United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in China over the weekend, meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials in Beijing, calling for calm on the Korean Peninsula. Tillerson would prefer to avoid World War III and is working on finding diplomatic solutions in the dangerous standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, who have ratcheted up their personal insults and threats of war over the past couple of weeks like two testosterone-charged adolescents on the schoolyard.

But Trump has no desire to start negotiations with North Korea. On Sunday, he tweeted some words that were scary and also undercut his secretary of state.


That kind of bluster and chest-thumping talk is unprecedented in modern presidential history. Yet it’s become an all-too-common occurrence with Trump, who was in New Jersey at the Presidents Cup golf tournament, dedicating the winning trophy to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico a few days after criticizing them for being lazy.

Our commander in chief might want to remember what the United States already has done to North Korea. The massive bombing by the U.S. during the Korean War of the 1950s killed and wounded countless Korean civilians, and according to some sources the casualty toll from all causes during the war was as much as 20 percent of Korea’s population.

Now might be a good time to see if Dennis Rodman can get Kim and Trump together to sing karaoke. As Peter Maass from The Intercept notes, “the real threat is the erratic U.S. government,” not North Korea, “the most predictable regime on Earth.”

Keep that in mind next time you hear the “dotard” and U.S. national security establishment sound the alarms about the North Korean nuclear program.

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