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Thoughts on the Kim-Trump summit and general approach of each

Posted by John T. Reed on

I hope the summit leads to substantive elimination of the threat of NK nukes and missiles. It had not yet from what I have heard. Sounds like each side gave the other the “sleeves off its vest.” That is, they gave up stuff that matters little to them.
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I saw nothing wrong, but nothing substantive and good either, other than the general tenor of the two sides.
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It is possible that Kim has decided to take a new direction from what is father and grandfather did. Indeed, he seems to have said that. Consider Kim’s perspective if he does that. 
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He was somewhat afraid to leave NK for this trip and hurried back when it was over. Why? A coup. His father and grandfather created a cadre with a certain horrendous mindset. That mindset does not allow a change from the Stalinist path chosen by Kim’s two predecessors.
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I am trained and experienced in leading men in tough situations: Army soldiers including in a combat zone, football and baseball players, tenants in residential and non-residential buildings. It is like lion taming. To paraphrase Obama, “I have a whip and a chair and I’m going to use them.”
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Just before the summit, Kim fired three of his top generals—no doubt an anti-coup move. Apparently, it worked. Maybe his murder of his half brother recently in Malaysia was more of what he thought was necessary to keep his military in line as he made radical changes in the nation’s path. 
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That does not excuse murder, but it may be that murder is the minimum motivational technique in that country after 65 years of his father and grandfather.
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Similarly, Trump has spent his life in the high rise construction/landlord, high-stakes business fields. Also a lion tamer experience. My Succeeding book has a chapter on what I call “oomph.”
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There have been many times in my life when I thought I had figured out how to do something, but I did it and it did not work. For example, fixing a plumbing problem. My effort did not budge the pipe. Then I called a plumber and he fixed it by doing exactly what I had done, only much harder. I had not done it that hard because I feared I would break the fixture or rip it off its brackets down the line. The expert knew it would not.
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Same thing applies to people. In my parent meetings at the beginning of youth and high school sports seasons, I warn the parents that if they watch practices or games, they will think I am too harsh. 
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I explain that there are two reasons for that. 1. I generally am chewing a player out for doing something wrong 53 times. The parent only sees the 53rd time. 2. When I started coaching, I dared not be as harsh as I became later. But over time, I figured out that my later harshness was the minimum required. 
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I coached nearly a thousand kids, teenagers, and grown men in semi-pro baseball. I tried Mr. Rogers. It does not work with the worst of the players. So I torqued it up to what did. 
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The parents, in contrast, were rookies at controlling their teenage son(s). And while Mr. Rogers may have worked with their kids, their kids are not the only ones I am coaching.
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In particular, I learned that the earlier in the season you hit a player with a harsh penalty like suspension or being thrown off the team, the more salutary the effect on the rest of the players. I have joked that I would almost hire a child actor to play the role of a misbehaving kid on the first day of practice so I could throw him off the team.
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I was a bartender at the Dolphin singles bar in Sea Isle City, NJ in the two months graduation leave after I graduated from West Point. I was a bouncer for the first two nights. The other bouncer was the son of the town’s police chief.
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The owner told me he needed to throw some guy out of the bar early in the season to get that reputation. And I was there the night he did. The customer had complained loudly about something. He was not violent or drunk or anything, but he was loud and arrogant deliberately drawing attention to what a tough guy he was.
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The owner went nuts. He was five times as loud as the customer and five times as angry. He made the biggest possible show of throwing the guy out and telling never to return. The bewildered customer was totally astonished by what seemed to be a gross overreaction by the owner. HE had unwittingly played the role the owner needed of the unacceptable customer.
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And it worked. No one ever strayed the slightest out of line the rest of the summer.
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I think that is what Trump has been doing since 2015. Barking and snapping and cracking his whip “overly” harshly to laymen observers, but not to those who have led men in tough situations.
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In that, Trump and Kim may be similar men of similar experience and training. And that is why they can yell at each other and later ignore it. Justin Trudeau, in contrast, is one of the effete elite. Assuming Trump’s breaches of tea-party etiquette are perceived by everyone else the same as Trudeau perceives them. He is wrong about that. Also, Trudeau is clueless about who has the power in a U.S.-Canada trade dispute. Canada is extremely dependent on US trade. Canada trade is 1% of our GDP. Trudeau must either back down or lose the next election over his failure to keep Canadian voters from being hurt by Trudeau’s failure to realistically read the situation.
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The situation is similar with regard to the relative military strength of the US and North Korea. Clinton, Bush, and Obama behaved as if NK was a military threat to the US. Trump laughed at that, appropriately. HE called Kim’s bluff and Kim was smart enough to know it.
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Trump is trying to lead the world, and the world includes a whole lot of tough guys like MS13, dictators, unions, Mafia, jihadis, and so on. We just saw eight years of how a guy who thought the world was the faculty lounge at Harvard did with that approach. Now we are seeing another, arguably more-appropriate-to-the-task approach.

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