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Talks and re-thinking are needed abroad

While there was optimism that face-to-face discussions between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might lead to peace on Korean peninsula, those thoughts were squashed when Trump canceled a planned summit next month.

No one should be surprised. Since the late 1940s, North Korea has had one objective in mind: imposing a communist dictatorship on all of Korea. Its forces invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, attempting to achieve that goal.

After North Korean and, later, Chinese forces battled U.N. and U.S. forces for three years, North Korea signed an armistice. It ended hostilities on July 27, 1953, where the conflict began, the 38th parallel. Since then, North Korea has remained on a full war footing.

The summit between the nations had real possibilities. Kim at one point said, “no more war.” Everyone cheered, and both the North and South removed their propaganda loud speaker systems at the border.

The possibility of a lasting peace and a treaty is very important in southwest Oklahoma because many of our soldiers from Fort Sill and airmen from Altus Air Force Base are stationed or deployed there.

Shortly after the summit was announced, the rhetoric heated up. Kim went to China and was briefed by President Xi Jinping on how to deal with Trump. Later aggressive statements increased from Pyongyang. A top North Korean envoy ridiculed Vice President Mike Pence, calling him a political dummy.

Even after canceling the summit, Trump said he did not close the door completely on meeting with Kim.

“If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting,” the president said. “In the meantime, our very strong sanctions — by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed — and maximum-pressure campaign will continue,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Only time will tell if discussion can start in earnest. The world hope so.


Take Afghan reports seriously

President Trump should take the time this long holiday weekend to read reports released last week by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and the Pentagon’s inspector general. The commander in chief should then re-direct U.S. efforts.

The Special Inspector General’s report, according to USA Today, said the $4.7 billion effort over the last 17 years to stabilize parts of war-torn Afghanistan has mostly failed. It says the funds spent on programs in areas cleared of insurgents was largely wasted. Some was siphoned by corrupt officials, while some of it paid for projects that did more harm than good.

Of the $4.7 billion spent, $2.4 billion went to programs administered by USAID, and $2.3 billion was spent by Pentagon’s Commander’s Emergency Response Program.

“All told, the U.S. government has appropriated about $126 billion to rebuild the country, most of it to train and equip security forces.” 

The report indicates more than 2,200 U.S. forces have been killed and a dysfunctional country remains.

The Pentagon’s report, the newspaper said, found little progress in providing security for the Afghan people.

Mr. President, it is time to cut your losses just as you did in Atlantic City, N.J., when you closed an unprofitable hotel/casino. Rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and job development here at home are more important than any continued efforts in Afghanistan.

— The Lawton Constitution

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