• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Better Business with China by President Trump!

Trump Makes Real Progress with China While Dems Play Impeachment

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The press conference, live on television, from the Oval Office concluding this round of China trade negotiations was one of the more fascinating events of recent years. Spin, real, or a combination, the love-fest between President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, both characterizing this first phase of their deal as not just an economic agreement but an important step forward for world peace, was one of those rare inspirational moments. Could human life really be that way?

It’s easy to be skeptical–and probably wise with Turkey running roughshod through Syria at this very moment–but we can all be grateful for the possibility that things could be different.

The Democrats, of course, were having none of it. Trump, the first president in decades to negotiate seriously with China, to confront them in any way, must be impeached! Chuck Schumer, obviously panicked the public might realize that something of importance was actually being done by a government official (rather than endlessly investigating their opponents for illusory crimes), immediately took to Twitter with a warning before any details were released.

It’s rather a miracle, actually, that Trump was able to negotiate anything with so many domestic enemies out to get him 24/7. It couldn’t be more obvious that most Democrats and their media shills would rather Trump not succeed with China (or anything) if that meant his reelection. Forget the prosperity and peace of the nearly two billion citizens of both countries, not to mention the rest of the world, linked inextricably as they are to the two largest economies. Orange Man must go. Trump Derangement Syndrome has turned into a pathology more severe than paranoid schizophrenia. It’s as if whenever Trump appears the entire Beltway and media have a psychotic break.

Far more interesting than these new “nattering nabobs of negativism” is the question of how we actually do deal with China. Trump, or any American leader, has to walk a tightrope. We all know the evil side of the Chinese regime (well, except for some NBA players and coaches). But it’s the most populous country in the world and, even though it brutally oppresses its minorities, not to mention the democracy protestors, many views, submerged as they may be, exist among its people, even among the Communist Party leadership. (Look up Lin Biao, if you don’t believe me.) Xi is the maximum leader for life–until he isn’t.

It’s incumbent on us to find the better, more moderate parts of the regime and subtly encourage them (forming economic ties that work is one way) while still making sure that as Americans we see and sympathize with the cause of the democracy demonstrators. Thus far, Trump has done a rather accomplished job of this for a “diplomatic amateur,” letting his sharp criticism of the brainless, pandering comments of NBA managers Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich–their absurd and stunningly ignorant claims of human rights equivalency between the USA and Communist China–make clear his feelings about the protestors in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the president publicly praises depots like Xi and Kim, much to the consternation of the CNNs of the world. It’s a strategy, obviously. It’s not clear the extent to which it will work. But if it does even some of the time, it’s miles ahead of what his predecessors ever did.


Red China’s Fascists Back Down on Hong Kong Siege……..(for now!)

Beijing folds on Hong Kong extradition law, but the genie is out of the bottle

by Monica Showalter   at  American Thinker:


After lots of growling from Beijing about how the communist regime wouldn’t “sit on its hands” over the massive protests disrupting Hong Kong, and new threats to “show no mercy” to the protesters, the Chicoms have folded.

Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed puppet leader, Carrie Lam, has withdrawn the extradition bill that triggered the protests, the one that permitted Beijing to freely snatch back anyone who displeases Red China to face what passes for “justice” in the communist dictatorship.

According to the New York Times:

HONG KONG — Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, said Wednesday that the government would withdraw a contentious extradition bill that ignited months of protests in the city, moving to quell the worst political crisis since the former British colony returned to Chinese control 22 years ago.

The move eliminates a major objection among protesters, but it was unclear if it would be enough to bring an end to intensifying demonstrations, which are now driven by multiple grievances with the government.

“Incidents over these past two months have shocked and saddened Hong Kong people,” she said in an eight-minute televised statement broadcast shortly before 6 p.m. “We are all very anxious about Hong Kong, our home. We all hope to find a way out of the current impasse and unsettling times.”

Her decision comes as the protests near their three-month mark and show little sign of abating, roiling a city known for its orderliness and hurting its economy.

It is a striking concession from Beijing.  But it’s probably too little, too late.

The protests that have engulfed Hong Kong have morphed into cries for full democracy, something that has to be Beijing’s worst nightmare.  As Austin Bay, citing the reporting of Michael Yon on the ground in Hong Kong, has noted (hat tip: Instapundit), the protests have moved well into the realm of civil unrest.  Anecdotally, the whole world has seen how they have featured American flags, the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner, and signs calling for a Second Amendment.  Young Hong Kong leaders have turned up in Taiwan with talks about taking in refugees now.  Even leftists in the states have started scolding each other for not taking a more assertive stance on standing up for the Hong Kongers.

There’s a feeling a Rubicon has been crossed, a bridge has been burned.

The other thing worth noting in this is that Beijing’s nightmare is far from over.  The protests not only have engulfed Hong Kong, but are actually no longer about Hong Kong.  Chinese citizens have been caught sneaking over the border into Hong Kong for no other reason than to join the protests.  The impact of the protests has already spread — far into the Chinese interior and into Taiwan.

Gordon Chang, that most astute of Hong Kong observers, notes this:

A genie seems to be out of the bottle.  Beijing is going to have a hard time putting it back in.



Biden “Brain” at Work Overtime!

Biden: If You Think You Can’t Work With The Other Side, You Might As Well Start A Physical Revolution

by Allahpundit  at  HotAir:

Literally every liberal and conservative activist watching this clip is thinking, “Time for a revolution then, I guess.”

Biden has given variations of this answer repeatedly over the last month, insisting that bipartisanship in Washington is still possible, all conventional wisdom to the contrary notwithstanding. I … kind of think he believes it. It’s the sort of thing he would say even if he didn’t believe it since he’s counting on centrists to be his base and centrists love hearing well-meaning claptrap about reaching across the aisle. But after decades of writing legislation in the Senate and buddying up to Republicans to do it in a past era, he may really believe that his dealmaking prowess and friendly relationships with the GOP on the Hill make him the man to end the new era of fierce of negative hyperpartisanship.

His former boss famously believed this too. Win reelection, Obama thought in 2012, and the Republican resistance would crack and finally get down to the hard business of compromising with him on policy. He did win reelection — but the GOP dug in and won a Senate majority in 2014 which they have yet to relinquish. I bet Trump believes the same thing about 2020. Democrats won the midterms and are confident about their chances next year, so they’re waiting him out on major policy deals right now. But once he’s safely reelected and Pelosi realizes he’s the only game in town until 2024, she’ll come around.

She won’t. Activist organizing and partisan media cocooning on both sides in the Internet age are irresistible forces.

I think Biden’s going to get shredded for this at the debates. There are all sorts of policy issues he can and will be challenged on, but policy is complicated. His apparent belief that Republicans are basically good at heart and want to compromise is, by contrast, very easy for the average left-wing voter to grasp and verrrrrry likely to elicit a strong reaction. “You can shame people to do things the right way,” he insists at the very end of his answer here, ignoring the fact that the very first commandment in the modern Democratic creed is that Republicans are shameless.

The smart answer here, which he should have given, happens also to be the truth: The filibuster is not long for this world regardless of how the 2020 elections turn out. Elizabeth Warren gave that answer at this same event this afternoon, in fact, not long after Biden spoke.

It’s a mortal lock that the filibuster will be scrapped if either party ends up with total control of government next year. Each side has been frustrated legislatively for too long by the 60-vote rule. It must and will change.

I wonder if it might change even if government stays divided. What I mean is that right now seems like an opportune moment for both sides to agree to nuke the rule, sparing themselves from having to take sole responsibility down the road for a raw power grab aimed at ramming their agenda through. Odds are good that the House will stay Democratic and that the Senate will remain Republican on Election Day next year, with the presidency a question mark. As such, with Pelosi enjoying currently veto power over Republican legislation, the stakes are relatively low for Democrats in scrapping the filibuster. If they agreed to do so and then electoral fortunes shifted their way next year, they’d be in position to retake government and enact ambitious programs with the filibuster already long gone by the time they’re sworn in. Same goes, of course, for the GOP if Trump is reelected and they reclaim the House majority.

If Biden were wise, he’d push that idea now. “I believe in bipartisanship,” he might say, “but bipartisanship shouldn’t demand supermajority thresholds. As president, I can bring together majorities in the House and Senate. Let’s move America forward by moving past the filibuster.” Instead Warren’s going to end up saying that at the debates. And it’ll be a big hit when she does.

Exit question: What planet is Uncle Joe on here when he insists that Obama had no time to explain ObamaCare? He explained it for literally six years, bro. His “explanation” was the 2013 lie of the year!

Biden: If you think you can’t work with the other side, you might as well start a physical revolution

Today’s Christians Are the World’s Leading Victims of Persecution!


by John Hinderaker  at PowerLine:

In numerical terms, Christians are far and away the world’s leading victims of persecution. Pretty much all of that persecution comes at the hands of Muslims. Raymond Ibrahim is one of the few who have labored tirelessly to expose the plight of Christians around the world, usually to an audience, here in the U.S., that seems almost entirely indifferent.

At PJ Media, Ibrahim addresses Islam’s war on the cross as a Christian symbol–a war that was ordered by Mohammed and that continues today:

A 37-year-old Muslim migrant in Rome was recently arrested for homicide after he stabbed a Christian man in the throat for wearing a crucifix around his neck. “Religious hate” is cited as an “aggravating factor” in the crime.

To be sure, this is hardly the first “religious hate” crime to occur in the context of the cross in Italy. Among others:

* A Muslim boy of African origin picked on, insulted, and eventually beat a 12-year-old girl during school because she too was wearing a crucifix.

* A Muslim migrant invaded an old church in Venice and attacked its large, 300-year-old cross, breaking off one of its arms, while shouting, “All that is in a church is false!”

* After a crucifix was destroyed in close proximity to a populated mosque, the area’s mayor said concerning the identity of the culprit(s): “Before we put a show of unity with Muslims, let’s have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture.”

Other recent instances of the Islamic war on the cross, from other countries:

Egypt: A young Coptic Christian woman named Mary was mauled to death when her cross identified her as a Christian to Muslim Brotherhood rioters. Similarly, 17-year-old Ayman, a Coptic student, was strangled and beaten to death by his Muslim teacher and fellow students for refusing to obey the teacher’s orders to cover his cross.

Pakistan: When a Muslim man saw Julie Aftab, a Christian woman, wearing a cross around her neck, he attacked her, forced battery acid down her throat, and splashed it on her face—permanently damaging her esophagus, blinding her in one eye, and causing her to lose both eyelids and most of her teeth.

Turkey: A 12-year-old boy in Turkey wearing a silver cross necklace in class was spit on and beaten regularly by Muslim classmates and teachers.

Malaysia: A Christian cemetery was attacked and desecrated in the middle of the night by unknown persons in the Muslim-majority nation. Several crosses were destroyed, including by the use of “a heavy tool to do the damage.” Separately, a Muslim mob rioted against a small Protestant church due to the visible cross atop the building of worship. It was quickly removed.

Maldives: Authorities had to rescue a female Christian teacher after Muslim “parents threatened to tie and drag her off of the island” for “preaching Christianity.” Her crime was to draw a compass—which was mistakenly taken for a cross—as part of a geography lesson in class.

Then there are France and Germany:

[T]he following occurred either in France and Germany, where attacks on churches and crosses have become endemic:

* A Muslim man committed major acts of vandalism at two churches, including by twisting a massive bronze cross. (Click for images.)

* Christian crosses and gravestones in a cemetery were damaged and desecrated by a Muslim (see his handiwork).

* A Muslim man who checked himself into a hospital for treatment went into a sudden frenzy because there were “too many crosses on the wall.” He called the nurse a “bitch” and “fascist” and became physically aggressive.

* After Muslims were granted their own section at a cemetery, and after being allowed to conduct distinctly Islamic ceremonies, these same Muslims began demanding that Christian symbols and crosses in the cemetery be removed or covered up during Islamic funerals.

* A German-language report from notes that in the Alps and in Bavaria alone, some 200 churches have been attacked and many crosses broken: “The perpetrators are often youthful rioters with a migration background.”

Live links at the link.

We have all seen this bumper sticker, and others like it:

Somehow I don’t think the message is being directed to the right audience.

Trump’s Rearranging Foreign Affairs

Trump’s High-Wire Act of Reestablishing Deterrence without War

by Victor Davis Hanson at National Review:

Trump’s opponents at home and abroad would love to see him get the U.S. into a messy intervention right before the election.

Donald Trump inherited a superficially stable world from Barack Obama that, in fact, was quite volatile. There had been no tense standoffs with North Korea, but also apparent intercontinental ballistic missiles with possible nuclear warheads now pointed at the United States. Obama more or less punted on North Korea, by declaring it a problem — and hoping that Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear testing did not get too out of hand before 2017.

Then there was the “Iran deal.” It was an appeasing agreement that almost surely guaranteed that Iran would soon have nuclear weapons, along with a revived economy liberated from sanctions and empowered with American cash. Iran’s terrorist surrogates were the greatest beneficiaries of U.S. naïveté. At best, Obama assumed that when Iran went nuclear, it would be on someone else’s presidential watch and therefore not his fault. At worst, Obama, in delusional fashion, believed that empowering Iran would balance Sunni states and bring justice to historically oppressed Shiite and Persian minorities who would take their rightful place in the Islamic world.

Everyone knew that China violated almost every aspect of world commerce. Everyone knew that China would never allow the U.S. to trade with China the same way that Beijing traded with America. Everyone knew that 1.3-billion-person China was a neo-imperialist Communist dictatorship that was headed on an announced trajectory of world hegemony. Obama in particular thought that stopping China’s agenda would be medicine that was more painful than the disease.

Like the proverbial medieval mice who voted to warn of a marauding carnivorous house cat by putting a bell around his neck, the prognosis of Chinese mercantilism and aggression — and the need to confront Beijing — was right-on. But no one wished to do the messy, dangerous work of belling the Chinese cat.

The Obama administration’s Russian “reset” was an ungodly disaster. Vladimir Putin absorbed Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. He interfered freely but often clumsily in U.S. elections — well prior to 2016. John Kerry invited the Russians to reenter the Middle East on the lunatic idea of a Russian promise to address Syrian WMD. Putin violated prior agreements on the deployment of short-range missiles. The more Obama appeased Putin — dismantled missile defense in Eastern Europe, blamed the Bush administration for the tensions that were to be relieved by the reset, and in a hot-mic exchange offered to become more malleable with Putin if Putin would behave while Obama was up for reelection — the more Putin detested Obama.

NOW WATCH: ‘U.S. Justice Department Defends Trump’

U.S. Justice Department Defends Trump

Everyone knew that tired pretenses had nothing to do with the realities on the ground in the Middle East. The U.S. embassy belonged in Jerusalem. The Palestinians of today were no more “refugees” than were the Volga Germans. The strategic Golan Heights were never going to return to the Assad terrorist state. The U.S. had no business funneling financial assistance through the U.N. to Palestinians who either were engaged in terrorism or approved of it. Trump pulled back the curtain and showed all the little devilish men with gears and levers projecting a fake image of norms and protocols on the Middle East projection screen.

Again, these existential crises — Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, the Middle East — all preceded Trump. But they also all tested the Trump doctrine of restoring deterrence without engaging in costly optional wars in which in tactical victories cannot translate into definable strategic success or clear U.S. advantage in a cost-benefit analysis.

Trump’s enemies hope (translated into politicalese) that his ambitious foreign policy does not follow the success of Trump’s dynamic economy. At home, Trump caused a stir by all at once opening up more federal leasing for energy exploration, green-lighting pipelines, massively deregulating, cutting taxes, jawboning outsourcers and off-shorers, confronting asymmetrical trade partners, pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and the Paris climate accord, and recalibrating NAFTA. That huge risk of maximum changes everywhere and swarming the opposition all at once achieved a force-multiplying effect on the economy that soon boomed.

Trump probably believes that if he goes full-bore abroad, true to form, a domino effect will follow, given that the U.S. gains more sway each time it faces down a miscreant. The stakes are certainly high. A big China trade deal, an agreement to denuclearize North Korea and Iran, flipping Putin to become a neutral rather than an adversary, or a Middle East halfway accord could change global realities and empower the U.S. And so the gambler Trump wagers that he can do overseas what he did at home and pull off land-breaking agreements — all at once.

Can he?

Squaring that circle of toughness without risking a major war is now Trump’s political challenge, given that the shelf life of rhetorical deterrence is brief.

The United States cannot abide renegade lunatic regimes with nuclear missiles aimed at its heartland, or aggressive nuclearized regimes with which the U.S. had either already fought a major war or narrowly avoided one. China’s destruction of global trading norms only whets China’s appetite to translate its huge profits into military power and neocolonial adventurism, on the theory that countries that have appeased its mercantilism will probably do the same in matters of its aggressive foreign and military policy.

The Palestinians felt that during the Obama years they were insidiously persuading the United States to ostracize the moderate Arab regimes, embrace an Iranian foil, and decouple from Israel.

Putin asserted that his weak Russia was a match for a strong U.S. because he assumed that he was strong and Obama weak — and therefore his own godhead could do what his country otherwise could not.

Yet Trump all at once is attempting to straighten out all the foolishness of the last decade with China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and the Middle East, and, again, he is doing so simultaneously, not sequentially. He might remember that China is the chief threat, and it has some leverage with both Iran and North Korea. In other words, it would certainly be in China’s interest to see the U.S. in a mess with its surrogates in Tehran and Pyongyang while America seeks to face down Chinese mercantilism — with the Middle East descending into another hot war.

So, Trump could achieve either high-profile success — or became mired in endless engagements and a pre-election, public-relations disaster.

Halving the Chinese trade deficit and forcing it to follow global rules would be an astounding achievement. So would denuclearizing North Korea and preventing Iran from getting the bomb. As would finally telling the Palestinians to give up terrorism and get on with building a state, or corralling Putin so that he abandons dreams of a new Soviet Empire and accepts that Eastern Europe, the Baltic States, and the breakaway republicans are never going to be Russian again. Prodding a change in government in Venezuela would create momentum elsewhere in authoritarian Latin America. Again, to do all that at once, rather than in sequence, would be singular achievements — and yet likely improbable.

George W. Bush tried to address just three existential challenges all at once following 9/11, and it all but destroyed his presidency. Bush not only fashioned a successful multifaceted anti-terrorism strategy that foiled subsequent attempts to repeat the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings, but he took the war to the enemy. Yet soon the U.S. was fighting wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, while trying to stop North Korea’s sudden emergence as a nuclear power, and while battling Iranian terrorists inside Iraq and Tehran’s own nuclear agenda — as China stepped up its global profile and began translating its enormous profits into a growing military, and as OPEC and Middle East suppliers helped drive up the cost of oil.

What was problematic about Bush’s “Axis of Evil” of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea was not that the term was necessarily inaccurate about the threats all three posed, or the need to address all of them eventually. The rub was that a country with a sizable force fighting in Afghanistan might abruptly find itself fighting three new dirty conflicts all at once.

In short, Trump might learn from the past and avoid what his opponents hope for — a series of conflicts dovetailing with the 2020 election, as the financial and psychological strain tax the electorate, as they did from 2006 to 2008.

Note in this regard how deeply Trump’s opposition is invested in seeing  him fail or, specifically, how private citizen John Kerry, last spring and summer, and, most recently, Senator Dianne Feinstein have met with the oleaginous Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, ostensibly as “adults in the room” who agree on waiting Trump out — which in fact was the explicit advice recently given to the Chinese by former State Department official Susan Thornton.

Trump’s “principled realism,” “Jacksonianism,” or “the Trump doctrine” ostensibly is tit-for-tat deterrence, not nation-building or optional interventions. If Iran hits an American ship, the U.S. will take out a port facility — but not set foot in Iran. If North Korea sends more missiles over Japan with Chinese approval, maybe Japan might have to do the same thing to North Korea with U.S. sanction.

But Trump also must remember that he ambitiously is trying to solve the major festering challenges of U.S. foreign policy — all at once and right before an election, when his political opposition at home, most of the European Union, and our enemies would like to see him fail at last. So in the next 17 months we should expect all sorts of provocations from abroad, and so-called Logan Acting at home, to make Trump stumble and get into a messy intervention before the election.

He should not take the bait.


Kim Jong-un Not Ready Yet


by Scott Johnson   at PowerLine:

President Trump’s summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un — this one in Hanoi — has concluded with no agreement. I have embedded Trump’s 37-minute press conference with Secretary Pompeo in its entirety below (thank you, MSNBC). It is worth a close look. Kim wanted sanctions lifted in their entirety in exchange for too much of nothing (the dismantling of the Yongbyon nuclear complex). It had always worked for Kim in the past. Why not this time?

Nicholas Eberstadt had warned against a bad deal here in the New York Times. However, Trump did the right thing; he walked. “It was about the sanctions,” Trump said. Pompeo expressed optimism that they would ultimately reach a deal, as did Trump. They are now headed back to the United States.

The Wall Street Journal story by Vivian Salama and Jonathan Cheng has just been posted here (accessible here via Outline). My daughter Eliana’s interesting Politico story has just been posted here.





Kim Jong-un Wanted Sanctions Lifted


by Scott Johnson  at PowerLine:

President Trump’s summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un — this one in Hanoi — has concluded with no agreement. I have embedded Trump’s 37-minute press conference with Secretary Pompeo in its entirety below (thank you, MSNBC). It is worth a close look. Kim wanted sanctions lifted in their entirety in exchange for too much of nothing (the dismantling of the Yongbyon nuclear complex). It had always worked for Kim in the past. Why not this time?

Nicholas Eberstadt had warned against a bad deal here in the New York Times. However, Trump did the right thing; he walked. “It was about the sanctions,” Trump said. Pompeo expressed optimism that they would ultimately reach a deal, as did Trump. They are now headed back to the United States.

The Wall Street Journal story by Vivian Salama and Jonathan Cheng has just been posted here (accessible here via Outline). My daughter Eliana’s interesting Politico story has just been posted here.



Trump Is Going on the Offensive!

Five Ways Trump Can Dominate Everything

From trade to NATO to the Helsinki summit, Trump is going on the offensive. His opponents should beware.

by Jacob Heilbrunn  at  National Interest  

With the resignation of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Donald Trump has fresh wind in his sails. As he prepares to nominate a second Supreme Court Justice and to head to two big foreign-policy summits as well as travel to the United Kingdom, Trump is on something of a rebound from his crisis at the border last week. Writing in CNN, the Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer argues that Democrats have badly underestimated Trump: “The possibility for President Trump to seriously transform American policy keeps growing and the potential for a two-term presidency can no longer be dismissed. This unstable, shallow television star is starting to demonstrate that he has some very real political muscle to keep pushing forward.”

Here are five ways Trump could dominate.

First, trade. After declaring that trade wars are “easy” to win, prudence appears to winning out over bellicosity, at least when it comes to China. For now, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin seems to have the upper hand. Trump backed off his most draconian threats towards China. He might also ponder that British prime minister Theresa May is desperate to strike a trade accord with America to avert the worst effects of Brexit. In June, she explained her dismay at the steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump had imposed on Britain and the European Union. According to her, “I am deeply disappointed at the unjustified decision by the US to apply tariffs to EU steel and aluminum imports. The US, EU and UK are close allies and have always promoted values of open and fair trade across the world.” She pleaded for a permanent exemption. Trump should push for a bilateral trade deal that is attractive to the UK.

Second, NATO. Trump can easily dominate the upcoming NATO summit either by blowing it up or by turning it into a success. This past Thursday, Trump met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and told him “Germany must demonstrate leadership in the alliance by addressing its longstanding shortfall in defense contributions.” Trump clearly sees the allies as a bunch of moochers who have been exploiting American largesse. The mood in Europe is grim, with allies openly questioning Trump. But this provides the perfect setting for Trump to upset expectations of a tense summit. As with trade, his demands have put him in an effective bargaining position—if he chooses to use it. The man who boasts about the art of the deal has a chance to show that he can deal artfully with Europe.

Third, Russia. Trump can burnish his foreign-policy credentials when he meets Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16. Trump has displayed deft public relations skills in meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and now Putin. Trump does not appear to have emerged with an agreement that will actually prompt North Korea to denuclearize, but the meeting did allow him to back off his fire and fury threats and make it look as though he was achieving peace, or at least a pause in hostilities. Congress has crimped Trump’s ability to lift sanctions. But Trump will likely seek to push for progress on Syria and Ukraine. If he can return with an agreement that let’s him start pulling out troops from Syria, it will be greeted with hosannas by his base, no matter what Beltway elites may say.

Fourth, Iran. Right now, Trump is pursuing a very hard line against Iran indeed. The decision of Russia and Saudi Arabia to increase oil production while the Trump administration is seeking to drive Iranian exports to “zero” could also force Tehran into a more conciliatory posture. Maybe Trump will be able to emulate Ronald Reagan and watch as Iranians rise up an overthrow the regime. Another path forward would be a new Iran agreement. Such a move would allow him to perform an end run around his critics. If Trump were to seal a détente with Tehran, he would be could go down in history as the great peacemaker.

Finally, Trump’s opposition. In seeking to bolster his presidency, Trump can count on the fact that he is driving his foes bananas. They’ve started to advocate the political equivalent of Defcon 1 measures to counter his administration. A case in point is an article in the Huffington Post titled “Hey, Democrats: Pack The Court.” It recommends “expanding the Supreme Court bench to 11 justices under the next Democratic president. Other reforms, including term limits to remove aging conservatives, may well be appropriate.” How would reforms target “aging conservatives” alone and not “aging liberals”? The author does not seem to consider that the next Republican president could emulate a Democratic predecessor and pack the court again, raising the number of justices to fifteen or more.

Is a Trump success guaranteed? Not a chance. Perhaps Trump will drive the economy into recession, or even depression, by pulling out of the World Trade Organization or by embarking upon a calamitous war with Iran. Maybe it really will be America alone if Trump blows up our alliances in Europe and Asia, while antagonizing China.

So far, however, his turbulent presidency is already more influential than many of his adversaries ever dreamed it would be. Once upon a time liberals dismissed Ronald Reagan as an “amiable dunce.” History rendered a different verdict. If Trump scores some successes in coming months, his improbable presidency could prove to be a Waterloo for his detractors.



Victor David Hanson on Dealing With Iran, North Korea

U.S. Has Leverage in Dealings With Iran, North Korea

by Victor Davis Hanson    at realclearpolitics:



Trump Will Meet With Kim Jong Un

Trump will accept Kim Jong Un’s invitation to meet, White House says

By Matt Richardson, Brooke Singman,  Fox News:

President Trump will accept an invitation by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to meet, the White House confirmed Thursday night, in a dramatic development after months of sabre-rattling between the two world leaders.

Kim extended the invitation and the president agreed that the two would meet by May, South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong announced at the White House.

“Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze,” Trump tweeted. “Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”

Earlier Thursday, Chung announced that Trump would meet with Kim to “continue the goal of denuclearization.”

Kim “expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible,” Chung said. “President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization.”

Kim, according to Chung, understands that joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. would continue. The North Korean leader, according to recent talks with Chung, also claimed to be “commited to denuclearization.”

“He (Kim) pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear missile tests,” Chung said, adding that Trump’s “leadership” and “maximum pressure” brought us “to this juncture.”

Chung said that “along with President Trump,” he is “optimistic of continuing a diplomatic process.” But he added that “the pressure will continue until North Korea matches its words with concrete actions.”