Posted Thursday, June 14, 2018.
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (left) and German Chancellor Adolf Hitler (in light jacket), leave their meeting at Bad Godesberg, 23 September 1938. Wikipedia Commons via Vox.
I don’t know, maybe I read too much…
Despite the arguments made by the Times the prime ministers it vigorously supported--first Stanley Baldwin and the [Neville Chamberlain] it is clear now that appeasement rested more on self-delusion than on rational calculation, because it necessarily required faith in Hitler’s sanity and trustworthiness. Chamberlain himself told his sister privately that Hitler was “a man who could be relied on when he had given his word.” Former prime minister David Lloyd George, after his own meeting with Hitler, pronounced the German leader “a remarkable man” whose head has not been turned by adulation.”
Next time a conservative tries to buffalo you by bringing up Munich, appeasement, or Neville Chamberlain, remind them Chamberlain was a conservative and appeasement isn’t something that happened at Munich, it, along with isolationism---hard to imagine how a global empire could be isolationist, but there it was---and defeatism, was Tory policy for years before Munich and for the entire year afterwards, until Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. After that, Chamberlain remained prime minister until May of 1940 and Tory policy was mostly defeatism. Appeasement was informed by British anti-Semitism and the conservative aristocracy’s natural authoritarianism and feeling that the lesser orders needed to be kept in line and Hitler seemed to be doing that. At any rate, the quote above is from “Churchill and Orwell” by Thomas Ricks and, like I said, maybe I’ve been reading too many books and my thinking about the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un is overly influenced by that. Still...
NBC News: Kim Jong Un has accepted an invitation to the White House, President Donald Trump said Tuesday, raising the prospect of the U.S. welcoming the leader of one of the most brutal and repressive regimes in modern history.
The North Korean dictator has a "great personality" and is "a very talented man," the president told reporters overnight.
Boston Globe: After meeting with Kim for several hours, Trump told reporters as he stood next to the North Korean leader: “I learned he was a talented man. I also learned he loves his country very much.” Trump also said Kim had a “great personality” and was “very smart.”
New York Post: President Trump predicted early Tuesday that he and Kim Jong Un would have “a tremendous relationship” as the commander in chief and North Korean dictator shook hands and began their historic summit in Singapore.
“I feel really great. We’ll have a great discussion. Tremendous success. This will be tremendously successful. It’s my honor. We will have a terrific relationship,” the president told reporters as he and Kim sat across from one another moments after the historic handshake on a stage bedecked with US and North Korean flags.
Politico: Before TV cameras and their one-on-one meeting, Trump treated the North Korean totalitarian leader as a peer. He flattered Kim by telling him it was an “honor” to meet him and predicted the two would have a “fantastic relationship.”
“We had a really fantastic meeting. A lot of progress. Really, very positive, I think better than anybody could have expected, top of the line, really good,” Trump said earlier in the day about the historic summit, which has potentially far-reaching consequences for the North’s nuclear program and America's national security.
CNN: "We both want to do something. We both are going to do something. And we have developed a very special bond," Trump said at the conclusion of the landmark summit. "People are going to be very impressed. People are going to be very happy."
Washington Post: President Trump downplayed the human rights record of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime in an interview that aired Wednesday night, calling him a “tough guy” and saying that “a lot of bad things” have taken place in other nations.
The praise was among Trump’s latest adulation for Kim, a dictator who has directed murders of family members and starved his own people, since the two held a summit in Singapore earlier this week to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The president’s take on Kim’s record echoed past assessments of the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin in which Trump brushed aside questions about killings of journalists and political opponents.
In an interview that was taped aboard Air Force One while Trump was flying back to the United States from Singapore, he was pressed by Fox News’s Bret Baier on Kim’s human rights record. Baier noted that Trump had praised Kim as “a very talented person” and had said they have good chemistry.
“You know you call people sometimes killers; he is a killer,” Baier said. “He’s clearly executing people.”
“He’s a tough guy,” Trump replied. “Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you can do that at 27 years old, I mean that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other.”
“But he’s still done some really bad things,” Baier said.
“Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things,” Trump said. “I mean, I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”
Trump said he was making his assessment of Kim based on the period during which they had gotten to know one another.
“I am going from today,” he said. “I am going from maybe 90 days ago. Because we really started this.”
NBC News: At Trump’s post-summit news conference, the first question came from NBC News’ Hallie Jackson, who asked: “Why are you so comfortable calling [Kim] very talented?”
The president responded: “Well, he is very talented. Anybody who takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it, and run it tough…
Market Watch: “I don’t say he was nice or say anything about it. He ran it. Few people at that age — you can take 1 out of 10,000 could [do it],” said Trump of Kim.
This is how Kim is not nice and how he’s been tough in running the country he loves very much:
NBC News: North Korea has committed "unspeakable atrocities" on a vast scale in a manner reminiscent of Nazi Germany, according to a 2014 United Nations investigation that said Kim's regime was guilty of murder, extermination, enslavement, forcible transfer, imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, persecution, enforced disappearances and other inhumane acts.
But like I said, maybe I’ve been reading too much…