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This article perfectly illustrates the foolishness of progressive foreign policy. As if we hadn’t gotten too much of that during the Obama administration, we’re getting another shot of it in this article.

In the article, it says “The move is also likely to isolate the U.S., cause confusion about its intentions, permit Iran to claim the high ground in any push to renegotiate, and provide both allies and adversaries with more evidence that the United States can’t be trusted.” Let’s start with that last statement about the US not being able to be trusted. What’s true is that the US can be trusted to correct its mistakes that left allies in the Middle East threatened by the developing Iranian hegemon.

There’s a reason why the nations refused to attend President Obama’s summit on the Middle East. Those nations flocked to President Trump’s summit, though. That leads to the refutation that not certifying the Iran deal again will “likely isolate the US.” Here’s a question the author might want to ask himself: how can a man who gets 50+ Middle East and southwest Asia and north African nations to attend his summit on Iran and its proxies be isolated? Does this look isolated?

This isn’t reassuring:

The 2015 deal lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. Iran’s compliance is being monitored by the United Nations, which has declared that the Islamic Republic is sticking by the letter of its obligations.

Getting the UN’s word that Iran is living up to any agreement is like getting an arsonist’s word that he won’t play with matches anymore. In other words, it’s worthless. As for the limits, they’re temporary. President Trump is attempting to renegotiate more permanent limits, something the Obama administration didn’t even attempt to do.

Iran still is developing a missile program and actively opposing U.S. policy in Syria, Iraq and plenty of other places. Trump, who has called the agreement “embarrassing” and much worse, can’t really declare that Iran is violating its terms. Instead, he’s likely to say Iran is not following its spirit, or that the deal is no longer in the U.S. national interest. The idea seems to be that decertifying will increase pressure on Iran to behave.

The point the Trump administration made last week is that the agreement was so limited in scope as to make it worthless. Getting Iran to limit some of its terrorist-supporting actions isn’t securing our nation or our allies.

The Obama-Kerry foreign policy was built on the premise that appeasement works. It doesn’t. That’s why it’s important for the US to reassert its leadership in the Middle East.

Buck Sexton’s op-ed opens with grim news for ISIS. Sexton’s opening paragraphs start with “ISIS’s reign of terror is rapidly coming to an end. Within a matter of days, the jihadist menace that shocked the world for years with its pathological sadism will lose its final strongholds within the Syrian city of Raqqa. It has taken 5 months of bloody struggle but the de facto capital of the Islamic State will soon be entirely in the hands of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Across the border in Iraq, the process of rebuilding the devastated city of Mosul is underway after its liberation from the so-called caliphate in July. There are still areas of ISIS control in both Iraq and Syria, but the jihadists have lost over 60 percent of the territory they once held. Their sources of funding are drying up, hostile forces surround them, and ISIS can no longer count on tens of thousands of recruits to flood into Syria to replenish their ranks.”

ISIS sprang to life during the Obama administration. It’s on the verge of elimination in the early days of the Trump administration. That pretty much sums up the difference between the 2 administrations. Strategic patience was replaced by devastating strikes on ISIS strongholds. The key part of Sexton’s op-ed is where he said ISIS’ “sources of funding are drying up, hostile forces surround them, and ISIS can no longer count on tens of thousands of recruits to flood into Syria to replenish their ranks.”

People questioned when President Trump bombed that airfield in Syria shortly after his inauguration. They questioned whether he had a strategy. 6 months later, it’s clear that he has a strategy for victory in Iraq and Syria. This paragraph is important:

On the Syrian front, the world was faced with the lose-lose choice of a collapsing Assad regime and an ascendant ISIS. Now, ISIS’s leadership is on the run, and its fighters are surrendering by the hundreds. Not every militant wants to be among the last suicide bombers for a crumbling caliphate.

When ISIS was first getting started, they were seen as the strong horse. People were travelling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS’ cause. That definitely isn’t happening at the same rate today. The fight isn’t won but it’s clear who owns the momentum.

The Trump Doctrine is developing a bit at a time. President Trump’s acceleration of hostilities against ISIS is hurting the terrorists. President Trump’s applying of pressure on China is causing hardship for China and North Korea. President Trump’s delegating authority to his in-theater generals is improving the military’s morale, too. These things aren’t happening accidentally.

It’s understatement saying that it’s encouraging to see these Syrians taking the fight to ISIS.

Sen. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are upset that President Trump has them over a proverbial barrel as they start negotiations on DACA legislation. They’re upset because they’ll lose politically if they agree to President Trump’s demands. If they don’t agree to his demands, they’ll lose politically, too. The biggest of President Trump’s demands is funding to build his border wall.

When Schumer and Pelosi got the news that this was part of President Trump’s demands, they went ballistic, saying “We told the President at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures alongside the DREAM Act, but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable. This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise.” The definition of reasonable is “agreeable to reason or sound judgment; logical.” Just because the Democrats’ pro-amnesty special interests don’t think building the border wall is reasonable doesn’t mean it isn’t reasonable. Building the wall is exercising sound judgment. Not only that, the American people agree with most of President Trump’s list of demands, often by overwhelming margins. If Pelosi and Schumer want to argue that more than two-thirds of the American people aren’t reasonable, that’s their choice.

Ms. Pelosi’s hinting publicly that Democrats might be willing to shut down the government if they don’t get what they want:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday wouldn’t rule out withholding support for end-of-the-year budget bills, and risk a government shutdown, if President Trump and the Republicans don’t agree to protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. “We have to do it before Christmas, that’s just the way it is,” she said Monday in an interview with The Washington Post.

That’s a major political loser for Democrats on multiple platforms. First, this will alienate blue collar America districts. If the Democrats don’t flip those districts and/or states, they can’t win majorities in either the House or Senate. In fact, it will likely cause them to lose seats in both the House and Senate if Pelosi shuts down the government. Even if they don’t shut the government down, this strategy is foolish. It isn’t difficult seeing every vulnerable Democrat in the House get tied to Pelosi’s statement. Do they really think that they can hide from Pelosi’s statements?

There’s another part of the Democrats’ threats that’s a political loser. By threatening shutting down the government over building the wall, Democrats are essentially admitting that they’re the open borders political party. They can issue statement after statement that they’re for reasonable border security measures. It won’t matter because people think of the wall as true border security. This video should be part of the Trump administration’s campaign to build the wall:

I’d love seeing Schumer and Pelosi fight against that video. It isn’t that they’d win. It’s that it’d be fun watching them attempt to tell people that the wall hasn’t had a positive public safety/national security impact. The statistics speak for themselves. If Democrats want to fight that, that’s their decision.

It just isn’t a reasonable decision.

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Leftist activist organization Indivisible has published this op-ed criticizing President Trump’s strategy towards North Korea.

In the op-ed, Elizabeth Beavers wrote “On September 19, Donald Trump spoke for the first time at the United Nations General Assembly. If you didn’t see it, spoiler alert: it was a national embarrassment. Trump escalated his usual ‘America First’ theme into a vision of foreign policy in which human rights are nonexistent and war is always the answer.” Suffice it to say that nuance isn’t Indivisible’s strength. Truth isn’t Indivisible’s strength, either.

Implied in Indivisible’s op-ed is that North Korea is a model citizen on human rights. That’s foolishness on steroids. Indivisible is also dishonest in saying directly that President Trump is pushing war. In his UN speech, President Trump said that “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” President Trump didn’t say that he’d launch a pre-emptive strike against Kim Jung Un. Instead, he said that he’d “defend itself or its allies” if it’s attacked.

What’s worth noting is that North Korea has shot missiles over Japan and in Guam’s direction. According to Indivisible’s op-ed, the US should let North Korea shoot missiles over US territories and allies. I won’t stand with Indivisible if they won’t protect US allies. While I don’t support pre-emptive strikes against North Korea, I certainly agree with the UN charter, which says that each nation has the inherent right to self-defense.

This paragraph is stunning in its stupidity:

Even though we’ve heard that ‘all is fair in love and war,’ it’s not. There are clear laws and norms restricting the use of military force, and they don’t allow for many of the things Trump has said he wants to do, some of which amount to war crimes. It’s on progressives to urge accountability and rule of law in the face of reckless militarism.

I’d love hearing from Indivisible what war crimes the US would commit if it defended itself from a missile attack. I’m betting that Indivisible is making that up, that the US wouldn’t commit any war crimes if it responded to a missile attack on Guam.

I’d love forgetting that Indivisible existed. Unfortunately, they’re an important part of the Democrats’ Resistance movement.

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According to Catherine Herridge’s stellar reporting, Hillary Clinton’s State Department didn’t just fail Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens on the day of the Benghazi attacks. They botched compound security multiple times.

According to the article, “Security at the State Department’s Benghazi compound was so dire that another contractor was brought in to clean up the mess just two weeks before the 2012 terror attack, and was later pressured to keep quiet by a government bureaucrat under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to two men from the American security company.” Further into the article, it was reported “After the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in the fall of 2011, Owens stressed to Fox News it was well-known that Islamic radicals including Al Qaeda-tied militias were pouring into the region and security had deteriorated considerably.‘ Based on documents reviewed by Fox News, Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions bid on the Benghazi compound security contract in the spring of 2012. But the State Department awarded the deal to a U.K.-based operation called The Blue Mountain Group. Owens, who had personally visited the Benghazi compound to assess security, was shocked. ‘Blue Mountain U.K. is a teeny, tiny, little security company registered in Wales that had never had a diplomatic security contract, had never done any high threat contracts anywhere else in the world that we’ve been able to find, much less in high threat areas for the U.S. government. They had a few guys on the ground,’ he said.”

This is disgusting:

By Aug. 31, 2012, the situation had deteriorated to the point that Owens and Torres said the State Department asked them to intervene – as Owens put it, an “admission of the mistake of choosing the wrong company.”

“They came back to us and said, ‘Can you guys come in and take over security?’ Owens said. “So we were ready.”

Though her supporter will deny this, it’s indisputable that security in Benghazi was a total mess. Hillary’s FSOs didn’t push for increased compound security. When they finally listened to people on the ground, it was too little, too late.

Democrats are expressing their faux outrage at President Trump’s pardon of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, often in terms that would make drama queens look stoic. For instance, Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general that President Trump fired for not defending his travel ban, said “With his pardon pen, POTUS reveals his own contempt for our Constitution, our courts, and our founding principles of equality and justice.”

Where was Ms. Yates when President Obama pardoned Bradley Manning? This article highlights what Manning did. According to the article, “Manning … was convicted of multiple other counts, including violations of the Espionage Act, for copying and disseminating classified military field reports, State Department cables, and assessments of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”

The article continued, saying “The message won’t be lost for everyone in the military,” said Steven Bucci, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation. “When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.”

Let’s summarize quickly. Sally Yates was fired for refusing to do her job as acting Attorney General. Before that termination, she sat silent when President Obama pardoned Bradley Manning, who was convicted of “copying and disseminating classified military field reports, State Department cables, and assessments of detainees held” at Gitmo. Sheriff Joe didn’t undermine national security like Manning did. Sheriff Joe ran afoul of a corrupt judge for enforcing laws that the Obama administration refused to enforce.

The stupidity wasn’t purely partisan. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake tweeted his opinion, saying “Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course.” In other words, Sen. Flake was too spineless to take a unambiguous position.

Simply put, Arpaio was targeted by the Obama administration because, unlike the Obama administration, he actually enforced immigration laws. Anyone criticizing President Trump’s pardon show that they’re soft on protecting Americans from south-of-the-border drug cartels and human traffickers.

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Jim Clapper, the former DNI, aka Director of National Intelligence, has been a political hatchet man for years. Now employed by CNN, all that’s changed is that he isn’t a hatchet man for the federal government. Instead, he’s a political hatchet man for CNN. This article highlights Mr. Clappers propensity for political shenanigans.

After Don Lemon’s anti-Trump diatribe, he continued with the theme that Trump wasn’t fit to be president, this time getting Clapper to echo Lemon’s accusations. During the interview, Dir. Clapper said “I really question his ability, his fitness to be in this office and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it. Maybe he is looking for a way out. I do wonder, as well about the people that attracted to this, to this rally as others. You know, what are they thinking? Or why am I so far off base? Because I don’t understand the adulation. Of course, that’s why I think he gravitated to having this rally as ill-timed as it is.”

The first obvious question that Clapper needs to be asked is why he thinks President Trump is “looking for a way out.” Since the Russia collusion investigation pretty much collapsed, Democrat operatives starting conducting a stealth campaign questioning President Trump’s stability. At this year’s Netroots Nation gathering, DNC Vice-Chair Keith Ellison didn’t mince words. He said that President Trump was less stable than Kim Jung Un. This week, the storyline from Don Lemon and James Clapper has been that President Trump is unhinged.

To fully understand this story, let’s understand who Jim Clapper is. This is the opening paragraph of Sen. Wyden’s statement after DNI Clapper resigned:

During Director Clapper’s tenure, senior intelligence officials engaged in a deception spree regarding mass surveillance. Top officials, officials who reported to Director Clapper, repeatedly misled the American people and even lied to them.

It’s worth noting that Sen. Wyden isn’t a diehard movement conservative. He’s a liberal Democrat from Oregon. There’s more from Sen. Wyden’s official statement:

After the NSA Director declined to correct these statements, I put the question to the Director of National Intelligence in March 2013.  I wouldn’t have been doing my job if I hadn’t asked that question.  My staff and I spent weeks preparing it, and I had my staff send him the question in advance so that he would be prepared to answer it.  

Director Clapper famously gave an untrue answer to that question.  So I had my intelligence staffer call his office afterward and ask them to correct the record. The Director’s office refused to correct the record. Regardless of what was going through the director’s head when he testified, failing to correct the record was a deliberate decision to lie to the American people about what their government was doing. And within a few months, of course, the truth came out.

That isn’t all that DNI Clapper did, though. Here’s more:

Former President Barack Obama’s intelligence chief issued revised procedures in 2013 that made it easier for executive branch officials to “unmask” the names of lawmakers or congressional staffers caught up in intelligence intercepts overseas, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Hill. Procedures issued by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in March 2013 formally supplanted a 1992 set of rules that made the dissemination of names of intercepted lawmakers or congressional aides an act of last resort.

The new standard allowed for a lawmaker’s or staffer’s name to be unmasked if  “an executive branch recipient of intelligence” believed that learning “the identity of the Member of Congress or the Congressional staff is necessary to understand and assess the associated intelligence and further a lawful activity of the recipient agency,” according to a memo released earlier this month by the DNI’s office with little public fanfare.

Unmasking these people’s identities wasn’t done for national security purposes. It was done for political purposes.

UPDATE: During Brian Kilmeade’s interview of Lt. Col. Tony Schaffer, Lt. Col. Schaffer highlighted the fact that former DNI Clapper got caught lying under oath. Democrats first tried delegitimizing President Trump’s victory by saying Trump colluded with Russia to win the election. When that investigation fell apart, Democrats switched to insinuating that President Trump wasn’t fit for office. Who knows what’s next?

Here’s the video of Schaffer’s interview with Kilmeade:

It isn’t surprising that high-profile Democrats criticized of President Trump’s speech on Afghanistan. For instance, Pelosi said “Tonight, the President said he knew what he was getting into and had a plan to go forward. Clearly, he did not. The President’s announcement is low on details but raises serious questions.”

The theme of details was clearly a chief talking point for Democrats. Rep. Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat and Marine Corps veteran, said “Tonight, the American people should have heard a detailed, realistic strategy with achievable objectives and measurable benchmarks. Instead, we got only vague promises and wishful thinking.”

Actually, that’s fiction. President Trump said that his administration was shifting away from an artificial timeline-based strategy to a conditions-based strategy. That alone is a major detail shift. Further, President Trump authorized his generals to make decisions in the field without having to get his approval prior to taking action. That’s another major detail and a major shift away from the Obama administration’s policy. John McCain highlighted that in his statement after the speech:

“I believe the President is now moving us well beyond the prior administration’s failed strategy of merely postponing defeat.”

Those are major details accompanied by a substantial shift in how the military will fight this war. Another major difference the Trump Doctrine and the Obama doctrine is that Trump is fighting to win. President Obama never left the impression that winning was a major consideration. Rich Lowry’s article highlights things perfectly:

Pressure on Pakistan is a major element of the new strategy. We’ll see what comes of that. It seems to me that pressuring Pakistan to be more responsible in Afghanistan is the equivalent of pressuring China to force North Korea to be more responsible: Every administration wants to find a way to do it, but no one ever does. The warm words about India surely got the attention of Islamabad, though.

At the end of the day, this is Trump concluding that he doesn’t want to lose a war on his watch, and if that means jettisoning some of his presuppositions, he’s willing to do it. If only President Obama had handled the question of whether or not to pull out of Iraq the same way.

NRO’s Quin Hillyer highlighted another important detail in his article :

And, of utmost importance, Trump is putting less strictures on our rules of engagement, so our forces in the region and on the ground can react more swiftly and more appropriately to both threats and opportunities.

Simply put, this is additional proof that Democrats feel the need to disagree with President Trump no matter what he proposed. If Democrats don’t switch out of criticize-Trump-all-the-time mode, they’ll never be taken seriously. Democrats will be seen as the party that’s only capable of criticizing President Trump.

The media isn’t helping Democrats even though they’re singing from the same hymnal:

CNN’s Athena Jones said “It was a long-awaited new strategy delivered in a speech that was long on broad themes but that was short on specifics.” Later, Ms. Jones said “He didn’t lay out details on troop levels and he didn’t explain how this new strategy, which borrows heavily from other ones, would help insure a victory, which has eluded this country for 16 years.”

This is what happens when you hire news readers instead of hiring experts who know what they’re talking about. Changing the rules of engagement, aka ROE, so that soldiers can take the fight to the terrorists, is a giant step in the right direction to winning, not just fighting with one hand tied behind their backs.

Finally, I’d love hearing Ms. Jones highlight what parts of President Trump’s new strategy “borrows heavily from” other’s strategies. Ms. Jones’ segment is more myth than reporting.

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The biggest thing that came through during President Trump’s speech on Afghanistan was that Gen. Obama’s (my term, not Trump’s) policies are history. President Trump couldn’t have state things more emphatically than when he said “First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives. The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need and the trust they have earned to fight and to win. Second, the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11. And as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq.”

In those words, President Trump said that withdrawing from Iraq in 2011 was a mistake because it created “a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill.” Later, President Trump said “No one denies that we have inherited a challenging and troubling situation in Afghanistan and South Asia, but we do not have the luxury of going back in time and making different or better decisions.” I won’t be surprised if ‘Gen. Obama’, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Marie Harf deny that President Trump inherited “a challenging and troubling situation” in southwest Asia but that’s to be expected.

A key part of President Trump’s speech, at least for me, was when he explained his thinking for the strategy:

My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I have heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the oval office. In other words, when you are president of the United States. So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle. After many meetings over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David with my cabinet and generals to complete our strategy. I arrived at three fundamental conclusion about America’s core interests in Afghanistan.

President Trump admitted what we all know: that he’s changed his mind on Afghanistan. He attributed his change of mind to sitting “behind the desk in the Oval Office.” I suspect most thoughtful people would accept that thinking.

The haters, though, won’t cut President Trump any slack. As the saying goes, haters gotta hate. It’s sad that too many people hate first, then think of the consequences later. In many ways, though, this was President Trump’s greatest speech. This riff was especially powerful and inspiring:

American patriots from every generation have given their last breath on the battlefield – for our nation and for our freedom. Through their lives, and though their lives – were cut short, in their deeds they achieved total immortality. By following the heroic example of those who fought to preserve our republic, we can find the inspiration our country needs to unify, to heal and to remain one nation under God. The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission and one shared sense of purpose.

They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed, and color to serve together and sacrifice together in absolutely perfect cohesion. That is because all service members are brothers and sisters. They are all part of the same family. It’s called the American family. They take the same oath, fight for the same flag, and live according to the same law.

They are bound together by common purpose, mutual trust, and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other. The soldier understands what we as a nation too often forget, that a wound inflicted upon on a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all. When one part of America hurts, we all hurt.

And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people. When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate. The young men and women we sent to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other.

As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas, and we will always win, let us find the courage to heal our divisions within. Let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name, that when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one.

If that part of President Trump’s speech doesn’t inspire you, then you need to re-examine yourself. It’s that simple.

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The headline speaks for itself. North Korean leader Kim Jung Un displayed something approaching rational behavior. The opening paragraph of Fox News’ article said “Kim Jong Un appeared to blink first, with North Korean media reporting Tuesday the dictator had delayed a decision about whether to fire missiles toward Guam – a pronouncement that came hours after a particularly stark warning from Defense Secretary James Mattis promised further escalation would mean ‘game on.'”

More than a month ago, Gen. Mattis was asked what kept him up at night. His response was essentially that he keeps others awake at night. Now we see why. Gen. Mattis brings to the equation something that wasn’t there during the Obama administration: a credible threat of the use of military force.

Last week, Gen. Mattis said “The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.” Apparently, Kim Jung Un took that not-so-veiled-threat seriously. That’s one of Un’s first rational thoughts in ages.

Last week, Marie Harf got into it with Lisa Booth, asking “If this rhetoric leads to North Korea attacking Guam, are you ok with that?”

Booth replied “No offense, Marie, but I am so sick and tired of the criticism of the “sound and fury” comment. We have Secretary Mattis, who was confirmed by 98-1 in the Senate, who is a brilliant military scholar, who is a student of history, who is known for being deeply thoughtful, who essentially said the same thing yesterday…”

This morning, we found out that Kim Jung Un backed down, thereby eliminating all of Ms. Harf’s what ifs. During the Obama administration, they didn’t attempt to back Kim Jung Un down with a credible threat of the use of military force. The Obama’s policy of strategic patience was deployed. The Chinese and the Un administration didn’t have an incentive to blink.

As for the question that the media wing of the Democratic Party didn’t ask, Susan Rice answered it recently, saying that the US could live with a nuclear North Korea. The truth is that the Obama administration was filled with Carteresque pacifists. This time, Americans should be happy that Gen. Mattis was asked to clean up the Obama administration’s mess.