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Axios Oct 15
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Careening blindly towards war

Nick Kristof interviews a North Korean military officer at the DMZ: "He showed me the ax used to kill two American officers in 1976." (Courtesy Nick Kristof)

N.Y. Times columnist Nick Kristof writes that during his five-day visit to North Korea, he was struck by "the Confucian emphasis on dignity that makes officials particularly resent Trump's personal attacks on Kim."

Kristof also detected a "bizarre confidence that North Korea can not only survive a nuclear war with the U.S. but also emerge as victor":

  • "Ordinary North Koreans were unfamiliar with the name of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died days after being returned to the United States in a vegetative state after his detention in Pyongyang for stealing a poster. But they knew all about President Trump's threats to destroy their country."
  • "I left North Korea fearing that we are far too complacent about the risk of a cataclysmic war that could kill millions."
  • "I have a sinking feeling in my gut, just as I had on the eve of the Iraq war, that our president may be careening blindly toward war. In that case, the job of journalists is to go out and report, however imperfectly, and try to ring alarm bells in the night."