Remember, they said Hillary was a shoo-in.
I do not know what the situation is in South Korea. Neither does Martha Raddatz.
Here is the difference, the woman who nearly broke down and cried on national TV the night her candidate lost, now thinks she knows what the situation is in South Korea because she's there.
Don't be fooled by her being in South Korea on Sunday. I happen to be here too. That gives me absolutely no insight into the situation because I am not an expert on the Korean War, the Korean culture, or the history of Korea.
But like Uncle Traveling Matt, Raddatz plunges forward as an expert in everything.
From ABC This Week:
RADDATZ: Hello, from Seoul, South Korea. It's evening here in this city of 10 million people on high alert on a weekend of escalating tensions. Hours ago, there was yet another North Korean missile launch, the fifth of 2017. This time, it blew up seconds after leaving the launch pad. U.S. officials believe it was likely a medium-range ballistic missile of the kind we have seen before.
But, still, the latest launch rattled nerves, especially after the Sunday appearance Saturday of what could be new long-range weapons at North Korea's big anniversary parade, canisters that appear large enough to house a missile capable of hitting the United States. You can see them there rolling past North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Green camo on huge transporters.
If he, indeed, has a missile big enough to reach the United States, and if he can make a warhead small enough to fit on it, will the U.S. be forced the respond?
This hour, all the angles on the most important story in the world right now. And the urgent questions: How far along is North Korea's nuclear program? Are the new missiles we saw at Saturday's parade real? Does Donald Trump have a firm red line? Is there room for negotiation or are Trump and Kim on a collision course?
Vice President Mike Pence arrived here in Seoul today, the start of a ten-day Asia tour. And with China warning both sides to cool it, North Korea is at the top of the administration's agenda. In a moment, we'll talk to Trump National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, a powerful voice in the president's inner circle. He's in Afghanistan, where the United States just proved what it can do with the "mother of all bomb" strikes on ISIS, a dramatic show of American firepower.
But we begin with North Korea's warning that it will annihilate military bases here in South Korea. They said in minutes if the U.S. tries to take out its nuclear program.
We visited the most important of those front line bases, Osan Air Base, just south of Seoul, 48 miles from the border with North Korea. We got exclusive and unprecedented access.It is big-foot journalism. The big star TV hops on the plane, lands in the middle of the action, and gets VIP treatment. Her "exclusive and unprecedented access" is marketing talk. Scott Pelley at CBS or Brian Williams at NBC could get such access, too. This is very, very precedented.
Her description of Seoul as a "city of 10 million people on high alert on a weekend of escalating tensions" may be true, but it is not what I am seeing.
I am not really sure that foreign correspondents stationed there do much good. They live in slivers of countries -- the Manhattans -- not keenly tuned in to the western Pennsylvanias that can prove pivotal. This is a long-standing argument.
Where journalists can help is by looking at what has come before, and Josh Meyers of Politico did just that:
Even as Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping pledge to stop North Korea’s fast-advancing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, there’s one uncomfortable secret that neither leader has publicly acknowledged: Chinese banks and businesses are playing key roles in providing Pyongyang with access to the global markets they need to acquire critical parts and technologies.
For at least a decade, North Korea has sidestepped U.S. and United Nations sanctions against its own trading and financial institutions by establishing a global network of front companies, shell companies and third-country agents to seek parts, technology and financing for its weapons programs, according to interviews with current and former counterproliferation officials and congressional documents.
These front companies rely on assistance provided by Chinese banks to gain access to U.S. and global financial systems, often by conducting transactions in U.S. dollars, and on Chinese businesses to obtain weapons parts, according to those sources.
In a little-noticed letter sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in February, six senators called on the administration to target Chinese banks and other entities as a way of effectively cutting off North Korea’s access to hard currency it uses to finance its illicit weapons-of-mass-destruction programs.
“With the risks of proliferation and war now at a critical stage,” they wrote, “we have no more time to waste on inaction.”So, the solution to a military problem may be financial.
Six decades ago, when China was just as bad off as North Korea, it had no interest making peace. China backed the Norks. China had nothing to lose.
Now it does.
My guess is the Korean War will end soon (it is in its 64th year of ceasefire) without another shot fired.
But we shall see what happens.
The original, "Trump the Press" chronicled and mocked how the media missed Trump's nomination.
It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.
Then came "Trump the Establishment," covering the election, which again the media missed.
It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.
Autographed copies of both books are available by writing me at DonSurber@GMail.com
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