Trump standing in front of some flags
President Donald Trump at the US Treasury Department building, April 21, 2017. (Photo/JTA-Shawn Thew-Pool-Getty Images)

J. editorial wrong on Trump and North Korea

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Trump moves on North Korea could make a difference

People may reasonably disagree over President Trump’s rhetoric in the crisis with North Korea. However, your editorial went over the line with: “Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un are not unalike. Both indulge in pathological self-infatuation and make over-the-top threats they don’t intend to carry out.”

A reader without other news sources would never guess that President Trump has forcefully raised the issue of the North Korean nuclear program with China’s President Xi during his July visit and in subsequent communications. Nor would anyone guess that we recently obtained unanimous approval for a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear program.

President Obama’s policy of “strategic patience” has not worked, though he must be credited with his July 2016 decision to deploy the THAAD anti-missile system to South Korea.

Less well-known is the strategic cooperation between North Korea and Iran. In February, Peter Vincent Pry, chief of staff of the Congressional Electromagnetic Pulse Commission, and former CIA Director James Woolsey wrote, “Since North Korea and Iran are strategic partners, and since nuclear testing is unnecessary to develop weapons, Iran too might already have nuclear-armed missiles.”

Let us hope that the diplomatic, military and economic pressure will bring this crisis to a reasonable conclusion. Of course, policies should be subject to vigorous, critical discussion. However, the president should have the support of all Americans in his attempt to neutralize this growing national security threat.

Steve Astrachan,
Pleasant Hill

Don’t repeat 1938 mistake and appease North Korea

You have oft expressed your extreme animus to President Trump, as is your right. Yet your editorial (“Duck-and-cover? Didn’t work then, won’t work now,” Aug. 9) bizarrely asserts that President Trump is as insane as the third generation of North Korea’s absolute dictators, the Kim family, who have murdered immediate family members — spouses, siblings and uncles — to assure their continued, absolute power.

Over the last three decades, Korea’s leaders have demanded economic and military aid from the U.S. in the form of blackmail. “If you don’t give us X, Y or Z, we shall attack America.” The USA acquiesced to those threats. This is not the definition of negotiation but of appeasement.

In 1938, Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier ceded parts of Czechoslovakia to Hitler in an effort to appease that insane, power-mad leader and prevent war. Their appeasement achieved neither goal. Indeed, Al Gore (a well-respected proponent of the political left) stated in an Aug. 11 interview in Newsweek magazine: “Trump inherited this [North Korea] crisis. The last three presidents were not able to find an adequate solution, so [Trump] can’t be blamed for all this.”

The success of Cold War-era restraint was the rational understanding by Soviet and USA leadership of “mutually assured destruction.” Korea does not have a rational leader, so that approach will not work. Attempting a dialogue or showing indulgence is suicidal.

Fred Korr,

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