve already seen how the Pentagon computers can be hacked by teenagers in bedrooms.

        The worst mistake in war is to underestimate the enemy. All Kim needs is one computer genius. Perhaps he has one.

        1. TomTomTom
          August 14, 2017

          ” All Kim needs is one computer genius. Perhaps he has one.”

          I think that is overplaying the importance of IT. And I speak as a person who has spent their entire life working in IT.

          I used to install the IT into some fairly complex environments for a large UK company. All our important “control” systems are isolated from, not just the internet, but the corporate networks too. You had to be physically present to access the systems that really mattered. The ones that could shut down the plants.

          The rest of the corporate IT world? Well that’s as vulnerable as ever but compared to the impact of a bombing war I have no doubt that the population would rapidly learn to cope without being able to access Facebook.

          People cope with adversity and although there might be some short-term economic damage and inconvenience we’d soon adjust, close our vulnerabilities and get on with life.

          So they could try … but it wouldn’t achieve much. The truth is that there are thousands of “attacks” going on every day already and if IT was that vulnerable you can bet your bottom dollar that it would have already been exploited by ruthless hacker-mafia types.

          Occasionally they “succeed” ( witness the “NHS Hack” of a couple of months ago ) but as we saw then the impact was very limited.

  11. Norman
    August 13, 2017

    The North Korean regime is indeed absurd – however, we have a whole people enslaved under a dictator reminiscent of Romania’s Ceauscescu. It would be tragic if they were led into a confrontation with the USA, in which millions could die there, and in the region.
    The real confrontation here of course is with China. China’s expansionist policy in the East China Sea is upsetting a number of America’s allies, effectively being challenged by the only superpower that has the muscle. There is also a collaborative link with Iran, another Pariah that wants to challenge America, especially with regard to the destruction of Israel.
    This is a real headache for America. Despite the rhetoric on both sides, diplomatic and defensive containment is the best policy. But it shows that this is still a dangerous world, where effective defence and sound diplomatic influence are still vital for the survival of Western democratic freedom – not to mention the not inconsiderable threats from within!
    Meanwhile, thousands of dissenters languish in North Korean labour camps, again, reminiscent of the worst days of Communism in Romania, USSR and elsewhere. To answer your question, I guess Trump would not be Trump, if he did not shout back – but hopefully, resolute diplomacy behind the scenes will prevail.

  12. E.S Tablishment
    August 13, 2017

    A former British Ambassador to North Korea on TV in the last few months said “You have to realise that Kim Jong-un is really a medieval dictator. He controls everything and everone must be totally loyal to him.”
    I am British and as such it is hard for me to look upon this comment as though not. But let me try. What is missing from the former Ambassador’s comment is a personal indication of “medieval dictator”. He must have been referring to our UK history. So, why did he not say “Kim Jong-un is behaving like Elizabeth I of England” Understanding why such a reference did not slip easily from his 2017 tongue explains what is in the heart and essence of North Koreans and their Leader, in some ways, ……in my opinion.
    So, Trump, King of America, can shout as he pleases with the King of North Korea and vice-versa. A King may fight a King and it is not for minions to decide if they may or may not. We should uinderstand it and step above the grovelling overpaid joutnalists of the Fake News BBC who understand nought but the the bigness of their stipend.

    1. sm
      August 13, 2017

      I’m afraid you need to learn a bit more about English history.

      From the reign of Edward l when the roots of Parliament were first established, English monarchs and the occasional proto-dictator found that sooner or later – and with the assistance of the nobility – their attempts to rule by personal whim without challenge would fail.

      And Elizabeth the First was not a mediaeval Queen, a period which is generally considered as closing when Henry Vll usurped the throne in 1485.

      1. E.S Tablishment
        August 13, 2017

        You help make one of my points for me, your comment as enlarged example. Perhaps the main point, though I fear my lack of skill in writing prevented my conveying it adequately for you

  13. Nig l
    August 13, 2017

    I think he is doing the right thing with Putin, there has to be dialogue, certainly he shows no sign of being worried about sabre rattling or sanctions, both used internally to demonstrate the West being ante Russian, thus boosting his support. With North Korea the real work is the quiet diplomacy going on behind the scenes which as the UN resolution indicates seems to be working bringing the major powers onside, especially China.

    Unless all NKs guns are made of cardboard presumably they could do some serious damage to the South by firing over the border so provoking that cannot be an option.

    The show of strength is for internal consumption. The American people like to show theirs is bigger than anyone else’s.

  14. margaret
    August 13, 2017

    We are certainly not used to this flexing of muscles and it is frightening. If North Korea were to carry out its threats ( and the spoilt boy North Korean president looks as though he might stamp his feet) there would certainly be more countries involved in any damage.

    What is said is said. Trump cannot take it away. So where does he go from here? Let others seek a diplomatic solution and hope these ego’s fade away.

  15. Duncan
    August 13, 2017

    The threat isn’t Trump but China. The former is a product of democracy. The latter is an authoritarian, totalitarian, hard-line communist nation. We need to remember that

    I have always been of the opinion that North Korea is a Chinese proxy and that China is and has in the past used it as such in its geopolitical struggle with the US and its Asian interests

    It is inconceivable that a closed nation like N Korea should be able to develop the military technology it does without outside support.

    The main issue the political class in the west face is not NK but Chinese expansionism. Do we simply accept the possibility that in 30 years or so time that the US, a liberal democracy and our main ally, will not be the foremost military power in the world or do we decide to stand up and confront Chinese military expansionism especially in one of the world’s major trading supply lines, the South China Sea?

    The usual coterie of ‘illiberal left’ interest groups may swivel their empty heads while they scream at Trump the usual litany of empty, personal slanders but as ever their closed minds fail to see the real threat, a China that is absolutely determined to replace the USA as the world’s only military superpower

    As an aside, Trump’s election victory, and indeed Brexit, is a sure sign that US (and UK) democracy is healthy and functioning well and that no amount of media intervention and the peddling of creative news output is able to sway the independent minds of free thinking peoples.

  16. Old Albion
    August 13, 2017

    I will never be a fan of Trump. He seems to be a very rich buffoon who has little or no political creedence.
    However, I have less time for Kim Jong Un. He is a foolish boy who has come to power for no better reason than he inherited it from his equally foolish father.
    He is trying to play the big man by threatening the US and the Democratic world. He is cocooned from the reality by the sycophantic regime of NK but doesn’t understand the potential consequences of his actions.
    Meanwhile the Left seek to blame Trump for all of this, instead of getting behind him.

    Should NK launch any sort of attack on the US, there will be repercussions and rightly so.
    Kim Jong Un will find himself leader of a smouldering hellhole where once NK stood.

  17. agricola
    August 13, 2017

    Unlike the majority in the political pond who run from the thought of annunciating reality, the Donald says it as it is. The only one on this side of the Atlantic who does the same is Nigel Farage. Not surprising that they discovered an affinity for each other.

    Should ………. the pipsqueak from North Korea really step out of line he can expect annihilation . Even the Russians and Chinese seem to be telling him that. Think what we might have avoided if Hitler had been shown the same resolve.

    Just as the Donald has been a refreshing change in US domestic politics, so is he in the international arena. It is precisely why he gathers so much opprobrium from the Democrats, socialists of every colour, luvies, and much of the left inclined press. If he can unite in voice such a disparate gathering he must be a force for good. The Nay Sayers and Hand Wringers in the US, Europe, and among the political classes in the UK could learn a lot, but will they?

    1. agricola
      August 14, 2017

      Do you not think it is about time you moderated this contribution and at the same time explained why it offends you. Then everyone can make up their own minds.

    2. agricola
      August 14, 2017

      For information El Gordo is the Christmas lottery here in Spain. Roughly translated it is the fat one. In use not entirely inaccurate I think.

  18. I am the egg man
    August 13, 2017

    Ex-politician, Ex-Contender for Labour Party leader, Ex-patriate, David Miliband and Ex-Contender for Prime Minister, Ex-Labour Party Leader, Ex-Shadow Labour Cabinet member , Ex-Front Bench Ed-Miliband are as popular as a pair of Dutch eggs.

  19. A.Sedgwick
    August 13, 2017

    I would have voted for Mr.Trump and nothing has changed my mind. Obama was a weak President and made world situations worse. President Truman is said to have agonised over using atomic weapons in the Korean war, having authorised their use on Japan in 1945. The problem has not gone away after 60+ years and any outcome is possible. The key is obviously China and they should be persuaded to make N.Korean nuclear free, otherwise I cannot see the USA allowing a fully nuclear capable N.Korea to be permitted.

  20. Dave Andrews
    August 13, 2017

    Kim Jung Un looks like he just might be mad enough to launch a nuclear weapon. One wonders whether at the crucial moment he would shrink back and think better of it, but in a fit of rage, and not to look weak in front of his generals, perhaps he might just do it.
    The problem is the leader, not the people of North Korea trapped in a dictatorship, but who will have to suffer the deprivation of sanctions on top of everything else.
    I favour a limited strike, with the centrifuges targeted and other apparatus of the nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems. This man must not have nuclear ICBM capability under his fingertips.
    Don’t try regime change, although that might have better results than the Arab states. Just keep him in a box until he is replaced by natural causes with a hopefully more benign government.

  21. fedupsoutherner
    August 13, 2017

    I wouldn’t want to be a citizen of South Korea at the moment. Imagine what it must be like having a mad man at the helm in a country with a border with yours. The threats coming from Jong are goading the USA and I feel he is hoping that Russia and China side with him. I can’t see how this can happen if he launches missiles at Guam like he is threatening to do but I can see this is how world wars can start.

    Trump is right to tell Jong what they are capable of under threat just as he is right to try and enter into dialog with Putin and China. Trump seems to have experienced and sensible military men under his control and I trust they will do the right thing. The UN has to be involved too. Perhaps Jong has been allowed to get away with too much by the UN. After all, they have warned him that firing off his missiles is illegal but he still defies them. There comes a time when push goes to shove and we are getting close. I believe Trump is not being allowed to get on with home policies because the Democrats are willing him to fail so they can say they told us so. Pathetic! Bit like the Remainiacs in the UK. They want Brexit to fail so they can be seen to be right and damn the consequences.

  22. JoolsB
    August 13, 2017

    I’m with Trump all the way. The left would have us ‘talking’ until the cows come home whilst simultaneously disarming our nuclear capability. Talking doesn’t work with dictators like Kim Jong-un. People like him laugh at the weakness of western leaders. I would go one step further if I was Trump and arrange for this evil man and his gang to meet with some terrible ‘accident’. No doubt the people of NK would be elated as it is obvious they all live in fear for their lives if they don’t openly show support for this evil monster.

  23. William Long
    August 13, 2017

    Trump’s approach seems to have got the Chinese to bring their considerable influence to bear which must be good. The big question though is whether, if it came to it, he would actually put, or be allowed to put, his threats into practice. It is never a good thing to threaten chastisement you cannot deliver because it raises the risk of your bluff being called.
    I do not see any problem about more publicity for North Korea; it will achieve that itself anyway. On the basis that it takes one to judge another, Kim Jong-un might just believe the rhetoric and modify his course accordingly.

  24. Lifelogic
    August 13, 2017

    Why is the government so against people investing in properties to rent out, we need more of it and indeed more properties to buy too. It encourages mobility of workers and supply reduces rents.

    When Mrs Thatcher was PM they actually gave tax relief to encourage more of it under the BES scheme. Why punish tenants and force rents up by restricting property supply, by over taxing and restricting lending by government dictat? Hammond is, as usual, totally misguided in his many attacks on landlords and thus tenants.

    1. graham1946
      August 13, 2017

      What on earth has this to do with the subject at hand?

      JR why do you publish these copy and pastes everyday sometimes several times a day whilst other more sensible posts are held in moderation? Does LL have direct access without mod?

      1. Bert Young
        August 13, 2017

        I agree . Most responses are interesting and stick to the topic . LL ought to have more consideration . Disciplines have been indicated before for responders to adhere to .

      2. The Prangwizard
        August 13, 2017

        Good point. It hadn’t ocurred to me before but you are quite right.

      3. Anonymous
        August 13, 2017


        But while we’re at it Renter = Labour voter.

        Thatcher knew it well.

  25. Iain Moore
    August 13, 2017

    Trump was correct when he said the US was too predictable , being predictable allows the despots to push the boundaries , if they aren’t sure where the boundaries are then it is doubtful they will be prepared to try their luck to the extent they are. With the suave erudite Obama, much loved by our metropolitan classes, even these boundaries didn’t exist , when North Korea ripped up an agreement he did nothing, even red lines he drew proved non existent. Now that is dangerous. Trump’s flowery language might be not be the words I would choose, but if he manages to get the despots second guessing the USA , instead of the West running like headless chickens trying to respond to despots demands, then he would have done us all a favour.

  26. NHSGP
    August 13, 2017

    1. You have to be clear. Missles raining on the US will produce a response

    2. China. Give them a choice. Remove the regime in NK or the US will put in place stringent import checks on all containers to check nothing from NK is being imported from the countries with borders crossings to NK.

    China then has to decide. Take out KJU or have lots of unemployed people.

  27. Bert Young
    August 13, 2017

    Long before Trump became President , North Korea was proclaiming its military strength and threat to other countries ; it relied – as it does now , on the complicity of China . Without China North Korea is a country devoid of any growth or future . Trump was right to insist on China becoming an active partner in this problem and offered continuing trade with them if they complied .

    The response China recently made on remaining “neutral” if N. Korea embarked on further forms of provocation was a mistake ; of course if missiles are launched on Guam Trump has to retaliate and prove that it is not in anyone’s interest to provoke the USA . The regime in N.Korea adds nothing to its people or to the rest of the world ; the control it exerts is based purely on fear and nothing else . I would like to see its people living in a democratic state and able to communicate freely with its relatives South of its border

    China is the real key to the way forward and Trump has to come to some sort of a deal with them if a major conflict is to be avoided . China’s own interest in exploiting contested areas of the S.Pacific does not help ; they have nothing to gain by adding to unrest ; meanwhile we – as onlookers can only keep our fingers crossed .

  28. Bob
    August 13, 2017

    It’s inconceivable that the U.S. would not retaliate if Kim launched missiles at it’s air base on Guam. Trump has drawn a line in the sand, Kim will not cross it.

  29. rose
    August 13, 2017

    Obama has left Trump with a heck of a lot on his plate: Putin allowed into the Mediterranean – where was the Sixth Fleet during those eight years? – and elsewhere in the US sphere of influence; Iran allowed to develop its capabilities; China allowed to build its islands; North Korea allowed to get this far with missiles. And somehow it is all now Trump’s fault!

    I like the tweats. They are clear, and they sum up the situation in a way the MSM never does. The language is normal, not PC jargon and euphemism, and it is right for an American president to communicate with his own citizens and the rest of the world without the MSM tampering with the text in order to distort its meaning.

    He is a good picker – apart from Scaramucci – and we are probably better off now than we were with Obama and Mrs Clinton, or would have been with the Clintons and whoever.

    I don’t agree with people saying he and Kim are mad, narcissistic, etc. That is just lazy commentary and not based on real knowledge of the men.

    We will just have to wait and see whether Trump can frighten the Chinese into changing sides, but with Obama having given them a free rein for so long, that is a tall order.

    1. rose
      August 13, 2017

      PS the Chinese have a choice: either risk war and chaos with refugees flooding in; or American withdrawal, leaving South Korea and Japan to arm themselves with nuclear weapons, and anyone else round there who fears an American vacuum; or stop aiding North Korea and do something to render it harmless.

      1. rose
        August 13, 2017

        PPS sorry, tweets.

  30. Denis Cooper
    August 13, 2017

    Off-topic, I’m sorry to have to keep carping on about this but today there are important public policy announcements contained in an Sunday Telegraph article jointly authored by Philip Hammond and Liam Fox, which as far as I can see is only available in the printed copy of the newspaper and not on its website, and which could in any case only be read on that website by those who have subscribed for its premium content.

    I look to see whether the content of this article has been also published on an official rather than commercial website where it would be freely available to all UK citizens with internet access and could be referenced through a website address, but looking at the obvious place, the website of the Department for Exiting the European Union:

    I find that it is not reproduced there.

    Or least not yet, maybe tomorrow during normal working hours there will be a duty officer in the Rapid Response Unit of that department, and then we will be allowed to see exactly what these two Cabinet ministers actually said in their joint article. Or maybe not, since it seems that there is still no Rapid Response Unit to rebut the constant stream of Remoaner propaganda, which has already started up about this Sunday Telegraph article.

    I’m not sure who started up this practice of making public policy announcements through favoured private publications but it’s time for it to be stopped.

    Reply They are restating government policy as often reported on this website and reflecting the White Paper. There is NEWS! The government is leaving the single market and customs union as well as the EU as I have always told you it will. Parliament voted for that recently! Surely you understand that?

    1. Hope
      August 14, 2017

      Very rude JR, to a well respected contributer. Your reply does not state when we will actually leave. We heard so many lies and deceit statements by your respective leaders you ought to exercise more caution. Dennis and many others have every right to doubt the veracity of the statement. You might also recall we voted to leave and we were assured by Cameron the letter would be sent the following day- tell us what part was true? We did not vote for a transitional deal lasting years or our taxes to continue to be wasted on the EU. We expected to be gone by 2019 no longer. We had every delay your govt could contour up. Now this. Enough. Get on with it.

  31. graham1946
    August 13, 2017

    The big losers will be South Korea. NK has enough conventional weaponry to cause serious damage and loss of life there, if in a fit of pique NK was to launch an attack after a failed one on Guam.
    NK will not obliterate the USA (I doubt their rockets could even reach, but if one was fired that way (and it would be only one at a time), Pyongyang would be evaporated before it hit. Even the terminally stupid Kim Jong Un knows this and will back down or more likely just quietly let the thing lie.
    What to do about the future is of more concern as they will continue their research until they can develop reliable weapons. We must press China to stop this happening and surely they must be made to see that support for NK is not worth the candle and remove the threat one way or another. The problem with China is that their outlook is all about honour and we must never be in a position of not letting them out without loss of face.

  32. Peter
    August 13, 2017

    It would seem that North Korea are tweaking the lion’s tail.

    You can either ignore/excuse it or respond. Your response can be couched in diplomatic terms or in plain language.

    I would be very concerned at possible escalation if I was a citizen in South Korea. Less so if I was a citizen in Kansas.

    I don’t know the answer. I think China do not wish to see an expansion of American hegemony in the region. So in the past they have indulged North Korea with the result that the country is now pushing boundaries.

  33. bigneil
    August 13, 2017

    The North Korean dictator ? – -haven’t we got Merkel and pals behaving just the same for the EU countries? Take their money, demand those countries take in their “quota” of foreigners – -while at the same time the EU hires private planes so they can zoom around in luxury. Must be so nice just wasting other people’s money while you do everything you can to destroy the people’s whose money you have took.

  34. Denis Cooper
    August 13, 2017

    In another Sunday Telegraph article Christopher Booker persists with his delusion that the non-EU members of the EEA escape being classed as “third countries” by the EU:

    “At last week’s Dublin Horse Show, a “Brexit Equine Forum” discussed the consequences for Ireland’s horse racing and bloodstock industries of Britain’s decision, by leaving the European Economic Area, to become what the EU calls a “third country”.”

    He has it wrong, apparently our two Cabinet ministers have it right:

    “We are both clear that during this [interim or transitional] period the UK will be outside the single market and outside the customs union and will be a ‘third-country’ not party to EU treaties.”

    It is any country which is “not party to the EU treaties” which is classed by the EU as being a “third country”, not any country which is not a party to the EEA Agreement, and among the 160-odd non-EU countries around the world that “third country” category includes Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein as three EFTA members in the EEA, and indeed also Switzerland as the fourth EFTA member but not in the EEA.

  35. Simon
    August 13, 2017

    It might make our senior politicians feel engaged and importaht and hence useful and relevant as opposed to being redundant troughers, to become involved in these matters by inviting the common proletariat to comment.

    In reality on this issue, the UK and hence its politicos are completely irrelevant. The days of Empire and the UK as a world power are long gone.

    Mr Redwood would be far better employed using his undoubted intellect to help the government develop any kind of coherent Brexit plan.

    Reply I am doing that and am capable of talking about mote than one thing!

    1. RDM
      August 13, 2017

      Impressive! 😗

  36. hefner
    August 13, 2017

    As I don’t pretend to be a general not even an armchair general, I take my information from various places: the one I feel most in agreement with appeared in The Atlantic, Aug.8, 2017: ” Why Trump is wholly unsuited to the North Korean crisis”.

  37. jonP
    August 13, 2017

    Trump is (word left out ed)and the people who voted for him, mostly creationists all are (foolish ed)too- rednecks. For this reason we can say that democracy is not suited to all, there should be some qualification to pass for those allowed to vote- even general knowledge would do.

    Look at what happened in this country when we allowed all to have a vote on brexit and now to see the mess we are in. For this reason I say only parliament should have a vote on these important issues. Unfortunately the uneducated are conditioned too much by what they read in the Sun and the Mail Etc, the rag press,and never read anything else by way of balance. Of course the politicians know this and pander to them, and as I say, we are in a terrible mess. Today I read that Liam Fox is going for the cliff edge. Wow!

    Reply Parliament voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU and a majority if all mps voted to leave tge singke market. Who do you so hate democracy? Why did the elite keep damaging us as with the ERM and banking crash?

    1. Denis Cooper
      August 14, 2017

      So you disagree with those who want us to have a second vote on Brexit.

  38. Garretg
    August 13, 2017

    Trump (allegation left out ed) The generals are going to have to nurse him along for the next three and a half years.

    Turning to the home front, hammond and fox have pledged to go for a total exit from the EU in march 2019 and instead say they are going for a transitional arrangement for a few years. They forget that any agreement for the future, transitional or otherwise, will have to be agreed by the EU 27, then the Commission, and then the EU parliament. If just one country absents itself… then what else? the cliff edge

    1. Denis Cooper
      August 14, 2017

      ……. how often does it have to be said that this will be a negotiation, and of course the other side may not agree with everything that we want? First it’s “The UK government won’t say what it wants”, then it’s “Well they’ve said what they want but not in every minute detail”, and then it’s “But they may not get everything that they want”. Oh, and before it was “The UK government is being very slow in deciding what it wants”, this morning in the Times it’s “The UK government is rushing decisions on what it wants”. Whine, whine, whine, bloody endless pointless whining … if you have nothing useful or interesting to say. why don’t you just shut up?

  39. Bert Young
    August 13, 2017

    It is 5pm and I’ve caught up with all the responses to today’s blog . I note again with sadness that mine is still being “moderated” . I posted my thoughts on this at 9.23am and since then there have been responses ( some off topic ) . Where am I going wrong or missing the point ?. If it is preferred , I will no longer participate .

    1. fedupsoutherner
      August 14, 2017


      Don’t worry Bert. I feel the same. I put in very uncontroversial comments that are still awaiting moderation and some that don’t get listed at all. Waste of time sometimes especially when I trawl through some facts and figures and JR doesn’t bother to print them. One subject in particular – Scottish wind energy!! I too am thinking of giving up. There are others on this blog that get away with numerous posts about all sorts of topics and get them printed every day. They are obviously doing something right.

      Reply Your comments get delayed when they are long or if they simply refer to a site I do not know and need to check out.

      1. margaret
        August 14, 2017

        Reply to reply ;-Are you getting paid for running and organising this blog site or are the complaints about your management simply unfair and rude… Some people !

        Reply Not only is it unpaid, but I pay the service provider to run the tec side.

  40. PaulDirac
    August 13, 2017

    This has become an existential problem for the USA.
    The DPK is one of the instruments China is using in its attempt to grow outside its land and sea confinement, China want’s the USA to retreat from the China sea to allow China to dominate all the nations bordering it.
    The DPK is playing the same game but it’s target is the conquest of S. Korea, which can’t be done without neutralizing the USA i.e acquiring credible deterrent of a few tens of nuclear tipped ICBM’s.
    Clinton, Bush (43) and Obama failed to act on a difficult problem, which has now become existential for the USA, what Trump will do is a “mystery wrapped in enigma”.

    It is very improbable that the DPK will actually disarm, and even more improbable that China will change it’s strategic long term plans, so Trump must act now or lose.

    I note one interesting fact; The speed at which the DPK has moved from liquid fuel missiles to solid fuel, note also the number of missile types and their sheer number, pretty amazing for such a small country. Also the rapid development of a miniaturized nuclear warhead.
    I raise the possibility that the DPK had major amount of help from a friend on both of these huge technological breakthroughs.
    Logically this could be China or Russia, my money is on China.

    1. Mitchel
      August 14, 2017

      I agree with you ,it’s an existential problem for the USA-and whether they can still successfully project power.

      How does the US save face,given that China is seeking to erase US influence in the region and some of the smaller powers,perhaps seeing which way the wind is blowing,have been seeking warmer relations with China?

      The Chinese government mouthpiece,The Global Times,stated on Friday that “If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean peninsular,China will prevent them from doing so.”

      Re your final point,if true I would very much doubt it would be Russia who,whilst sharing China’s disdain for the possibility of a united Korea in the western orbit,have absolutely no interest in arming Korea with sophisticated weapons.

  41. Dennis
    August 13, 2017

    The EU is helping N. Korea. I saw the documentary about the N. Koreans working in a factory in Holland. Perhaps when or if they go home they will tell their cohorts how good or bad the EU is.

  42. ChrisS
    August 13, 2017

    The world would be facing the worst possible situation when North Korea has deliverable Nuclear weapons.

    Consider the real situation in the country : Kim is an absolute dictator. He has demonstrated the most extreme violence to his own relatives and executed generals for the slightest of reasons.

    In short, nobody in Pyongyang would dare attempt to counsel this madman to reign back his rhetoric because they would almost certainly end up before a firing squad or strapped to the barrel of an anti-aircraft gun.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that, when he gets deliverable nuclear weapons, Kim will use them. I think that western politicians realise this but can’t face the possible outcome of an attempt to decapitate the regime at the very top.

    I believe the senior military in North Korea would welcome the demise of their leader. They know that whatever kim decides to do he cannot be reasoned with and their very lives are at risk every single day. All it would take would be one poor decision or the slightest disagreement with the Great Leader.

  43. anon
    August 13, 2017

    A message has been sent, in a number of ways. They have all been consistent.

    Diplomacy will now take the strain as it should. We look foward to other interested nations , talking with their neighbours to and helping engineer an outcome acceptable for the short and longer term.

    The first step will be economic sanctions (with alternatives offered) probably not led by the US but more pragmatic business like countries in the East via the UN.

  44. John
    August 14, 2017

    With out researching historical Chinese sanction on North Korea I suspect strongly that their actions now are as a result of Donald Trump.

    The sanctions from China are Coal, Iron, Iron or and other “kay sanctions” which includes food. This makes me think that Chine previously didn’t impose much in the way of sanctions and its only Donald Trump’s pressure that they have now, for the first time in many decades, done something.

    Similar to the NATO issue with those countries shirking their fair share!

  45. Stuart W. Hadley
    August 15, 2017

    Dear JR,
    You asked for our comments, but mine did not get through your moderator.
    (Apparently my critique of Mr Trumps approach and his underlying reasons for starting ‘another’ war was not pleasing to you.)
    In light of this, please accept my ‘toned down’ version:

    It is always the ‘rogue state’ that is the threat to the world order – Iraq here, North Korea there. But even though United States dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on North Korea last time, NK has never attacked the USA.
    We must see who the real aggressor is.

    Here is how the world sees it:
    Win/Gallup questioned nearly 66,000 people in 68 countries, most countries — even allies like Australia — chose America as the greatest threat to world peace.

    (Just type ‘who is the biggest world threat’ into the web, see the results for yourself.)

  46. Andrew Strong
    August 16, 2017

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    I see in the escalation of President Trump’s rhetoric and its contrast with the soft power the Americans were using at the UN echoes of the Nixonian “madman” strategy.

    It plays well – the unpredictability of the President’s character; the risk that if they do go too far (which will be very hard for Pyongyang to determine), the North Koreans will wake up one morning to see waves of B52s crossing the border and nothing they can then reasonably say or do would prevent the fall of the regime – their sole objective.

    The downside however is that unlike the North Vietnamese and the Cambodians, the North Koreans have the capacity to do considerable damage to a key US/Western ally in South Korea as their ship goes down, and they nominally have the support from China (military, diplomatic, economic) that China was not in a position to offer in SE Asia 40 years ago.

    Perhaps we should all Beware the Madman. It might work, but if it goes wrong it will go wrong spectacularly.

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