The Swamp Runs Deep

If I presented the following conversation to you, who would you say is the crazy one?

  • Person A (to person B) – I’ve been starving my people for years and committing various other human rights atrocities so that I could develop some nukes – and now I’m ready to launch them at you for no particular reason!
  • Person B (to person A) – I’d reconsider if I were you. Launch anything at me and I’ll unleash the kind of fire and fury that’ll blow both your mind and you away!

Only people suffering some form of intellectual atrophy would think that person B is the crazy one in the above situation… Or so I thought until I saw this pupu platter deluxe served up by no less than The Australian over the last two days:

North Korea crisis: Kim has called Trump’s bluff

It took North Korea’s Kim Jong-un one day to call Donald Trump’s bluff.

Earlier this week, in some of the most extraordinary public comments made by a US president, Trump threatened nuclear war with Kim if he made “any more threats” to the US.

[TMR: Where exactly was Trump’s threat of nuclear war? #ridiculouslyfakenews]

It is bizarre that the American President should want to get into a braggadocio contest with the bouffant Stalinist of Pyongyang.

But you can’t outbid the communist royal family of North Korea for demented rhetoric.

[TMR: Seriously, could Greg Sheridan have been more hyperbolic?].

So the next day the North Korean government dismissed Trump’s threats as “a load of nonsense” and threatened general hellfire and damnation against the Americans, but added a quite specific threat. By the middle of this month, it would have finished a detailed plan to fire four missiles into the waters around the American Pacific territory of Guam and produce a wall of fire.

As North warns of missile plan, US-South Korea wargames near

Annual US and South Korean military exercises involving around 40,000 troops will start in less than two weeks. Could the timing be any worse?

[TMR: What are they supposed to do: cancel the exercises?].

Is Donald Trump pursuing a deliberate Richard Nixon-style “madman” strategy in his comments on North Korea?

Even Steve Price (who still appears to be suffering some leftover jungle fever) and Andrew Clennell (filling in for Andrew Bolt) managed to dribble the following gold-class nonsense the other night on 2GB:

At 2:50:

SP: The world is also on edge tonight as the United States and North Korea shape up over missile threats. I’ll play for you in a moment, Andrew (Clennell) and I, the comment from Donald Trump today – and if it doesn’t make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up then I don’t know what will.

At 5:00 (with Andrew Clennell):

SP: …it’s unbelievable, we’ve got no leadership in this country.

AC: Would you rather have Donald Trump?

SP: I’m not sure, let’s have a listen to Donald Trump. Now how did you feel when you first heard this?

AC: Uh, uh, first thing this morning… pretty nervous.

SP: Nervous?

AC: Mmm.

SP: This is Donald Trump talking about threats from North Korea… (plays tape of Donald Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ comments).

SP: Wow, that is, uh, that is frightening. Today, there is a particular reason why that’s even more frightening: the date today.

AC: I told you just before, it’s the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of 1945.

SP: August 9, 1945, the Americans dropped the only ever atomic weapons and they dropped them on Japan. This day back in 1945.

[TMR: How is this relevant in any way?].

AC: How bizarre but, um, look, I mean, just think back to that – what I heard this morning I was was pretty shocked to be honest because he clearly means a nuclear attack, [TMR: Does he? #moreutterlyfakenews] um, but listening back I just sort of think middle Amercians sort of love hearing that. He may well hopefully have no intention of doing that, but middle America will lap it up, he’s a strong, tough leader – a bloke that unlike our politicians here does depart from the script. But aside from that, it’s a real concern. The concern that we all have is that: is this guy sane? Is he so impulsive that he’ll do something crazy because he has the power to? And Hillary Clinton used to warn about it with him, but we didn’t take it seriously.

[TMR: Yes, you’re reading that right: that’s Andrew Clennell talking about Trump’s sanity – and not Un’s – there. And, if you support Trump’s comments, it would appear that Clennell thinks you’re a deplorable that should have listened to Hillary].

I still think not, but, um, I think that rhetoric is a bit over the top and frightening.

SP: I think the Americans have got levels of control built into their political system that an individual would not be able to go and do something like that.

AC: You can’t just push the button?

SP: I don’t think so. That’s what people would like you to believe. But there would be so many different levels of getting to that point – advice from the military, advice from the CIA, advice from colleagues, you know, in congress. 

AC: This is really interesting, can’t he just ignore the advice?

SP: No.

AC: He’s the president of the United States!

SP: I wouldn’t have thought so, Andrew. There would be built in, someone else would have one bit of the code. It would not just be him walking around with the paper in his pocket going 8, 9, 7, 6, 4… bang!

AC: But you can’t just refuse. You get a direct order from the commander in chief?

SP: I’m sure there would be people who would counsel him not to do that. He’s now got a five star general as his chief of staff. Do you think that bloke’s gonna let him do that?

AC: The other problem is that, now that he’s said it, how does he climb down from it?

[TMR: Do these two grown men, with allegedly functioning brains, really think that Trump would indiscriminately nuke North Korea purely as an ‘impulse’? And why is the default position that Trump has to ‘climb down’? Who’s the real nutbag in this situation?].

SP: Have you watched the West Wing, where the chief of staff’s got more power than the president?

[TMR: Ladies and gentlemen… I present to you… Steve Price!!!].

AC: This Kim Jong Un stuff, it’s got a real feel for me like the Saddam Hussein WMD stuff. Empty threats. I know we get reports they might have nuclear warheads, but we had all these reports about chemical weapons in Iraq. I’m not convinced. They can’t even fire missiles properly can they?

[TMR: How on Earth is this situation anything like Iraq?].

Thankfully, the first caller into the show managed to successfully remind Steve and Andrew what people in the real world are thinking:

At 11:30 (Maurice in Templestone):

I’m nonplussed by your logic here. I mean, North Korea has been threatening South Korea and Japan for twenty or thirty years and successive governments have kicked the can down the road.

… Now North Korea’s threatening to nuke the United States. I’m totally in support of Donald Trump.

SP: North Korea’s not threatening to nuke the United States. We don’t know whether they’ve got the capability and most people suggest they don’t yet. They’ve threatened to send a missile to Guam, which is a US military base.

[TMR: Isn’t it funny how Trump’s words are considered a definite, credible threat of nuclear war, while Un’s words and actions aren’t?].

Maurice: Isn’t Guam a United States territory?

SP: When you say they’ve threatened to nuke the United States, that is a rhetoric you don’t need to have. That’s trying to suggest that they’re gonna put a nuclear weapon into LA or New York or Washington or something.

[TMR: It seems that Price now thinks that the people of Los Angeles, New York and Washington are more equal than the people of Guam].

Maurice: I think if you look back over the record of the last 12 months or so that they’ve actually threatened to do that. I think what should have been done is that North Korea’s nuclear capabilities should have been taken out by conventional weapons.

SP: I agree.

AC: That makes a lot of sense Maurice yeah.

SP: I agree with that completely. But I mean, the point I just made about the South Koreans is there’s a population of 10 million or so sitting there within the range of conventional weapons that the North Koreans possess. We’re not gonna put them at risk by a pre-emptive strike on North Korea if North Korea can fire back and destroy South Korea.

So, let’s do our best to sum up Price and Clennell’s performance:

  • Initially, they start out saying how scared and frightened they are – because of Trump’s words.
  • Then, when talking to the caller, they appear to change tack and say that North Korea is simply an empty threat and isn’t really threatening to nuke the United States.
  • Despite North Korea being an ’empty threat’, Trump still makes them nervous because he might still nuke North Korea just because he feels like it – although Price is hoping that Trump’s ‘West Wing’ chief of staff has more power than Trump and can stop him.
  • When the caller suggests that North Korea’s nuclear capabilities should have been taken out by conventional weapons long ago, Price and Clennell quickly agree that this should have been done – as if this couldn’t possibly be what Trump is now trying to organise and as if such action wouldn’t cause even more tension than Trump’s recent comments (which have made them so ‘nervous’).
  • Price then wraps things up by going back in the other direction by saying that pre-emptive strikes on North Korea shouldn’t happen because North Korea’s conventional weapons are scary – particularly for South Koreans.

If you’re mystified as to what on Earth Price and Clennell were on about, you’re not alone. Suffice to say, I think we can all sleep comfortably at night knowing that Price and Clennell aren’t paid military and geopolitical strategists.

That aside, did you also notice how neither Price nor Clennell questioned Un’s sanity or critiqued his actions at any stage – but were happy to spend plenty of time doing both in respect of Trump. Why is that? Was it really that hard to pick the good guy and the bad guy in this situation?

Guys, here’s a tip: try to think things through when it comes to issues like this before articulating your thoughts. It might just save you from the kind of public embarrassment you’ve subjected yourselves to above.

Regardless of whether you take Un’s threats seriously (I personally don’t – but I’m really just guessing here), what else would you have expected Trump to say in response to Un’s latest nuclear threats? Was he supposed to ignore Un? Or perhaps dribble some scripted, vanilla response – and let Un keep raising the bar until he gets the attention he’s looking for?

For all those out there criticising Trump on this issue, what better plan of action do you have to offer?

Since when did so many in our society become such meek, self-loathing cowards to the point where they would choose to attack Trump instead of Un in this situation?


PS: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but good on Bill Shorten for being spot on:

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said it was the “bellicose and provocative actions” of the North Korean dictatorship, and not Mr Trump’s rhetoric, which was of “big concern”.

“I and the government share the same concerns and the same views, and Australians should be reassured that on this matter of North Korea and our national security, the politics of Labor and Liberal are working absolutely together,” the Opposition Leader said.

“What we all need to do is be concentrating on encouraging North Korea to de-escalate. I think there is an important role for China to play here and of course we rely upon leadership from the United States. There are other nations which are much more affected than Australia, including of course the Republic of Korea and Japan, and neighbouring nations to North Korea.”

(H/T to Steve Kates for initially posting this comment).


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44 Responses to The Swamp Runs Deep

  1. OldOzzie


    You are right +1 to Bill Shorten for his words

  2. RobK

    Thanks Marcus, well stated. Much of the commentary has been woeful.

  3. C.L.

    Steve Price is a gutless clown.
    More generally, the left always gets angry when a Republican president is in the right and reacts forcefully to a strategic foe. Nothing new about that. If this turns out well (defined, short-term, as North Korea firing nothing whatsoever at Guam) the JournoList media will roll with something like, ‘wiser heads (than Trump’s) prevailed’ or even that Kim won. Watch. If Obama was in this same situation and using the same sort of language, the media would be hailing his ‘Kennedyesque’ resolve.

  4. rickw

    You are right +1 to Bill Shorten for his words

    Bill is spot on where Malcom is muddled, dazed and confused.

  5. LGS

    I couldn’t believe what Steve Price and Andrew Clennell were saying about President Trump and North Korea, when I tuned into 3AW the other night, expecting to hear the other Andrew – Bolt – instead.
    I was disappointed that Bolt was absent that night, as I believe he would have negated or corrected much of Price’s hysteria about Trump having his finger on the nuclear button.
    Doesn’t surprise me about Clennell – I have heard him before, and have little respect for his opinions.
    For once I agree with Bill Shorten.
    This is exactly how the left is framing this potential crisis, with their utterly unhinged hatred of Trump : that Trump, NOT Kim Jong-un, could bring about nuclear war.
    Trump is in a difficult position: if NK strikes first with a nuclear missile, many thousands or even millions could die. If Trump launches a pre-emptive strike before NK can do so, he stands condemned before the world.

  6. A reader

    Clenell is ok n NSW Politics but clueless about global stuff. That was the worst bit of radio i have heard on 2gb since the Devine-Bolt War.

  7. Sparkx

    SP: Have you watched the West Wing, where the chief of staff’s got more power than the president?

    Steve Price Sea Patrol?

  8. Awake

    I guess there’s an audience market for Price, et al.

  9. cui bono

    Realist: We must consider fighting to protect our interests.
    Leftist: You mean you want War!?

  10. John Constantine

    After the shorten foundation has looted Australia to the limit, bill shorten would dream of being able to retire with his family and lead a ruddfilth existance of idle wealth in New York City.

    The soundtrack of American popular 1980’s music is the foundation of shorten’s aspergers pruned emotional life, he instinctively luvs the United States of America as much as he instinctively loathes australia.

  11. Docket62 (deplorable)

    Sadly SP has been far too corrupted by The Panel. He consistently refuses to question that halfwit Islamic twat running it, and panders to the show because they pay him… I used to listen to him but no more. Id rather slam my finger in a car door. And (choking on regurgitation).. I have to agree with BS who has at least called UN for what he is. Mind you I think he says that in the secure knowledge that he wont ever have to do anything about it.

  12. BrettW

    Felt the same when listening to Clenell. Found him irritating to say the least.

  13. .

    I don’t think SP has ever really championed liberalism or conservativism. Not a loss.

  14. stackja

    #2466665, posted on August 12, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    SP thinks he knows all. And is often caught out by callers. Then SP changes the subject, and pretends that he is right.

  15. Herodotus

    Obama and the Red Diaper Generation.
    This relevant because of the comparison with what Obama would have done instead. Already posted this link elsewhere, so apologies for repetitiveness, but it’s an important take on the lineal factor in American politics.

  16. Art Vandelay

    I don’t recall the morons in the media wetting their beds in 1993:

    back in 1993, President Bill Clinton gave perhaps an even starker warning to North Korea. In a trip to Seoul, South Korea, Clinton said that if North Korea gained and used a nuclear weapon “we would quickly and overwhelmingly retaliate.”

    “It would mean the end of their country as they know it,” he said, according to a New York Times report at that time.

    The media class (with one or two exceptions) have all been infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  17. Herodotus

    Clennell, Onselen, numerous others. What are they good for?

  18. Snoopy

    Clennell, Onselen, numerous others. What are they good for?

    AOK is the subject of an amusing YouTube video.

  19. Barry 1963

    As they say, Saddam gave up his WMD and look what happened to him! Kim is not that dumb.

  20. JB5

    It’s clear – once again – that ALL of the MSM engage in fake news, “Right” or “Left”, it doesn’t matter. I only read any of their stories to see what delusions the enemy, and that includes them, are operating under on any given day.

    If they told me the sky was blue on a sunny day, I wouldn’t believe them until I went outside to see for myself. They have lost all credibility, and have no-one to blame but themselves.

  21. Art Vandelay

    If they told me the sky was blue on a sunny day, I wouldn’t believe them until I went outside to see for myself. They have lost all credibility, and have no-one to blame but themselves.

    We are seeing the worst media class in history (not to mention the worst political class).

  22. herodotus

    Kim is not that dumb.
    Saddam didn’t know when to stop being a complete dick, and neither does this guy. So far he’s been hiding under China’s robes and hurling insults and false bravado while committing appalling crimes against humanity within his own country. That’s what the NorKs do.
    What do you do apart from smear shit on the wall, Barry?

  23. Andrew

    Who is this “Un”? You mean Kim?

  24. Acatfan

    I think I have entered an alternative universe. Not only is Shorten saying something acceptable, but in my radio-channel-flicking drive home this evening I heard an interview on the ABC between Tom Switzer and Mary Kissel about President Trump, including about NK, that actually made sense.
    I heard it on the ABC!!! Unbelievable. Let me know if I was hallucinating.

  25. Andrew

    Well we’ve already seen China throw Kim under a bus today. A PRC mouthpiece meeja outlet said China would go to war to prevent a regime change / pre emptive attack. But if Kim starts it they will stay neutral while T666 vaporises Kim.

  26. Leo G

    SP: August 9, 1945, the Americans dropped the only ever atomic weapons and they dropped them on Japan. This day back in 1945.

    Steve Price is somewhat confused. I assume he intended to say “the first ever atomic weapons”.
    Nor were the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in August 1945 the only nuclear gravity bombs ever to be dropped. The Russians “dropped” their first such bomb in September 1954.

  27. Docket62 (deplorable)

    The Russians “dropped” their first such bomb in September 1954.

    The bomb was a test. Neither Hiroshima or Nagasaki were ‘tests’ they were Atomic payloads on armed aircraft engaged in a declared war flying in hostile territory. The immediate results ended the Second World War.

    How the *%^ does that compare to the Russians obliterating themselves?

  28. Yohan

    I’m very critical of Trumps belligerence and careless use of twitter, but saying he is threatening a nuclear attack is the absolute height of dishonesty. A nuclear attack is the last option the US would use when taking out the North Korean regime.

    Any media personality who spouts otherwise is just engaging in the usual anti-Trump hate fest. Of course Greg Sheridan was going to claim this. He is a dictionary definition cuckservative who supported Hillary all the way.

  29. Texas Jack

    Here’s a question for the left-liberal media to suck on;

    On whose watch did a despotic Communist regime get to emplace 700 hundred artillery pieces within firing range of a major Allied capital, develop ICBMs capable of reaching LA, and miniaturise nuclear warheads?

    No other questions necessary.

  30. 132andBush

    That was the worst bit of radio i have heard on 2gb since the Devine-Bolt War.

    I listen to Bolt/Price podcast the following morning as I walk the dogs around the house paddock.
    It sounded like a washed out version of something you get from the ABC.
    I think Price is being turned (further). Remember Fairfax own 2GB.

  31. Herodotus

    It’s wrong to think of “cluster bombs” as relatively simple anti-personnel weapons. There are single bombs which have multiple warheads that seek magnetic signatures on the ground and target them. 40 at a time. Do you reckon the yanks might have something that seeks a magnetic signature of (let’s say) artillery pieces.
    You never know. (you tube link) Particularly if you’re a North Korean.

  32. SP: Have you watched the West Wing, where the chief of staff’s got more power than the president?

    This pair of dickheads are getting their reality from…….. a television soap opera?
    I didn’t think it was possible for people to wank themselves this silly.

  33. Chris M

    Trump has expertly backed Kimmy into a corner of his own making…

    NK history is all about bluster and Kim just can’t help himself out threatening everyone. Now he has threatened to aim at Guam. He will look very weak if he backs down and an utter fool with no Chinese help if he attempts to.

  34. classical_hero

    Why do people seem to think fire is referring to nukes? Don’t forget about MOAB and other high-powered weapons.

  35. Wilma

    Listening on the ipod I fast forwarded Price and Clenell a short time after they started talking about Trump . I heard nothing that constituted informed and rational discussion. I seem to have missed the callers,it seemed as if they were talking to themselves.

  36. Gazman

    I listen to Pricey and Bolta by podcast each following morning. I heard the commentary from that show and switched off, wondering how Pricey can drift so far off course so quickly. Andrew Bolt is definitely the brains behind that segment each night. I also shudder when remembering the train crash that was Miranda Devine running his show while he was in the jungle. Pricey is a likeable bloke, but definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed.

  37. cuckoo

    Elegant pretzel logic from their ABC: because Tillerson is offering the Norks diplomacy, and Mattis is offering them hellfire if they decline diplomacy, ABC describes this as “mixed messages” from Trump.

  38. I tune into the show most nights. For the most part, I like Steve but he really goes off the reservation with a concerning level of regularity. There is no way Bolt would have allowed that train wreck to unfold – although I suspect he would have had some reservations about the tone of Trump’s remarks.

    The Devine catastrophe was cringeworthy radio at its best and got me posting here:

  39. Pingback: The Swamp Runs Deep | Catallaxy Files | Cranky Old Crow

  40. mh

    Remember that Steve Price uses Australian leftist Richard Arnold as the US Correspondent for his show. Richard Arnold’s ‘US Report’ has been anti-Trump propaganda ever since Trump threw his hat into the ring for President. I think Price is a touch gullible, so I’m not surprised that he gets confused.

  41. Yohan

    Steve Price takes his cues from US neocons on anything to do with foreign policy beyond Australia’s borders. Always has. He does not have any brains or critical thinking skills.

  42. Habib

    What the US and the free world needs is a president that at least appears a tad unhinged, who would first strike if pushed. Reagan had the schtick down pat, and scared the shit out of the commies; so much in fact they folded like an origami octopus. Trump’s showing potential. Pantywaisters like Obama and Clinton were pussies, and the world’s arseholes knew it, and acted accordingly. They could teabag either of those sitzpinklers, and they would’ve given the bastards money for their humiliation.

  43. Habib

    Clusters are principally anti-armour, but devastating in an AP role, like willy pete, primarily an illumination round. Of course we’ve banned both. Some of the shit the US has now would turn NK into a complete rather than its current partial wasteland, without nuking up, and with low risk in deployment. Their primitive AAA capability and ordnance would fare as well as Iraqs, their radar net would be the first to go along with C&C, they’d be blind, and like Iraq with a purged officer cadre leaderless. Using conventional weapons it’d be over in a week.

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