Trump tells NK’s Kim to denuclearize or risk overthrow LOLITA C. BALDOR and ZEKE MILLER •WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump laid out a stark choice for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un ahead of their planned summit next month: Abandon nuclear weapons and be rewarded with „protections,” or risk being overthrown and possible death if the arsenal remains.Trump maintained the scheduled June 12 meeting in Singapore is on track, despite the North’s threat Wednesday to cancel over concerns about the U.S. push to see the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.The North has argued it needs its nuclear weapons to preserve its security, and has expressed concerns about giving up its nuclear program. The North cites the example of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who died at the hands of rebel forces amid a popular uprising in October 2011; he had given up his nuclear program in the 2000s.National Security Adviser John Bolton explicitly cited „the Libya model of 2003-2004” as a basis for the North Korea talks last month, which drew personal rebuke from the North Korean government Wednesday.Trying to address the North Korean concerns, the president said if Kim were to agree to denuclearize, „he’ll get protections that would be very strong.”But Trump warned that failure to make a deal could have grave consequences for Kim. Mentioning what happened in Libya, Trump said, „That model would take place if we don’t make a deal.””The Libyan model isn’t the model we have at all. In Libya we decimated that country.” Trump added. „There was no deal to keep Gadhafi.”Trump said he is „willing to do a lot” to provide security guarantees to Kim. „The best thing he could do is make a deal.”Trump also suggested China was influencing North Korea’s thinking regarding the summit, pointing to Kim’s visit to China immediately before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang last week to finalize the summit date and location.Trump said Thursday that nothing has changed with respect to North Korea after the warning from Pyongyang. He said North Korean officials are discussing logistical details about the meeting with the U.S. „as if nothing happened.”In addition to threatening to pull out of the meeting with Trump, the North abruptly canceled a planned meeting with South Korean officials over joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Thursday that the schedule of military exercises hasn’t changed. She added the annual exercises are long-planned, defensive in nature and meant to ensure the readiness of U.S. and South Korean forces.Exercise Max Thunder began Monday and concludes May 25. It includes aircraft from across the U.S. military services. Last year’s exercise included roughly 1,200 U.S. personnel and about 640 South Koreans. This year’s drill is similar.Speaking at an Oval Office meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump also said he will not discuss U.S. troop levels in South Korea during his meeting with Kim.The North has said it won’t return to talks with Seoul due to the exercises.Related Video: White House Expected North Korea’s Move Watch news, TV and more on Yahoo View._Associated Press writer Ken Thomas contributed to this report.
White House says Trump’s use of ‘animals’ to describe MS-13 wasn’t strong enoughDylan Stableford Senior Editor •Sarah Sanders defends Trump’s ‘animals’ comment White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Thursday sharply defended President Trump’s characterization of undocumented immigrants who commit violent crimes as “animals.”“The president was very clearly referring to MS-13 gang members who entered the country illegally and whose deportations are hamstrung by our laws,” Sanders told reporters at a White House press briefing. “This one of the most vicious and deadly gangs that operate by the motto of rape, control and kill.”During a roundtable discussion about California’s sanctuary cities laws at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, Trump used the term “animals” after a Fresno County sheriff complained that legal restrictions placed on ICE databases make it difficult to track members of the MS-13 gang.“We have people coming into the country, who are trying to come in, and we’re stopping a lot of them, but we’re taking people out of the country, you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,” Trump said. “These aren’t people. These are animals.”The comment sparked controversy as some critics and media reports suggested Trump was using the term to broadly describe all immigrants.White House press secretary Sarah Sanders speaks during a briefing at the White House on Thursday. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)“If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they are more than welcome to,” Sanders said. “Frankly I don’t think the term the president used was strong enough.”The press secretary then read a list of several examples of “heinous acts” carried out by MS-13.“It took an animal to stab a man 100 times and decapitate him and rip his heart out,” Sanders said. “It took an animal to beat a woman they were sex trafficking in the back, indenting part of her body. And it took an animal to kidnap, drug and rape a 14-year-old girl.”She added: “Frankly I don’t think the term animal goes far enough. And I think the president should continue to use his platform and everything he can do under the law to stop these horrible, horrible, disgusting people.”Trump himself defended his use of the term speaking to reporters later Thursday afternoon.“We need strong immigration laws,” the president said. “We have laws that are laughed at on immigration. So when the MS-13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country, I refer to them as animals. And guess what? I always will.”
2. This is a religious conflict. This, too, is inaccurate. Palestinians are not a religious monolith. While majority Muslim, the Palestinian community has always included Muslims, Christians and Jews. Also, prior to Zionist settlement at the end of the Ottoman Empire, religious diversity was a feature of historic Palestine. Even after Jewish immigration began, Zionist settlers were mainly secular, as were the indigenous Palestinians.But this isn’t just a question of historical accuracy. By framing the conflict as religious, we are encouraged to see it as an internecine squabble between two equally earnest parties who are in possession of competing religious texts or scriptural interpretations. Simply put, this is not about religion. It’s about land theft, expulsion and ethnic cleansing by foreign settlers to indigenous land.3. It’s very complicated.In a certain way, the issue is indeed complicated. After more than a century of conflict, there is definitely a lot of nuance surrounding various truth claims, policies and solutions. Too often, however, the claim that “it’s complicated” functions as an excuse to sidestep a very simple reality: this is about the 70-year struggle of a people who have been expelled, murdered, robbed, imprisoned and occupied. While there’s certainly a need to engage the finer points of the conflict, we can never lose sight of this basic and very uncomplicated point.Palestinian demonstrators take cover from Israeli fire and tear gas during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)4. Palestinians keep turning down fair deals.This argument wrongly presumes that any deal that includes the sharing of stolen land with the victims of said theft could be fair. But even in relative and pragmatic terms, this is not true. Think back to the wildly disproportionate U.N. partition agreement of 1947 that allotted 55 percent of the land to the Jewish population even though there only comprised 33 percent of the population and owned 7 percent of the land. Or look to the 2008 negotiations between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that did not allow for a contiguous Palestinian territory nor a real resolution to the struggle over Jerusalem, Palestinians have never been offered a deal that allows for a truly independent, fertile, sufficient, and secure state. 5. Palestinians don’t want peace.This argument plays on Orientalist narratives of Arabs as innately violent, irrational, pre-modern and undeserving of Western democracy or diplomacy. The argument also castigates Palestinians for resisting their brutal occupation and repression. Occupied people have a legal and moral right to defend themselves. To ask them not to resist is to ask them to die quietly. Palestinians want peace. But justice is always a precondition of peace. 6. Israel has a right to exist!This claim is a product of U.S. and Israeli hasbara, a term for propaganda. First, this argument is only rhetorically deployed in relation to Israel, as opposed to Palestine or virtually any other nation-states. After all, no one routinely demands that Israel and its advocates declare Palestine’s “right to exist” as an abstract idea, physical space or independent nation. More importantly, however, the claim obscures a more fundamental truth: no country has a right to exist, only peopledo. By naturalizing the idea that nation-states have a “right to exist,” we undermine our ability to offer a moral critique of Israel’s (or any settler-colony’s) origin story.No country has a right to exist, only people do.If a country has a natural right to exist, there is less room to challenge the means by which that country obtains land, interacts with indigenous populations or engages in international and domestic law. After all, it had a right to exist, right? The “right to exist” argument also reifies the nation-state, erasing its relatively new emergence as a political imaginary construct. In other words, the idea of nations and nationalism is relatively new. (This is why the whole “there was never a country called Palestine” argument is both ahistorical and dishonest). The argument also limits our ability to imagine the world on different terms and different political formations, including the reconstitution of historic Palestine (or contemporary Israel) as a single democracy for ALL citizens, regardless of race, class, gender or religion.7. You’re anti-Semitic!Anti-Semitism is a very real phenomenon around the globe. And we must be vigilant about addressing and destroying anti-Semitism wherever it emerges. Too often, however, this claim is leveled against anyone who critiquesor protests the practices of the Israeli nation-state.Under these conditions, allegations of anti-Semitism become nothing more than a reflexive retort, intended to shut down the conversation. More importantly, this is a key part of Zionist strategy: equating Judaism with Zionism and the Israeli state itself. Under this logic, to critique Israel is to critique Judaism. Such arguments also ignore the fact that the Jewish tradition is one that covets justice and fairness, and its principles are in fundamental opposition with the Israeli government’s actions.Hopefully, we can move beyond these arguments and engage in deeper and more nuanced conversations about creating peace, justice and freedom in the region.Marc Lamont Hill is the Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University, a CNN political commentator and former host of HuffPost Live.This article originally appeared on HuffPost.Related Video: Palestinians Hold Funerals as Protests Continue