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The Horrific Korea War That Wasn’t (And No Thanks to Trump)

2 1 12
18.02.2019

SEOUL — With little more than a week to go before he meets again with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump continues to live with his illusions and insist the rest of the world share them.

At a stream-of-consciousness encounter with the press on Friday, Trump claimed the prime minister of Japan wants to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize because he saved the world from war.

Trump told reporters that when he sat down with Barack Obama after his election victory in 2016, the outgoing president “told me he was so close to starting a big war with North Korea."

Yes indeed, said Trump, Obama “would've gone to war with North Korea….was ready to go to war.”

How’s that again?

This from the guy who, soon after his inauguration, indulged in incandescent rhetoric about “fire and fury” and “total annihilation” as Kim Jong Un ordered a sixth underground nuclear test and multiple missile tests. When not threatening, he was demeaning and provoking “little rocket man.” On Friday, Trump bragged about his macho language in 2017: “My [nuclear] button is bigger than yours, and my button works.”

Now, as if to underscore his success as a peacemaker, Trump unctuously addresses one of the world’s most brutal dictators as “Chairman Kim” in deference to his role as chairman of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, and talks a great deal about Kim no longer testing his nukes or his missiles.

But, here’s the thing: Kim, exuding confidence in his nuclear deterrence, hasn’t ordered any nuclear or missile tests since late 2017—when he made it clear he could hit the continental United States. Obama’s objective, and the supposed aim of Trump’s sturm und drang, was to get Kim to give up those nukes altogether. That hasn’t happened—and doesn’t look like it’s going to.

As in so many other flights of presidential fancy, Trump’s claim to have rescued the U.S. from a Korean apocalypse is easily disproved.

“Obama did not talk war,” says Scott Snyder, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Korea expert. Indeed, said Snyder, Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who advocated preventive strikes in 2006, when he was a private citizen, ruled those out as “a possible option” ten years........

© The Daily Beast