Categories: Editorial, OpinionWhen the president suggested that he could envision a limited nuclear war with our communist adversary, critics were “horrified” and “appalled” while the regime called his remarks “dangerous madness.” This does not mean nuclear war.If North Korea persists in testing, it could involve a targeted military strike taking out Pyongyang’s ballistic missile and nuclear facilities. To the contrary, it was part of an intentional campaign designed to get North Korea to understand that Trump, unlike his predecessors, is willing to use force to stop Pyongyang from threatening American cities. For decades, the North Koreans have believed that they are untouchable because they can incinerate Seoul with conventional weapons.Now, they are on a crash course to develop and deploy the capability to incinerate U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.They think the pursuit of these weapons is making them even safer.Trump is trying to convince them that the opposite is true.The best chance to prevent such a use of force is if North Korea receives and believes this message.So we’d all better hope that Trump succeeds. Furthermore, as my American Enterprise Institute colleague Oriana Skylar Mastro recently pointed out, “Kim understands that a second Korean War would end with his demise, and therefore he has incentives to avoid such escalation.“Assuming Kim is rational then, it is possible that the United States could conduct a limited surgical strike and North Korea’s response would be minimal.”Trump’s tweets are intended to prevent us from getting to that point.They are not only entirely rational but also strategically smart.Let’s hope his critics keep questioning his sanity, because it can only help convince Kim that Trump is serious.Marc A. Thiessen is a columnist with The Washington Post who writes from a conservative perspective. He is the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census On “Fox News Sunday,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo underscored Trump’s message, declaring that “We want the regime to understand that, unlike before, we are intent on resolving this and it is our firm conviction that resolving this diplomatically is the correct answer but that this administration is prepared to do what it takes to assure that people in Los Angeles, in Denver, in New York are not held at risk from Kim Jong Un having a nuclear weapon.”All those in the perpetual outrage machine who are calling Trump a “madman” for his tweet are also inadvertently helping him send that message to Pyongyang — just as Reagan’s critics helped convince Moscow that he was a madman.Are Trump’s threats of military action a bluff? No.As national security adviser H.R. McMaster recently explained, Trump is “not going to allow this murderous, rogue regime to threaten the United States with the most destructive weapons on the planet.”Trump tweeted in August: Two years later, Margaret Thatcher shared intelligence from KGB Colonel Oleg Gordievsky (who was working for the British) that Russian officials were increasingly convinced Reagan was getting ready for a nuclear first strike and was running drills to prepare for it.Indeed, NATO did carry out an exercise for a nuclear exchange — “Able Archer 83” — which included planes taxiing onto runways with realistic dummy nuclear warheads.Again, Reagan did not disabuse the Soviets of the notion.Quite the opposite: The next year he joked when testing his microphone before his weekly radio address “We begin bombing in five minutes.”The belief of Soviet leaders that Reagan might just be crazy enough to push the nuclear button constrained Soviet behavior and helped make possible a peaceful end to the Cold War.Now Trump is trying to send a similar message to the North Korean regime.His recent tweet telling Pyongyang that his nuclear button is “much bigger & more powerful” than Kim Jong Un’s was neither unstable nor stupid. The president in question was not Donald Trump.It was Ronald Reagan, who in his first year in office raised the possibility that the United States and the Soviet Union could survive an exchange of tactical nuclear weapons.That same year Richard Pipes, Reagan’s director of East European and Soviet affairs on the National Security Council, told The Post he thought the probability of nuclear war was about 40 percent.These remarks sent a signal to Moscow that Reagan was not like those who came before him.He did not want war, but he would not shy from one if provoked. That message was received.In 1981, then-KGB chief and future Soviet leader Yuri Andropov declared at a major KGB conference that Reagan “was actively preparing for war and that a nuclear first strike was possible.”
Image courtesy of CheniereLiquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the United States increased during the week that ended May 17, the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly natural gas report.Seven LNG vessels, with a total carrying capacity of 25.8 Bcf departed the two exporting facilities in the United States, compared to six LNG carriers that were dispatched the week before.EIA notes that six cargoes were dispatched from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG facility while the remaining cargo was loaded at Dominion’s Cove Point LNG plant.EIA adds that the first U.S. LNG cargo was dispatched to Israel onboard the British Diamond LNG carrier capable of transporting 155,000 cubic meters of the chilled fuel.According to the AIS data provided by Vesselsvalue, the vessel is currently off the east coast of Morocco and is scheduled to arrive at the Hadera Deepwater LNG terminal operated by Israel Natural Gas Lines (INGL).The natural gas feedstock to both of the terminals averaged 3.5 Bcf/d during the report week as compared to 3.3 Bcf/d last week, the report said.
The majority of first-year college students in the United States do not have the fundamental skills to be successful in college, according to a recently released ACT report.The ACT reported that only 25 percent of students in 2011 met all four of the subject area benchmarks. The standardized exam, which has been testing students’ college readiness since 1959, tests high school students’ English, math, science and reading skills.The ACT defines college readiness as the acquisition of the knowledge a student needs to be successful in their first year of courses in a post-secondary institution.Quentin Berger, an assistant professor in the department of mathematics at USC who primarily teaches freshman students, said the fundamental skills acquired during high school prove important in collegiate level classes.“Students must know the basic concepts to move on in higher college level math,” Berger said. “Many of the students I have taught so far this year have needed a refresher in basic concepts.”Some freshmen said they have also experienced the need to review the fundamentals to succeed in their classes.“I’m in Thematic Option, and with my writing class, I had to relearn the format and learn the right way to phrase things for an analytical paper,” said Dan Graham, a freshman majoring in international relations.When looking at first-year students enrolled in a four-year private institution, the percentage of students who have attained the fundamental skills for college is higher. Sixty-four percent of students met three or more of the ACT-determined benchmarks.Over the years, USC’s average ACT score has slowly risen, showing the rise in academic expectations for its incoming students. For this year’s freshmen class, the middle 50 percent of students had a composite ACT score between 29 and 33. The highest possible score for the ACT is 36.Director of Undergraduate Admissions Kirk Brennan said that test scores are an important factor in admission decisions, but they are not the only factor.“Scores are worried about too much,” he said. “We’re also aware of [the tests’] limitations … I think that we know when to make a bet on a student who might show other strengths where we think that the score might not be an indicator of future success. Too often people worry about the score when they should worry about pursuing rigorous thought and intellectual growth.”Thomas Leonard, a freshman majoring in business administration, said he doesn’t agree that the ACT is an adequate measure of a student’s college readiness.“I don’t know if [the ACT] shows ability,” Leonard said. “Standardized tests show how hard you can study and who has the most money for tutors to help them study.”Katie Murphy, a freshman majoring in electrical engineering, said her own personal experiences show why standardized tests are not always the best predictor.“I didn’t do as well on the science portion as the rest of the test even though I took AP science classes in high school,” she said. “The science section wasn’t, ‘Do you know how to do this?’ but more of, ‘Can you read this graph quickly?’”Despite some USC students’ concerns that their ACT scores don’t have a strong correlation to their actual academic ability, many still said they believe some benchmark test is needed.“There has to be some sort of standard to show someone’s ability,” Leonard said. “You have to take tests.”Though tests carry significance, students believe that standardized tests should highlight other strengths a college-bound person might possess.“Some students have talents in other areas that a test cannot show,” Graham said. “Some individual talents that make students exceptional cannot always be shown on a standardized test.”