I can't decide which is more embarrassing for our country: President Donald Trump buddying up to North Korea's Kim Jong Un, or Trump praising Russia's Vladimir Putin for being "strong" in his denial of election meddling. A recent cartoon shows Kim and Putin sharing stories about how easy it is to fool our self-absorbed, easily flattered excuse for a president.

Speaking after the Singapore Summit, Trump praised Kim for being "very smart," and he was disappointed the American people did not love him as much as North Koreans did their murderous dictator. John Feffer of the Institute for Policy Studies said this "was an enormous propaganda gift to the North Korean leader."

Without an agreement on any definite steps toward North Korea's denuclearization, Trump tweeted: "There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea." As with most of Trump's ill-advised pronouncements, administrative officials had to walk back one more giveaway to the North Koreans.

Without consulting anyone, Trump canceled the annual war games in conjunction with the South Korean military, which he said were "provocative" and too costly. On May 3, taking the South Korean government totally off guard, Trump ordered the Pentagon to prepare for a reduction in the 28,000 troops stationed in the country.

Trump frequently calls Iran a nuclear threat, but thanks to Obama's hard bargaining, the Iranians don't have any nuclear warheads to put on their missiles. The 2015 agreement required the Iranians to destroy centrifuges that produced uranium-235, and 95 percent of its nuclear material has now been shipped to Russia.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are on the ground to keep the Iranians honest, but they may soon be asked to leave. Trump's decision to scrap Obama's good deal will now allow the Iranians to make their first bombs.

For almost 10 years, the IAEA was present in North Korea, monitoring its sites. In 1992, North Korea signed the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and in 1994, President Bill Clinton negotiated an agreement with the North Koreans to stop the production of plutonium.

Republicans had always criticized Clinton for being too soft, and President George W. Bush's harder line led to North Korea asking the IAEA to leave in 2003. The result is that North Korea now may have as many as 65 nuclear weapons and it has the capacity to produce one more every week if it chooses to.

One U.S. official told NBC "there's no evidence that the North Koreans are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production. There is unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S."

Meetings after the Singapore Summit have not gone very well, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo finally admitted his first meeting "went as badly as it could have gone." Kim visited a potato farm rather than meeting with Pompeo, and he canceled a meeting about returning the remains of soldiers who died in the Korean War.

At a recent meeting with Republican leaders in Nevada, Trump said "thousands of parents" had begged him to do something about this, and he said the remains of 200 soldiers had already been returned. Pompeo, once again in rescue mode, admitted "We have not yet physically received them."

Parents of Korean War veterans would be more than 100 years old, and given the fact there are only about 53,000 such people in the country today, Trump's story is yet another one of his self-serving fabrications.

Iraq War veteran Will Fischer is outraged: "It's beyond the pale to lie about remains of fallen service persons already being returned, when they, in fact, haven't been. Remains like these aren't some prize, where you can make up some big fish stories."


Nick Gier taught philosophy at the University of Idaho for 31 years. He can be reached at ngier006@gmail.com.

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