On September 3, 2017, CNN published this article:
Honestly, no commentary is needed, but here we go …
This stems from President Trump’s campaign promises to end unfair trade deals and renegotiate for more fair terms for the United States. South Korea doesn’t pay for the THAAD missile defense system shielding it from North Korean attacks. In April, President Trump made it known he believes the South Koreans should pay for it.
I should point out that withdrawing from the trade deal is not popular among military brass. They see the THAAD defense system as a way to protect the US west coast and Hawaii. I should also point out that it’s a well-known strategy of Trump’s to threaten withdrawal of trade deals, only to pull back after renegotiations start.
The CNN piece is arguing that pulling out of the South Korean trade deal will weaken their economy, and undermine them in the face of a growing North Korean threat. Thus, emboldening North Korean aggression. This logic, however, is flawed.
The constant flow of US arms, training, support, and manpower to prop up South Korean defenses has not kept North Korea in check. They’ve been conducting nuclear tests since 2006. Their provocative missile launches have become a common occurrence in the past decade. Furthermore, in November 2010, a nuclear armed North Korea fired around 170 artillery shells and rockets at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. They hit both civilian and military targets, killed four and injured 19. All because they claimed South Korean artillery landed in North Korean waters. Next month is the seventh anniversary of that attack. There were no CNN pieces on how Obama’s base was risking nuclear war with North Korea at the time. It’s the closest to full-scale war we’ve been since the Korean War, and it happened under the policies Trump is vowing to change. The same policies others want to leave in place. That is one of the hundreds of incidents of provocation by North Korea. Yet, somehow, President Trump is the reason we face war with North Korean? The assertion isn’t just intellectually dishonest, it’s flat-out preposterous and laughable.
North Korea, and many in the West, have said that the U.S. and South Korea’s defensive posture is antagonizing to the North. North Korea claims it’s only acting the way it is because it’s surrounded by enemies, and they need to defend themselves. While I, and most, don’t believe that to be true, it is worth pointing out that both sides of the argument are claiming the other’s actions will lead to war.
The one thing everyone should understand is that it isn’t President Trump causing this. It isn’t his supporters demanding he keeps his campaign promises causing this. It’s North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un who’s causing this escalation. It’s Kim Jong Un who’s putting us on the path to war, even nuclear war. No one else is responsible for the current tensions … period. Any assertion otherwise is wrong.