American Thinkers

Heart Wrenching Tale – God Be Merciful …

Posted on June 9, 2019. Filed under: American Thinkers |

From Wikipedia –

Jaycee Lee Dugard.jpg

The kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard occurred on June 10, 1991, in Meyers, California. Dugard, 11 years old, was abducted from a street while walking to a school bus stop.

Searches began immediately after her disappearance, but no reliable leads were generated despite the fact that her stepfather, Carl Probyn, witnessed her kidnapping and chased the kidnappers on his mountain bike.

Dugard remained missing until 2009, when a convicted sex offender, Phillip Garrido, visited the University of California, Berkeley, campus in Berkeley accompanied by two girls, now known to be his daughters, on August 24 and 25 that year.

The unusual behavior of the trio sparked an investigation that led Garrido’s parole officer to order him to take the two girls to a parole office in Concord, California, on August 26.

He was accompanied by a woman identified as Jaycee Dugard, 29 years old.

Phillip, 58, and his wife, Nancy Garrido, 54, of Antioch, were arrested by police for kidnapping, imprisonment, and sexual assault.

On April 28, 2011, they pleaded guilty to Dugard’s kidnapping and sexual assault.

Law enforcement officers believe Dugard was kept in concealed tents, sheds, and lean-tos in an area behind the Garridos’ house in Antioch for 18 years.

During such time, Dugard gave birth to two daughters, who were 11 and 15 at the time of her reappearance.

On June 2, 2011, Garrido was sentenced to 431 years to life imprisonment; his wife, Nancy, received 36 years to life.

Garrido is a person of interest in at least one other San Francisco Bay Area missing person case.

In 2010, the State of California awarded the Dugard family US$20 million.

In 2011, Dugard wrote an autobiography titled A Stolen Life. Her second book, Freedom: My Book of Firsts, was published in 2016.

According to interviews, she remains single, focusing on herself, her children, and her family.

Her exact location has not been told to the public.

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History – ‘Pearl Harbor’ …

Posted on June 9, 2019. Filed under: American Thinkers |

USS Arizona as Turret No. 2 collapsed. PHOTO: CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGESByTom Nagorski

For most of us, it’s an unfathomable trauma: A son’s military unit has come under attack, and in the hours or days that follow parents wait for news, to learn whether he has lived or died.

Impossible, then, to imagine such pain and anxiety multiplied—two or more sons in the same peril, their fates unknown. Precisely this circumstance arose in the aftermath of one of World War II’s most familiar episodes.

When USS Arizona was attacked in the early hours of Dec. 7, 1941, 38 sets of siblings were on board, brothers serving on the same doomed vessel. For 38 families, the horror of Pearl Harbor and the agony of the wait for news would be doubled, or worse.BROTHERS DOWN By Walter R. Borneman Little, Brown, 337 pages,

This is the framing for “Brothers Down,” a book that Walter R. Borneman says he wrote because “the Pearl Harbor story has never been told through the eyes of the many brothers serving together aboard the Arizona.” His book invites us to imagine from yet another perspective the loss of that tragic morning.

“All aboard the Arizona were figurative brothers in arms,” he writes, “but these men were literal brothers in blood.”Among the siblings serving on the Arizona in early December 1941 were Gordon and Malcolm Shive, a Marine and a Navy man from Laguna Beach, Calif.; naval gunners Jake and John Anderson, twins in a family of 10 from Dilworth, Minn.; and the three Becker brothers from rural Kansas—who were happy for one another’s company at sea.

“They had always taken care of one another growing up,” Mr. Borneman writes. “For the Becker brothers, it really was a family affair.”Early on the author answers a question that many modern readers may have: How could so many siblings wind up on the same ship in such a perilous moment?

First, most had enlisted months or years before, when things seemed less dangerous and war involving the United States far less likely. More important—and this notion would persist after Pearl Harbor—commanders believed that deploying siblings together would boost morale.

A young man might feel better, as those young Becker men plainly did, knowing that he had a brother nearby. In short, this was an era, as Mr. Borneman says, “when family members serving together was an accepted, even encouraged practice.”

Mr. Borneman prepares the reader for a Pearl Harbor book told “through the eyes” of those siblings. In fact, while “Brothers Down” is a solid rendering of the Pearl Harbor disaster writ large, it doesn’t fully match the billing.

That’s because, having introduced us to many of the young men, their hometowns and their respective paths to the Arizona, he leaves their stories for long patches of the book to build a richly detailed narrative of the road to Dec. 7, 1941: the Arizona’s christening at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1915; the fraught post-World War I diplomacy; the buildup of the U.S. naval fleet; the minting of the naval station at Pearl Harbor.

Later, as the day of “infamy” nears,

Mr. Borneman reviews communications between Tokyo and Washington, the intelligence reports that arrived that fall, and the varying ways these were received—including Vice Adm. Wilson Brown’s unfortunate assessment, given just a few weeks before Dec. 7, that “Japanese fliers were not capable of executing [an aerial attack on Hawaii] successfully.”

”It’s wrenching, poignant stuff, and “Brothers Down” is a memorable book, one more telling of that awful day, and the different ways it ravaged families.

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Short, Sweet Story of the Simple …

Posted on April 25, 2019. Filed under: American Thinkers |

Ronald James Read (1921 – 2014). worked as a gas station attendant and mechanic for 25 years.and then took a part-time janitor job where he worked for 17 years.

He grew up in an impoverished farming household. He walked or hitchhiked four miles daily to high school and was the first high school graduate in his family.

He died bequeathing US $1.2 million to a Library and $4.8 million to a Hospital.

He had amassed a $8 million fortune by investing in stocks, avoiding the stock of companies he did not understand, living very frugally and being a buy and hold investor in blue chip companies.

Surely a Full Life. Brings to mind Duke Ellington’s Quote when his friend Louis Armstrong, passed away, “He was born Poor and died Rich and in between hurt Nobody on the Way” …

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Alcatraz – Possible Escape Story? …

Posted on March 14, 2019. Filed under: American Thinkers |

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A Tree …

Posted on January 25, 2019. Filed under: American Thinkers |

3200 YEARS IN ONE PHOTOGRAPH~ AT SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK ~ 

Thankfully, no loggers took it down, nor forest fires or earthquakes!  Just a quiet life in a California forest for all these years … 3,200! 

Not every tree has a nickname, but ‘The President’ has earned it. This giant sequoia stands at 247 feet tall & is estimated to be over 3,200 years old.  

Imagine, this tree was already 700 years old during the height of ancient Greece’s civilization and 1200 years old when Jesus lived while Rome was well into its rule of most of the western world and points beyond.  

The trunk of The President measures 27 feet across, with 2 needles from base to top. Because of its unbelievable size, this tree has never been photographed in its entirety, until now.National Geographic photographers have worked along with scientists to try and create the firstphoto that shows The President in all its glory. 

They had to climb the tree with pulleys and levers and took thousands of photos. Of those, they selected 126 and stitched them together to get this incredible portrait of The President. 

And here it is: The man standing near the trunk of the tree is a good indicator of the tree’s size. Incredible, isn’t it?

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-f2pzpWWYXzc/U0tLCN7rUTI/AAAAAAAAMfk/1ORa53OUBFk/s1600/last.jpg










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Response to a Protester …

Posted on July 13, 2018. Filed under: American Thinkers, Guide Posts |

They say the US Lost the Viet Nam War courtesy their Free Press …. Here is One Response to one such Protester …

On a rainy afternoon, a group of protesters were gathered outside the grocery store handing out pamphlets on “T he  evils  of America . ”   I politely declined to take one.

There was an elderly woman behind me and a young (20-ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined.

The young protester gently put her hand on the old woman’s shoulder and in a patronizing voice said, “Don’t you care about the children of Iraq?”

The old woman looked up at her and said: “Honey, my father died in France during World War II, I lost my husband in Korea, and a son in Vietnam.

All three died so a naive, ignorant, self-centered bimbo like you could have the right to stand here and badmouth our country … and if you touch me again, I’ll shove this umbrella up your ass and open it.”

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Trump, Cambridge ‘Analytica’ and FB …

Posted on March 27, 2018. Filed under: American Thinkers |

From ‘Mother Jones’ –  “The phenomenon Donald Trump”

The Cruz campaign was still in the process of unwinding when Cambridge, following the lead of its investors, the Mercers, offered its services to the Trump campaign.

As Nix courted the Trump campaign, he came up with an idea to boost the GOP nominee-in-waiting — one that was more in line with the political dirty tricks he and his colleagues would later discuss with Channel 4’s undercover reporter.

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange had recently told a British TV station that he had come into possession of internal emails belonging to senior Clinton campaign officials — the result of a cyberattack later revealed to be the work of Russian hackers.

Nix reached out to Assange via his speaking agency, seeking a meeting. Nix reportedly hoped to get access to the emails and help Assange share them with the public — that is, he wanted to weaponize the information. According to both Nix and Assange, the WikiLeaks founder passed on his offer.

Nevertheless, by late June Nix had landed a contract with the Trump team. At first, a handful of Cambridge employees set up shop in San Antonio, where Parscale was running Trump’s digital operation out of his marketing firm’s offices. But Matt Oczkowski, Cambridge’s head of product, was eventually put in charge of the San Antonio office after Parscale relocated to campaign headquarters in Trump Tower.

What exactly Cambridge Analytica did for Trump remains murky, though in the days after the election, Nix’s firm blasted out one press release after another touting the “integral” and “pivotal” role it played in Trump’s shocking upset.

Nix later told Channel 4’s undercover reporter that Cambridge deserved much of the credit for Trump’s win. “We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting. We ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data informed all the strategy,” he said.

Another Cambridge executive suggested the firm had delivered Trump victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — states crucial to his ultimate win. “When you think about the fact that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes but won the Electoral College vote, that’s down to the data and the research.”

Cambridge helped run an anti – Hillary Clinton online ad campaign for a Mercer-funded super-PAC that paid the company $1.2 million. The ads stated that Clinton “might be the first president to go to jail” and echoed conspiracy theories about her health.

But according to multiple Republican sources familiar with Cambridge’s work for Trump, the firm played at best a minor role in Trump’s victory. Parscale has said that $5 million of the $5.9 million the Trump campaign paid Cambridge was for a large TV ad buy.

During an interview with 60 Minutes last fall, Parscale dismissed the company’s psychographic methods: “I just don’t think it works.”

Trump’s secret strategy, he said, wasn’t secret at all: The campaign went all-in on Facebook, making full use of the platform’s advertising tools. “Donald Trump won,” Parscale said, “but I think Facebook was the method.”

Nix, however, seemed determined to capitalize on Trump’s victory. Cambridge opened a new office a few blocks from the White House, where Bannon would soon take on his new role as Trump’s chief political strategist. (Bannon retained his stake in the firm, valued between $1 million and $5 million, until April 2017, months after Trump took office.)

SCL, its UK-based affiliate, eventually relocated its global headquarters from London to Arlington, Virginia, and began chasing government work, quickly landing a $500,000 State Department contract to monitor the impact of foreign propaganda.

SCL briefly signed on Lt. General Michael Flynn as an adviser and later hired a former Flynn associate to run its DC office.

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Trump vs Stormy Daniels …

Posted on March 26, 2018. Filed under: American Thinkers, Personalities |

From The New Yorker –

A running gag in political journalism is that all the bombshells drop late on a Friday, by the time most reporters are done for the week and our public servants and institutions are expected to be done making news.

And sure enough, last week the Trump administration sent shockwaves through Washington with the late-Friday firing of Andrew McCabe, a former deputy of dismissed FBI director James Comey, mere days before he was set to enjoy what he calls his “long-planned, earned retirement.”

Planned or not, the upheaval that followed McCabe’s dismissal effectively buried what could soon become the most significant arbitration dispute in all of American history.

That same evening, Donald Trump — through Charles Harder, the lawyer best known for helping Peter Thiel put Gawker out of business — attached his name to a court filing that, for the first time, linked him to Stephanie Clifford – the woman, better known in the adult-film industry and now the world of politics as Stormy Daniels, was fighting for her right to be ungagged — to speak freely and publicly about an affair she had with Trump over a decade ago, while he and his third wife Melania were awaiting the birth of their son Barron.

But before Harder filed that document in federal court last week, Trump was nowhere to be seen. The White House had denied any sexual encounters ever happened, the president was uncharacteristically silent about Clifford on Twitter, and his other lawyer and perennial fixer, Michael Cohen, had repeatedly denied that his client had anything to do with her.

No more: “Mr. Trump intends to pursue his rights to the fullest extent permitted by law,” Harder wrote. By which he meant that Trump intended to seek enforcement of a non-disclosure agreement, to the tune of $20 million, that Cohen had made Clifford sign less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential election.

In exchange for her silence, Clifford accepted $130,000 from Cohen, who reportedly took out a home-equity loan to execute the payoff. Because who amongst us hasn’t done that at some point.

A cruel irony of this “hush agreement,” as Clifford put it in her own lawsuit seeking to free herself from it, is that it was signed on October 28, 2016 — the same day Comey, in a letter to Congress, may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidential election.

The volatility of that political moment lends credence to Clifford’s charge that Cohen, in concert with Trump and his campaign, “aggressively sought to silence Ms. Clifford as part of an effort to avoid her telling her truth, thus helping to ensure he won” the presidency, according to court papers her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, filed in a Los Angeles county court.

That opens up another front for the already legally beleaguered Trump: If there’s any truth to this coordination, and the Federal Election Commission substantiates it, the unreported hush money may have well violated campaign finance laws.

Cohen, for his part, has insisted that he just did this to help out a longtime client, benefactor, and friend. “People are mistaking this for a thing about the campaign,” Cohen told Vanity Fair this week. “What I did defensively for my personal client, and my friend, is what attorneys do for their high-profile clients. I would have done it in 2006. I would have done it in 2011. I truly care about him and the family — more than just as an employee and an attorney.”

But do friends really take out home-equity loans, create shell companies in Delaware, use fake names, and draw up legally dubious, if not wholly unenforceable, NDAs to force someone else’s silence? For all we know, Cohen could even lose his New York law license for engaging in such shady tactics.

The brilliance of Clifford’s legal and public-relations moves, including this Sunday’s long-awaited interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, is that they outmaneuver Trump at every turn — which may explain his own reticence about the whole thing since the Wall Street Journal blew the lid off it in January.

In a wide-ranging article exploring the seven-year saga, there’s a fantastic quote attributed to Cohen, whom Clifford is accusing of breaching the hush agreement because he himself confirmed its existence to the press. “I didn’t fucking breach it!” Cohen is said to have yelled, according to the Journal, sounding every bit like any concerned friend would.

Clifford has got her share of friends, too. Men and women of good conscience are coming forward to her aid. In a crowdfunding page she set up to help offset her legal fees, nearly 9,000 people have pledged close to $286,000 to support her cause — what she deems a quest “to speak honestly and openly to the American people about my relationship with now President Donald Trump and the intimidation and tactics used against me.”

Perhaps to assuage concerned family men who may be worried her name may appear on their credit card statements, Clifford clarified that only the name of the crowdfunding site would appear: “There is no reference to Stormy Daniels or Stephanie Clifford.”

When all is said and done, Avenatti may even agree, if he hasn’t already, to do this pro bono. The media-friendly lawyer has become a celebrity of sorts since the scandal broke — late on Thursday, he teased his client’s upcoming cable appearance by tweeting out a mysterious image of a CD, as if to suggest that there’s documentary evidence of Trump’s tryst with Stormy.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is this worth?????” Avenatti wrote on Trump’s favorite medium.

In a quick call with New York on Friday, Avenatti said Clifford’s 60 Minutes interview will help to dispel many misconceptions about the woman he represents. “I hope the American people will know a lot about my client,” he said. “How smart she is. How comfortable in her own skin she is. And how credible she is.”

Unable to bury the story any longer, Trump may even tune in himself.

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Viet Nam – the ‘Why’ …

Posted on March 17, 2018. Filed under: American Thinkers, Personalities |

Edwin O. Reischauer – By Paul M. Bourke –  The Man Who Knew too Much About Vietnam —- Paul M. Bourke was a Japan specialist with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The article is based on a paper he wrote while studying for a master in international affairs at Columbia University.

Few Americans viewed the Vietnam War in hindsight at the time, even after several years of fighting. People worried about where it was headed and whether it could be won. Few people were asking, yet, how it happened. Except Edwin O. Reischauer.

Throughout 1967, Reischauer, a professor of East Asian studies at Harvard and a former American ambassador to Japan, offered a rare and alternative analysis of Vietnam, the United States and Asia that has stood the test of time. Reischauer’s congressional testimony in 1967 and subsequent book, “Beyond Vietnam: The United States and Asia,” were all the more remarkable for being able to point to warnings he had made himself in the 1950s, about American involvement in Indochina, which had become a reality by 1967.

Born in Japan to Presbyterian missionary parents in 1910, Reischauer lived there until he was 16, and spoke Japanese fluently. He earned a doctorate in Asian studies from Harvard, where he subsequently taught Far East history and languages. From 1942 to 1945, he served in military intelligence at the War Department, and after the war with the Office of Far Eastern Affairs at the State Department.

He eventually went back to teaching at Harvard, but President John Kennedy pulled him back into government service as his ambassador to Japan,  a job he held from 1961 to 1966 — a rare instance of placing an expert, rather than a political appointee, in a high-profile embassy.

While still at Harvard, Reischauer was openly critical of the Manichean dualism of communism versus the free world promoted fervently by Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles. In 1955, he published “Wanted: An Asian Policy,” in which he argued that the American stand against Communism in Korea could not be replicated across the rest of Asia. In fact, he wrote, the United States was already making the mistake of exporting that model to Southeast Asia, where it was supporting the French effort to reimpose colonial rule. “Indochina shows how absurdly wrong we are to battle Asian nationalism instead of aiding it,” he wrote. “The French failure to relinquish Indochina has put a heavy burden on the United States financially and could end by costing us dearly in lives.”

As ambassador, he also saw how America’s ill-conceived war in Vietnam was poisoning relations elsewhere in Asia, especially Japan. The Japanese public identified with the North Vietnamese as the subjects of American bombing and were concerned about Japan being drawn into a widening conflict between the United States and China.

Due in part to his increasing unwillingness to argue the case for America’s involvement in Vietnam to the Japanese, Reischauer resigned his post as ambassador in August 1966 and returned to Harvard, where he was free to express his misgivings about the Vietnam War in speeches and papers.

Reischauer was called to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 1967, just as its members were starting to voice their skepticism about the optimistic reports they received on Vietnam from the State Department and from the ambassador to South Vietnam, Ellsworth Bunker. Chaired by Senator J. William Fulbright, the committee was increasingly of the view that a negotiated settlement between North and South Vietnam, not an American military victory over North Vietnam, would be the most likely way for the country to end its military involvement.

As he was in “Wanted: An Asian Policy,” in his opening statement to the committee, the scholar and diplomat was unequivocal that the United States could and should have avoided getting bogged down in Vietnam. It should never have backed French attempts to reimpose colonial rule in Vietnam. It should never have assumed the French mantle in Vietnam after France was defeated by the Viet Minh in 1954. It should never have assumed that the political strategies used against Communism in Europe would work in developing countries in Asia.

“We have failed sometimes to understand the deeply rooted historic forces at work in Asia — anticolonialism, nationalism, the eagerness to wipe out past humiliations and the determination to advance rapidly without losing national identity,” Reischauer said, reading from his statement. This was a theme he developed more fully in his book “Beyond Vietnam,” restating his view that the United States had failed to harness Asian nationalism as the means of countering the Communists, who did harness nationalism to their ends in Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia.

Reischauer was not the only person in the political establishment making this point in 1967, but he was the only one who had been making it consistently for over a decade. It was a conclusion he had made in 1955, in “Wanted: An Asian Policy”: “Indochina is the classic case in which the Communists have utilized nationalism effectively against us.” It should have been the other way around. Looking back on the lessons of the Korean War and the danger signs he pointed to in 1955, Reischauer wrote in 1967: “Storm warnings might be up in Vietnam, but we were not prepared to recognize them. We continued to drift toward new catastrophes.”

Reischauer maintained that the United States should not be the agent of political, social or economic change in Asia but should provide economic support to those countries seeking self-determination and to develop themselves. As for the imposition of Communism across Asia by China or the Soviet Union, Reischauer did not see the project succeeding. He pointed to the Vietnamese as the people least likely to yield to the control of Communist China, with Vietnam’s long history of resisting Chinese domination likely to reassert itself if the Vietnamese nationalists won the war.

Surprisingly, Reischauer did not advocate a negotiated settlement or rapid withdrawal, at least not yet. The former was unrealistic; the latter would cause immense damage to American credibility. Having entered the fight and shaped it in its interest, America now had no choice but to see it through. In “Beyond Vietnam,” he argued that a negotiated settlement would be possible only if the Communists came to understand that the United States would stay the course in Vietnam. At the same time, the South Vietnamese government had to become better at serving the interests of its people. “It should be made clear that Saigon is in the process of achieving the very things for which some Viet Cong supporters feel they are fighting,” he suggested.

By early 1968, Reischauer had abandoned his belief that the United States should continue in Vietnam. Just before the Tet offensive, he joined with 10 other Harvard scholars in a telegram to President Lyndon Johnson urging that he enter into negotiations toward a settlement including the Vietcong. He also appeared again in front of Congress, before the House Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, in February 1968. In keeping with the views he expressed in 1955 and 1967, he told the subcommittee: “We have imagined ourselves as building a military dike against an on-rushing Communist wave. But there has been no wave. The real problem has proved to be the swampy economic and political terrain behind the dike we were attempting to raise. It was the local ground water that was undermining political structures. When this threatened to happen in Vietnam, the heavy machines we brought in to heighten the military dikes proved unmaneuverable in the swampy land and, by breaking through the thin crust of the bog, made it even less capable of maintaining the sagging political structure.”

Reischauer was about as far from the culture of the antiwar movement as one could get, and yet his scholarly and professional insights did much to complement the multitudes filling the streets. Senator Fulbright, among others, listened to him closely; in March 1968, he read a statement from Reischauer and other Harvard scholars arguing against escalation during the televised testimony of Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

Reischauer was the rare breed of academic, one who, when the moment called, brought his estimable intellect to bear on the most important issue of the day. It says much about the state of American politics at the time that, until it was too late, too few people listened.

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With Words we Rule Men …

Posted on October 3, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Public Speaking |

In the Bible, reticence is a virtue. “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent,” we are told in Proverbs 17:28. “With their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.”

An Americanized version of this saying, often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain, is that it is better to remain silent and appear foolish than to speak and remove all doubt.

Or as Winston Churchill purportedly said, “We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.”

Kori Schake, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution who served in key policy roles at the White House, Pentagon and Foggy Bottom during George W. Bush’s presidency, explained Trump’s “fire and fury” threat. This is the key paragraph:

“In 1949, the United States withdrew its military forces from the Korean Peninsula. Secretary of State Dean Acheson then gave an important speech defining American national-security interests — which notably excluded Korea.

‘It’s not the drawing down of U.S. forces but rather Acheson’s speech that is commonly cited as the signal of American abandonment of South Korea. Words matter: Acheson didn’t cause the Korean war, but his words are remembered as the provocation.

‘Words especially matter between societies that poorly understand each other’s motivations and intentions, as do North Korea and the U.S. We can afford to be sloppy in our formulations among friends, where cultural similarity or exposure give context, but neither of those circumstances pertain with North Korea.”

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