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Your letters: Scorn and support for Trump's tough talk on North Korea

12 August 2017

Kimmel continued: "By the way, he's making this insane threat from a golf course".

TRUMP: I want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on payroll. "He has genuine concern about the direction of events in North Korea".

All unilateral, first-strike plans have unacceptably large risks. Pyongyang this week threatened to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam during an exchange of bellicose rhetoric with Trump.

Deterrence - the same policy that worked against the Soviet Union for about 45 years - along with sanctions, diplomacy and a renewed human rights campaign directed at the North Koreans, remains the only realistic option. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also sought to promote dialogue and diplomacy over military action.

A million or so Japanese might die as well (that would depend on the fallout), and a few tens of thousands of US soldiers in western Pacific bases (from targeted strikes). Perhaps, now might not be the best time to improvise.

Last week, the UN Security Council voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea, a decision that will raise pressure on the regime.

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The legislation against first use of nuclear weapons also has support from several peace groups, the Quakers and former Obama Administration Defense Secretary William Perry.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Ben Cardin, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we thank you very much.

If Trump announces the investigation, it would come at a time Trump and members of his administration have called on China to do more to rein in North Korea amid recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

I have a lot of confidence in our ability to maintain the safety of our people.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before", he said.

What does he mean by "threats"? The process of coming to an accommodation that lets North Korea keep a nuclear deterrent, while reassuring it that it will never have to use those weapons.

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"What is tougher than "fire and fury"?" Nearly immediately, Mr Tillerson, seeking to fix the damage, told Americans (but not South Koreans) that they should "sleep well at night" because he had no "concerns about this particular rhetoric", meaning, it seems, the president's particular rhetoric.

Humphrey said a Commission on Presidential Capacity could potentially remove Trump under Article 25 of the Constitution, which states the vice president should assume the role of president if he and a congressional majority believe the president is unable to discharge his duties.

This hardly clears up the problem.

And the president's comments yesterday and today have made that more hard.

Many baby boomers grew up during the Cold War, when then US president John F. Kennedy and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev took the world to the brink of a nuclear conflagration with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and the fear of annihilation was a seminal event in many of their lives.

He has no authority and so - like the child in the parked auto - he can't make any of the normal threats stick.

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Despite such unease, many of these same officials play down concerns about more far-reaching consequences, at least when it comes to ongoing areas of cooperation.

Your letters: Scorn and support for Trump's tough talk on North Korea