January 3, 2018

"If you are a literal type of person who doesn’t recognize hyperbole or humor, I can see how this situation looks scary."

"But I promise you neither leader has a physical 'button' on his desk, of any size, to launch a nuclear attack. And I feel confident that both leaders understand humor and hyperbole when they see it. My view on all of this is that we are closer than we have ever been to a peace deal that results in a non-nuclear North Korea. Everything I see suggests President Trump is successfully 'setting the table,' as he likes to say, for productive talks. Can the hundred-year plan for reunification be far away?"

Writes Scott Adams, who is the type who recognizes — and writes — hyperbole and humor.

81 comments:

n.n said...

It's just "locker room" talk. Stereotypical masculine socialization.

Women gossip. Men exaggerate.

Kevin said...

But I promise you neither leader has a physical 'button' on his desk, of any size, to launch a nuclear attack.

How bad is our media that it takes a cartoonist to explain this to the American people?

rehajm said...

If you are a liberal type of person who doesn't recognize hyperbole or humor

FIFY.

eddie willers said...

How bad is our media that it takes a cartoonist to explain this to the American people?

I can't beat that.
I quit.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

There is also the element of "face saving" and "oriental" diplomacy, in the response from Trump to Little Leader.

When someone makes an overt threat or malicious boast, if you do not respond the threat will have been perceived as having hit the mark. Not responding would be a sign of weakness. Of cowering or other response that Kim could play off of and preen at his prowess

Trump, by responding, in a light-hearted but still firm manner has "saved face"
for himself and America, while at the same time giving Kim the respect of a response. And giving Kim plus his generals some pause to reflect.

It is all about the dance. Some people know how......others are clueless.

gadfly said...

Steve Bannon's new book, "Fire and Fury" describes the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” Bannon ... warned that the investigation into alleged collusion with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering and predicted: “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

Instead of alerting the FBI to a potential assault on American democracy by a foreign power, Trump Jr replied in an email: “I love it.” Bannon said: “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”

Bannon remarked mockingly: “The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers."

Bannon went on to say that if any such meeting had to take place, it should have been set up “in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, with your lawyers who meet with these people”. Any information, he said, could then be “dump[ed] … down to Breitbart or something like that, or maybe some other more legitimate publication”.

Bannon added: “You never see it, you never know it, because you don’t need to … But that’s the brain trust that they had.”

Virgil Hilts said...

Anxious for Anne's reaction to the Drudge-headlined article in Nymag http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/01/michael-wolff-fire-and-fury-book-donald-trump.html
If Trump never wanted to be President and did not expect to be President, it kind of explains (I think, but does not justify) his cavalier attitude towards some aspects of it. If this crap is true, will he really want to run for reelection?

Virgil Hilts said...

Ann not Anne

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

The collective left enjoy going ape shit. I enjoy watching them go ape shit.

eddie willers said...

Drudge headlined it in black. Then RED! Now back to black.

Probably one of those things where everyone is "OMG" then they read it and "pfffttt, whatever".

rehajm said...

My view on all of this is that we are closer than we have ever been to a peace deal that results in a non-nuclear North Korea

That scares lefties more than pushing the button.

Michael K said...

The Trump Jr meeting was misrepresented.

I don't disagree that he should have notified the FBI but I don;t think it was illegal.

The Trump kids were pretty naive, which is how they got involved with Manafort who was always a creep.

Bay Area Guy said...

Scott Adams - the Althouse political muse - continues to run circles around the mainstream media. He should be on Chuck Todd's show this weekend.

Humperdink said...

@gadfly. Did I miss Steve Bannon's name somewhere in the topic?

tcrosse said...

Attempted threadjacking alert.

Oso Negro said...

Scott Adams is a pretty smart fellow, but I think he is over-rating Kim Jong-un's appreciation of humor and hyperbole.

Michael K said...

That's a pretty good column by Adams. I agree.

If Iran and the Norks both fold their cards this year, what does that do to Democrats and their scare tactics ?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Closer than ever to a peace deal that results in a non-nuclear North Korea? Scott Adams is himself indulging in a little hyperbole.

Kim Jing Un’s game is to upset the Winter Olympics that are scheduled to start in South Korea in February. Russia is probably secretly helping, in revenge for the Sochi Olympycs being used as cover by the West for the 2014 Ukraine Revolution, and for its team getting banned from the 2018 Games.

Could be some interesting television, with the nuclear cloud over the sports venues.

J. Farmer said...

My view on all of this is that we are closer than we have ever been to a peace deal that results in a non-nuclear North Korea.

I would probably be willing to bet Scott Adams five grand that we do not see a "peace deal that results in a non-nuclear North Korea" anytime in at least the next three years. Any other takers?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This is the important point to take away from Adam's posting

The two leaders are trash-talking each other like sports rivals. But what is missed in the hysterics over wording is that President Trump and Kim Jung Un are negotiating personally, albeit in public. And I think it is safe to say both players know they are being over-the-top with their trash-talk. The odds of a nuclear miscalculation based on anything said so far is effectively zero. And if the rhetoric ratchets up to a new level of hyperbole, I would still see no additional risk. President Trump and Kim Jong Un have demonstrated they know the difference between trash-talk and action.

True, that Kim probably doesn't have the sense of humor or patience that we would hope he would have, but the fact that there is now a direct back and forth between the two (Trump & Kim) should be viewed as at least a step in a new direction.

Since the OLD direction has been a failure for decades a new direction is needed. The reaching out to South Korea is also a positive and likely something that would not be occurring without crazy ole Trump.

tcrosse said...

Could be some interesting television, with the nuclear cloud over the sports venues.

Be careful what you wish for.

rich hahn said...

I agree. What Trump really meant was that N Korea will cease exist if they are stupid enough to launch a nuke, but he said in a way liberals could understand. Obama had a pen and a phone and Trump has a nuke and a button.

Mike Sylwester said...

I hope that Kim will keep using the word dotard.

J. Farmer said...

@rich Hahn:

What Trump really meant was that N Korea will cease exist if they are stupid enough to launch a nuke...

I agree with that, but it's been a matter of faith among some that Kim is an unhinged maniac who would gladly launch a nuclear weapon despite any threats of a counterstrike. That is, he was supposedly undeterrable. But if North Korea can be deterred by threat of a retaliatory strike, then what threat does their nuclear arsenal really pose?

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

If Iran and the Norks both fold their cards this year, what does that do to Democrats and their scare tactics ?

What does "fold their cards" mean in relation to two very different regimes?

steve uhr said...

i can only imagine what the usual suspects on Althouse would say if Obama had said it. The unanimous reaction would be that he is mentally unstable and unfit to serve.

Curious George said...

"rehajm said...
My view on all of this is that we are closer than we have ever been to a peace deal that results in a non-nuclear North Korea"

Closer than we were in October of 1994?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TcbU5jAavw

sykes.1 said...

Actually, since Russia and Chinese betrayed North Korea by voting for UN sanctions, the North is looking for a new ally, and South Korea is it. The North and the South are a single race that has a common language, culture and history. And that history includes 35 years of brutal Japanese colonization. Both halves also suffered near genocidal losses in both WW II and Korea, much of it our doing. The idea that the South is an ally of Japan against the North is one of the remaining absurdities of WW II. Moon wants reconciliation with the North, and now Kim wants it, too. Expect it to happen.

Eventually, there will be some sort of non-aligned confederacy on the Peninsula, and the northern part will have a nuclear deterrent. There will no American forces in the South. We will adjust to it. Just like we adjusted to Pakistan.

AllenS said...

steve uhr said...
i can only imagine what the usual suspects on Althouse would say if Obama had said it. The unanimous reaction would be that he is mentally unstable and unfit to serve.

Bullshit, we remember his line in the sand comment, then the affirmative actioned President ran and hid.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What does "fold their cards" mean in relation to two very different regimes?

We will know it when we see it. We may be seeing the folding or unfolding now in Iran.

Know when to hold 'em know when to fold 'em.

He said, "Son, I've made a life
Out of readin' people's faces
Knowin' what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes
So if you don't mind me sayin'
I can see you're out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I'll give you some advice"

So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his faced lost all expression
He said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep
'Cause every hand's a winner
And every hand's a loser
And the best that you can hope for is to die
in your sleep

Dance the dance. Play the cards. Know when to hold. Know when to fold.

Lucien said...

So Bannon thinks that:

a) a presidential candidate, who:
b) deals with a foreign national to;
c) obtain dirt on another presidential candidate, that is:
d) in the hands of the Russian government, is:
e) treasonous?

Hmmmm . . who does that sound like to you?

dreams said...

Well, the liberals are just pretending that this is a cause for concern. They're just using it and anything thing they can as a weapon against Trump. FYI, Trump is going to solve the N Korea problem but the long term problem of China will continue to be a concern.

J. Farmer said...

@Dust Bunny Queen:

We will know it when we see it.

Well that's hard to quantify.

We may be seeing the folding or unfolding now in Iran.

Highly doubtful but let's say for the sake of argument that Iran is on the precipice of a democratic revolution? So what? A Democratic Iran will still be hostile towards Sunni Arab autocracies and will still support Palestinians and those engaged in assymetric warfare with Israel (e.g. Hezbollah).

CJ said...

I like how Adams tries to slide the conversation to make it seem like people are concerned about the use of the “button”. Ahem, Scott.

The real issue is what was said and the strategic thinking behind it.

I’ve been following Trump long enough to know that whatever other faults he has, he is not stupid, and his Tweets are more purposeful than they seem.

There are 2 options:
1), as Charles Cooke says in NRO today, what you se is what you get with Trump. In which case: Trump is trying to bait Kim into doing something or else show Kim to be all hat no cattle.

2) Or maybe there’s multiple layers - maybe Trump is really taunting China that their nuclear vassal that they think can be used to intimidate the West while Beijing apologizes will not work anymore

I’m a Trump supporter but it’s hard to see the strategic advantage of this tweet.

Michael K said...

Farmer, I suggest you read Luttwak's column on Iran Here.

As for the Norks, Adams has an interesting piece.

Iran will probably collapse in similar fashion to the USSR. Corruption has impoverished the people.

The Norks may try an accommodation with SK but there is serious risk of collapse al a East Germany,.

J. Farmer said...

Curious George:

Closer than we were in October of 1994?

Well, we weren't dealing with a nuclear North Korea in 1994. We have been for the last decade at least. Also, the 1994 Agreed Framework was an effective policy. This link is an effective corrective to a lot of the popular mythology floating around regarding diplomatic engagement with the North.

5 Myths on Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I doubt there will ever be a peace deal. That's a media driven narrative.

The US, and perhaps with help from and ally or two,(?) will need to find a way to get inside and gut Kim's regime from within. I have no idea how this would happen or if it's even possible. In the meantime, Trump needs to engage with Kim on his level because treating Lil' Kim like an adult is futile. He's a fat delusional god-child who builds prisons.

If North Koreans were allowed to leave, the nation would empty out of most of it inhabitants.



Dust Bunny Queen said...

Me: We will know it when we see it.

Farmer: Well that's hard to quantify.

I know! Just like porn, isn't it?

Birches said...

Asians (those residing in Asia) love Trump. I completely trust his instincts on this.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

Iran will probably collapse in similar fashion to the USSR. Corruption has impoverished the people.

The latter is undoubtedly true. But I think the former is quite a leap based on a very limited set of historical circumstances. Of course, if the regime collapses, how can you be confident that what comes in its place might be just as bad, or worse?

The Norks may try an accommodation with SK but there is serious risk of collapse al a East Germany,.

North Korea has made overtures to the South for years. There is nothing new here. What are the signs of a "serious risk of collapse?"

Michael K said...

A Democratic Iran will still be hostile towards Sunni Arab autocracies and will still support Palestinians and those engaged in assymetric warfare with Israel (e.g. Hezbollah).

You assume Iran will remain Shia Islam. David Goldman has been pointing for 5 years that mosque attendance is at 2%.

Some of the slogans being used by the protestors are about Islam.

I could see a collapse of Islam, as well as the regime. The mullahs are almost all corrupt.

As far as Hez bollah is concerned it is that support that is one of two or three chief complaints of the demonstrators. Read Luttwak's column.

Iran's GDP is less than that of Botswana.

J. Farmer said...

@Dust Bunny Queen:

I know! Just like porn, isn't it?

Well you could just be specific about what you think is going to happen. In other words, what will you see that will be the "it" you are waiting for?

@Dickin'Bimbos@Home:

The US, and perhaps with help from and ally or two,(?) will need to find a way to get inside and gut Kim's regime from within. I have no idea how this would happen or if it's even possible.

Even if it were "possible," which is doubtful, why on earth do you think that would be a wise strategy to pursue? It is absolutely shocking that after the last 20 years, people think a good strategy for US foreign policy is to forcibly overthrow regimes.

Big Mike said...

After all the hyperbole, all the pearl clutching, all the "learned experts" expounding on the alleged idiocy of Trump, at 1:30 EST, Kim Jong-un activated the hot line to South Korea's leadership. Apparently Kim Jong-un was conciliatory. This does not mean "peace in our time," but I think this is a clear win for Donald Trump.

Meade said...

"Hmmmm . . who does that sound like to you?"

Can you give us a hint? Was this person ever forced to dodge, say, sniper fire?

Matthew Sablan said...

"i can only imagine what the usual suspects on Althouse would say if Obama had said it."

-- We'd wonder if he'd actually adhere to his red line, or if he'd back off and let a dictator/totalitarian government get away with crimes against humanity despite warning them not to. Most Republicans *wanted* to back Obama with things like the Green Revolution or strengthening our allies against Russian invasion; it was the fact Obama *didn't* that the people on the right disliked. Or worse: He promised he would, then like with the Green Revolution, backed off once our allies put their lives on the line expecting assistance that never came.

Big Mike said...

Even if it were "possible," which is doubtful, why on earth do you think that would be a wise strategy to pursue? It is absolutely shocking that after the last 20 years, people think a good strategy for US foreign policy is to forcibly overthrow regimes.

Sometimes one really does need to fight. The alternative, a desperate North Korea with the ability to launch nuclear weapons on missiles capable of reaching our West Coast urban centers is a heavy thumb on the scale.

Inga said...

IIRC there was a certain doctor here who was all a-titter because he was going to see Steve Bannon speak, several weeks ago, lol. Bannon’s speaking now, as a matter of fact he’s spilling his guts!

tdocer said...

steve uhr said...

i can only imagine what the usual suspects on Althouse would say if Obama had said it. The unanimous reaction would be that he is mentally unstable and unfit to serve.

This is likely close to true. Key to the difference, though, is that Trump has a sense of humor. The tweet was funny. A similar tweet from Obama would play as serious and petty. He doesn't have the ear for humor.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

You assume Iran will remain Shia Islam. David Goldman has been pointing for 5 years that mosque attendance is at 2%.

Some of the slogans being used by the protestors are about Islam.

I could see a collapse of Islam, as well as the regime. The mullahs are almost all corrupt.


Mosque attendance is a poor metric for religiosity. Read Religious Participation among Muslims: Iranian Exceptionalism published in Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 15, No. 3, 217–232, Fall 2006.

From the abstract:

The article asks whether the peculiar characteristics of Shi’ism or of Islamic government in Iran are responsible for the low rates of mosque attendance. The survey evidence indicates a strong correlation between frequency of mosque attendance and positive evaluations of political governance. It also reveals that many people with strong religious beliefs do not attend Friday congregational prayers. Consequently, we need to inquire whether the politicization of religion in Iran has been a factor in its ‘privatization,’ that is, the tendency of pious believers to restrict their prayers to the privacy of the home.

From the conclusion:

While religious life in contemporary Iran gives some support to the universal applicability of the supply-side theory of religion, it also demonstrates some of its shortcomings. On the one hand, religious participation measured as attendance in the Friday congregations has been very low under conditions of extensive state regulation and monopolization. This is consistent with the expectations of the theory. On the other hand, Iranians continue to have strong religious beliefs and high levels of participation in rituals and pilgrimages, such as the pilgrimage to Mashad that are not regulated directly by the state. Despite the lack of pluralism and competition, religion has remained a major source of influence on how Iranians make sense of politics. For instance, more than 50 percent of respondents in the Tehran survey said they are, above all, Shi’is and an additional 26 percent said that they are Muslims; in contrast, only 19 percent said they are Iranians.

Achilles said...

steve uhr said...

i can only imagine what the usual suspects on Althouse would say if Obama had said it. The unanimous reaction would be that he is mentally unstable and unfit to serve.

Idiots have shitty imaginations.

Here is Obama being an absolute retard flappin his yap about red lines and whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.

Obama takes selfie at Mandela memorial. Total class act. If your wife has to split you up from other heads of state at a memorial you are a douche.

Agent sit down! *giggle titter* Your killing us sit down!

Trump is a model of class and decency compared to the last 2 democrat presidents, one of whom is an admitted rapist.

Michael K said...

Farmer, I guess we will agree to disagree.

The combination of things like the collapse in the birthrate and mosque attendance figures mean more to me than you.,

Richard Dillman said...

Did you know that many people pronounce hyperbole as hyperbowl. What kind of bowl game would that be?

Achilles said...

J. Farmer said...

The latter is undoubtedly true. But I think the former is quite a leap based on a very limited set of historical circumstances. Of course, if the regime collapses, how can you be confident that what comes in its place might be just as bad, or worse?

At a minimum we should be threatening and imposing sanctions on the regime if it sinks to brutality and violence against the protests. We should also consider protecting the Iranian people from aerial assault. It should at least be threatened so they think twice about it. At this point the only way the Mullahs hold power are mass casualty events. It may have already happened if Obama hadn't stupidly/treasonously propped the Mullahs up with illegal cash transfers.

If the Mullahs fall international terrorism will lose it's only real remaining state sponsor and Islam will take a huge step towards becoming a modern religion. That would absolutely be worth trying for.

North Korea has made overtures to the South for years. There is nothing new here. What are the signs of a "serious risk of collapse?"

This is wholly up to China. North Korea collapses tomorrow if China pulls the plug. China keeps the oil flowing and the food on the shelves.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

Farmer, I guess we will agree to disagree.

The combination of things like the collapse in the birthrate and mosque attendance figures mean more to me than you.,


If you are going to propose a collapse in religiosity as a cause, then you need to confront the totality of the evidence sited in the research article I linked to, such as that "Iranians continue to have strong religious beliefs and high levels of participation in rituals and pilgrimages, such as the pilgrimage to Mashad that are not regulated directly by the state."

William said...

I think that a nuclear war is not only possible but, in the fullness of time, inevitable. it might be between India and Pakistan or even North Korea and China, but it will happen. Poison gas had a revival. Weapons of war get used until they become obsolete. The kind of psycho who becomes absolute dictator of a third world country is not the kind of person who recognizes the limits of power. .,,,....Many years ago the Soviet Union invited us to join in a bilateral strike to destroy China's nuclear capabilities. The United States declined, but it happened. The Soviet Union was their erstwhile ally at the time. Does anyone in China remember? There's a downside for China in sharing a border with a nuclear armed psycho.

Michael K said...

Farmer, I don't want an argument with you.

I think we will find out in good time.

Did you read the Luttwak article.?

Michael K said...

For one thing, Farmer, your source is 12 years old and that probably predates a lot of the corruption that has affected religiosity.

Remember the Green Revolution was three years after that publication date,

J. Farmer said...

@William:

The kind of psycho who becomes absolute dictator of a third world country is not the kind of person who recognizes the limits of power.

I do not think that is very accurate. Qadaffi is a prime example. Deterrence works.

There's a downside for China in sharing a border with a nuclear armed psycho.

China has more to worry about a nuclear North Korea than we do for sure.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

For one thing, Farmer, your source is 12 years old and that probably predates a lot of the corruption that has affected religiosity.

What corruption began within the last 12 years that did not exist previously? Also, you do not have any evidence of an affect on "religiosity." The only metric you have cited is a decline in Friday congregation attendance. And there is plenty of evidence that there has not been any significant decline in religiosity among Iranians.

Remember the Green Revolution was three years after that publication date,

So what? The Green Revolution was surrounding the support of a particular presidential candidate. It was not a widespread mass movement for overthrowing the regime.

rehajm said...

What are the signs of a "serious risk of collapse?...This is wholly up to China. North Korea collapses tomorrow if China pulls the plug. China keeps the oil flowing and the food on the shelves.

We conditioned NK to threaten nuclear every time they were in need. It hasn't worked this time and I suspect they are starving. We've had the trickle of evidence of skeleton fishermen and guards ricking their lives to run across the border. Given how the MSM media and government leakers are busy trying to get Trump they're too busy to inquire about additional intelligence the United States may have on the current state of affairs in NK but I'd hypothesize US officials might know more than is being reported.

Lem said...

Scott’s predictions have been very good, so far.

Lem said...

Except for Obamacare

Achilles said...

J. Farmer said...

So what? The Green Revolution was surrounding the support of a particular presidential candidate. It was not a widespread mass movement for overthrowing the regime.

Citation please. The movement lasted nearly a month and ended with thousands of people imprisoned and tortured. Just as today it occurred in many cities.

Not sure why you support the Mullahs so enthusiastically. Anything that came after them would be better for the world. It would be nearly impossible for the following regime to be any worse.

Drago said...

According to Steve Uhr, the islamists are killing their own people who want greater freedom but its obama that is hardest hit.

Thanks for that hit take Steve.

J. Farmer said...

@Achilles:

Citation please. The movement lasted nearly a month and ended with thousands of people imprisoned and tortured. Just as today it occurred in many cities.

Where do you think the "green" came from? It was the color for Mir-Hossein Mousavi's presidential campaign, which he lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That many of Mousavi's followers believed that the election was a fraud was the genesis of the Green Movement, whose main demand was for the removal of Ahmadinejad and the installation of Mousavi as President of Iran. Mousavi is a reformist politician, but he still ultimately supports the Islamic Republic.

Not sure why you support the Mullahs so enthusiastically.

First, even if I did "support the Mullahs so enthusiastically," it would make no difference to whether anything I wrote was right or wrong, correct or incorrect, logical or illogical. Second, it is an obviously absurd charge. Third, I challenge you to quote a single thing I have ever written that could be construed as "support" for the Mullahs, enthusiastic or otherwise.

It would be nearly impossible for the following regime to be any worse.

How is the Islamic Republic quantitatively or qualitatively worse than, say, the Saudis?

Birkel said...

Smug has opinions.

Jon Ericson said...

Jew hater.

Kevin said...

Bannon’s speaking now, as a matter of fact he’s spilling his guts!

And it's just a big yawn. I'm sure his publisher demanded the inside dirt to really boost sales.

There is nothing new here.

Achilles said...

J. Farmer said...

How is the Islamic Republic quantitatively or qualitatively worse than, say, the Saudis?

If you haven't noticed the hardliners in Saudi Arabia are being purged and the current regime is openly talking about modernizing Islam. It is allied with Israel for all intents and purposes and is pushing for regional stability.

Iran is supporting and funding directly Hezbollah, Syria, the Houthi's, and several other destabilizing groups in the ME. Saudi Arabia has pulled their support of the Palestinians and ISIS.

As of recently Saudi Arabia is infinitely better.

Michael K said...

I have quit responding to Farmer but I will say the the Saudis, a few of whom funded terrorism against us, have not been sending troops and shaped charge weapons against us in Iraq.

J. Farmer said...

@Achilles:

If you haven't noticed the hardliners in Saudi Arabia are being purged and the current regime is openly talking about modernizing Islam.

No, the regime is not "openly talking about modernizing Islam." It is attempting to modernize its economy away from oil and is attempting to come to terms with its financial difficulties. But the Saudi regime has been trying to do this unsuccessfully. Those being "purged" are not "hardliners" but various factions mostly among various Saudi princelings in the Crown Prince's efforts to consolidate his power and access to the throne upon his aging father's death.

Iran is supporting and funding directly Hezbollah, Syria, the Houthi's, and several other destabilizing groups in the ME.

Hezbollah is a very minor power in the region that's power is almost totally centered in Lebanon and its primary obsession is the Israeli occupation. Syria did not destabilize the Middle East until outside forces began funding, arming, and supporting various radical salafi jihadist groups to wage war against the Assad regime. Iranian support for the Houthis is legible, and again the Houthis are concentrated almost entirely in Yemen and are marginal actors on the international stage. The fruitless destructive Saudi war against Yemen is a prime example of Saudi Arabia being infinitely more destabilizing for the region. Not to mention, as part of Saudi Arabis' war against Yemen, it has made common cause with and has provided support to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is also waging a war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has also supported various radical Islamic groups in Iraq, the Balkans, and Central Asia, not to mention being the primary funder and force for spreading Wahabbism in the Muslim world. And on top of Saudi Arabia's destructive influence abroad, it is an absolute monarchy that practices extrajudicial murders and police state practices. The average Muslim woman is much better off in Iran than she is in Saudi Arabia.

@Michael K:

I have quit responding to Farmer but I will say the the Saudis, a few of whom funded terrorism against us, have not been sending troops and shaped charge weapons against us in Iraq.

A large part of the foreign Iraqi insurgency were in fact Saudis. They also provided support for Sunni forces in Iraq that did attack and kill American soldiers.

Seeing Red said...

the usual suspects on Althouse would say if Obama had said it. The unanimous reaction would be that he is mentally unsta


That he finally had a set of balls and we don't bow to anyone like he did as president.

But he never would have because that's not him. He led from behind.

Seeing Red said...

What are the signs of a "serious risk of collapse?"


The things the CIA ignored and Ronnie told them to look at with the Soviets.

Then the pushing commences.

Do the SorKs have the money?

We can feed them but the psychological disaster is immense.

Birkel said...

Smug: "...Israeli occupation..."

Smug has opinions that some people are worse than other people based on a factor that can be ascertained if one tries. But who has time for Smug?

Lucien said...

I negotiate for a living. So does (did) Trump. So does Kim Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong Il.

One of the strategies at the negotiating table is "the crazy guy" and the Kim Jongs have been playing that strategy for years.

Long before the Norks developed nuclear weapons, the Kim Jongs screamed that they would unleash a (conventional) missile barrage against South Korea if not left alone. When Clinton and Dubya unsuccessfully tried to deal with the Korean crisis that was the threat. And ultimately the West bowed to those threats - allowing the Norks time to develop nukes.

The Kim Jongs have in other words successfully played the crazy guy strategy for decades, like a guy pointing a pistol at an innocent hostage and screaming, "I'll pull the trigger, I will!" While everyone keeps telling them not to pull the trigger on their pistol, they use the time to build a rifle.

Now along comes Trump, who knows how to negotiate (unlike Clinton, Dubya and especially unlike Obama). Trump decides to change the dynamic by playing the crazy guy himself. "You have a rifle? I have a machine gun. Let's see who's more crazy."

The result? Kim Jong Un calls South Korea on the emergency line and starts talking about appearing at the Olympics. Let's watch and see... but often the best response at the negotiating table to the Crazy Guy strategy is: "I'll Show You Crazy!"

Big Mike said...

Hezbollah is a very minor power in the region

You have some sort of proof of this against-the-conventional-wisdom assertion, perhaps?

Birkel said...

The Army of God (Hez b'Allah) does not bother Smug.

Those other people of some indeterminate religious stripe do.

Smug is also coy, at need.

Anonymous said...

"i can only imagine what the usual suspects on Althouse would say if Obama had said it. The unanimous reaction would be that he is mentally unstable and unfit to serve. "

Isn't the same true of almost any Trump tweet?

It's crazy enough when Trump says this stuff, and Trump is famous for his crazy.

J. Farmer said...

@Big Mike:

You have some sort of proof of this against-the-conventional-wisdom assertion, perhaps?

Hezbollah is confined to Lebanon, a country of six million people. It has no air force, and its military wing is focused almost exclusively on Israel. I would recommend Hezbollah is Not a Threat to America by Sharmine Narwani in The American Conservative.

@Birkel:

But who has time for Smug?

You sure seem to.

Kansas Scout said...

Adam's is a smart guy that does not know his limits.

bridgecross said...

First, I'm not sure that Adams can confidently say whether Kim Jong-un understands hyperbole or irony.

Second, I'm still waiting for the Trump that Adams sees to show himself. His explanation for all Trump's actions and words have been; it's a clever ruse to rile up snowflakes, or set the stage for some future deal. It's been 3 years now, where's the payoff? Adams will be waiting another three years for Trump to spring his crafty trap.