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Missile Diplomacy
Trump’s THAAD Dilemma

It’s not just Western allies who are closely watching president-elect Trump for signs of how his foreign policy will shape up. China is carefully eyeing the prospect for the deployment of an anti-missile system in South Korea as an early tell for clues as to American priorities in 2017 and beyond, Reuters reports:

Whether President-elect Donald Trump goes through with a deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea will be a key indicator to how political ties unfold with China, sources with ties to the leadership in Beijing said. […]

South Korea and the United States have agreed to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system to counter missile threats from North Korea. It is expected to be in place within eight to 10 months, the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea said earlier this month.

China has argued the planned deployment undermines strategic stability in Northeast Asia, and worries that THAAD’s powerful radar provides coverage of China’s missile installations.

On the campaign trail, Trump has questioned America’s traditional security commitments in Asia and even raised the possibility of Japan and South Korea acquiring nukes. More recently, one adviser has suggested that Trump would aggressively push back against any Chinese attempts to change the security status quo in Asia.

But traditional U.S. allies are not being completely ignored. Today at Trump Tower, the president-elect was set to meet with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who hopes to gain reassurances about Trump’s continued commitment of the U.S.-Japanese alliance. And earlier, Trump fielded a phone call from South Korea’s President Park Gun-hye, who says Trump made a commitment to upholding South Korean defense ties, despite his rhetoric on the campaign trail.

A lesson, then, for all in the media who are ready to pounce on every crumb of information, however shoddily sourced, that presumably sheds light on what is going on in Trump Tower these days: be more like the Xi and Putin regimes, and wait and observe. It’s far from clear yet how things are going to ultimately play out.

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  • Andrew Allison

    Oh, please. As the post acknowledges, the South Korean THAAD deployment was approved by the current administration well before the election, and the Chinese response discussed here. What would change if Trump decided not to intervene? The “damage” such as it is is done. Where’s the dilemma? Somehow I don’t see Trump following in Obama’s footsteps and kissing Chinese (and every other enemy’s) a…

  • f1b0nacc1

    More to the point, South Korea (and Japan) are both more than willing to pull their share of the load when it comes to defense. Here is a perfect example where a bilateral (or trilateral) defense strategy would be quite useful. Trump isn’t against ANY deals, just those that involve us carrying the burden and others reaping the benefits….

  • Fat_Man

    At the beginning of Obama’s administration, he decided to improve relations with Russia, by cancelling missile defense radars that Poland and Czech Republic had agreed to host. Obama hung the Poles and Czechs out to dry, and Putin pocketed the concession, and invaded Ukraine.

    That idea worked so well that Trump should do the same thing to South Korea? Are you guys feeling well? Maybe you need to cut back on the booze and funny cigarettes. Oh yeah, and lay off the Bolivian marching powder, it is very bad for you.

  • FriendlyGoat

    “despite his rhetoric on the campaign trail” from the sixth paragraph above is going to be a necessary copy phrase for most articles about the Trump Administration for some time to come. Nearly everything the rally attendees bought into was pure bullsh*t——often completely impossible bullsh*t.

    • Jim__L

      Often completely contradictory bullsh*t, as a matter of fact. I’m sure that he changed his mind and his message so often on the campaign trail, you’ll be able to find both a promise he’s kept and a promise he’s broken that apply to every decision he makes from here on out.

      They’re called “campaign promises” for a reason.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Yes, and in the church lying used to be called lying for a reason. That you and your brethren can adopt the “wasn’t that cute?” attitude to a campaign of false witness is why I already told you who just “took over” as leader of the protestant churches.

        • Jim__L

          Again, you guys chose as your champion-against-lies… a CLINTON.

          What were you thinking???

          • Andrew Allison

            Answer: screw her (dis)qualifications, she’s part of the club and it’s her turn. What’s amazing (encouraging?) is that the entire Democratic establishment, including the MSM, is desperately searching for external scapegoats (Facebook for crying out loud?). I suspect, incidentally, that the MSM’s negativity on everything-Trump is driving even more nails into its collective coffin.

    • Anthony
      • FriendlyGoat

        Yes, thanks, very insightful. I have always been proud of Obama because most of things I heard from him rang credible to me, including these in the New Yorker. As you know, there was a contingent of people eight years ago who became unwilling to embrace anything traceable to Obama and to always go a hard 180 degrees opposite, no matter the subject, with their intensity only increasing over time.

        As an observation on this election, I believe the most important demographic electing Donald Trump is a loose confederation of protestant church people who, in my view, have gone completely off the rails spiritually—-BECAUSE of politics ruining the churches, and the Obama-rejection thing is no small part of that. The exit poll assessment is that 81% of white evangelicals just voted for Donald Trump in spite of everything visible in the campaign—-from issues, to Trump’s words on policy (and otherwise) , to Trump’s optics, to the vicious and unnecessary smearing of Hillary. To my way of thinking, we cannot fix the political aspect of America unless we can retrieve the spiritual aspect from the toilet it went in over the last thirty-five years. I sensed this problem in the Reagan era, but that beginning has only slid further downhill to the present documented condition.

        Here is an article from a Christian site which seeks to reconcile all this in their own camp after realizing that 81% has suddenly cast the word “evangelical” into a bad light. Speaking too much to the personal aspects of Trump and Clinton and implying that people could be or should be excused for voting “against Clinton”, it seems to ignore policy—–which is where 81% the church seems to have lost all discernment. But you really should look at the two comments added by comment writers. These tell us what the problem is—-just as Tom and Jim_L “tell” me here every day what the problem is.

        • Anthony

          It’s coincidental because earlier today I was thinking about the choice my country made (grabbing a…is okay because….). I’ll read the article and get back to you. As an aside, TAI just posted our referenced article inside a new Post – you may have something to say on Post subject matter.

        • Anthony


        • Tom

          “who, in my view, have gone completely off the rails spiritually—-BECAUSE of politics ruining the churches, and the Obama-rejection thing is no small part of that.”

          And that’s the sort of thing that brings out the snark. “You’re off the rails spiritually because you disagree with me politically.” Seriously?

          • FriendlyGoat

            My comment was not written for the purpose of convincing right side people of anything. It is written as part of a thought theme on what left side people need to recognize and work with in order to prevent future catastrophes—-as if this one isn’t terminal enough in its gravity. If you want to have a bigger fit about my thoughts about this in particular, you can go TAI’s story on “Fake News” which is still up current. I expanded on this there.

            For the record, my view of your last sentence is that anyone who paid attention to the campaign, bothers to concentrate of issues, knows Trump’s pre-election comments on issues, knows Trump’s reported antics with women, knows Trump’s tendency to be derisive,
            and voted for him anyway is off the rails spiritually. You can take that to the bank. But realize—–as I do—– that I could talk to any of thousands of church leaders who would say the same of me for supporting Hillary Clinton in this election. They would be telling me to repent of my politics. This is precisely the problem.

    • Rodney

      Management consultant Tom Peters had a slogan: Ready. Fire. Aim. In other words, be willing to try new things and scrap what doesn’t work. Trump seemed to embody that slogan. I never expected President Trump to be the same person as candidate Trump, and I doubt I am alone in that view.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I don’t recall candidate Trump schooling his rallies on that slogan from Tom Peters. You can say anything you want about Trump, but an alignment of Republicans in all the power seats is what it is. The party has been aiming for 40 years and I know what is going to be shot—-even if you don’t.

      • Andrew Allison

        Ready, Fire, Aim originally meant what it says, namely firing before you know what or where the target is (e.g.,+Fire,+Aim). It’s also known as premature execution [grin]

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Unlike Obama “The Worst President in American History”, Trump is going to do what’s best for America on a Logistical Level. “Captains should study tactics, Generals ‘Must’ study Logistics”.

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