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President Trump had choice words in his State of the Union address for North Korea, citing the “depraved character” of its government for its “reckless pursuit” of nuclear weapons.
But he did not propose new policies to confront North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with whom he has at times engaged in name-calling.
“No regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea,” Trump said. “North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.”
President Trump announced in his State of the Union that he would keep open the prison camp at the U.S. Navy station on Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, a campaign pledge that would reverse a long-held policy of the Obama administration.
In recent years, officials have been trying most captured terrorists in U.S. courts, with a high rate of conviction, but Trump signaled that he wants a different policy.
“Terrorists are not merely criminals, they are unlawful enemy combatants,” he said, using the military’s term for insurgents captured on the battlefield.
President Trump said that the coalition to defeat Islamic State has liberated very close to 100% of the territory held by the militants in Iraq and Syria, and in other locations as well.
The group’s self-styled caliphate has indeed collapsed, and the number of active fighters in Iraq and Syria has plummeted. But experts warn that as many as 10,000 Islamic State loyalists could remain in the two countries.
Islamic State also retains active branches elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa and Asia — a potent threat underscored by recent deadly bombings in Afghanistan and Egypt's restive North Sinai region.
Still angered by the refusal of most nations to support his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, President Trump said he wants U.S. foreign assistance to go only to America’s “friends.”
Trump used his State of the Union address to urge Congress to pass legislation that would “help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America.”
He repeated a theme he has sounded since the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn Trump’s Dec. 6 Jerusalem decision, suggesting he might cut U.S. aid to countries who don’t support American actions and policies overseas.
Jan. 30, 2018, 7:22 p.m.
We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and to our allies.