Honey, just keep me from sinning, OK?

During a visit to South Korea today, Vice President Mike Pence is testing out a new approach to tensions on the Korean Peninsula: Let's see whether yelling at North Korea will get results. Pence arrived in Seoul yesterday for meetings with South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, and made it clear that the U.S. is happy to risk a war by matching North Korean belligerence, since the North always responds so reasonably to threats.

Pence's visit came the day after the North celebrated the birth of founder Kim Il Sung by attempting to test a missile, which blew up shortly after launch. Pence took the opportunity to note that, by contrast, America is strong like bull, with many rock-hard weapons to hurl around at those who displease us:

"Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan," Pence said in a joint appearance with Hwang.

"North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region," Pence said.

Pence then reportedly pounded his chest and bared his teeth in the general direction of Pyongyang in a classic primate dominance display.

Earlier in the day, Pence, accompanied by his wife Karen to keep him from sexing any women he might meet, visited the demilitarized zone along the border between North and South Korea, where he again stressed that the United States is OK with a little war talk now and then, especially when it's far away and gets Donald Trump some good press.

"All options are on the table to achieve the objectives and ensure the stability of the people of this country," he told reporters as tinny propaganda music floated across from the North Korean side of the so-called demilitarized zone (DMZ).

"There was a period of strategic patience but the era of strategic patience is over."

It is unclear whether Pence literally flung poo across the DMZ to add emphasis.

South Korea is the first stop on a four-nation tour of Asia for Pence, during which he plans to ask American allies in the region to feel how solid America's biceps are. He'll also discuss economic issues; now that the Trump administration has overtly offered Chinese President Xi Jinping more favorable trade relations in exchange for China's help in pressuring North Korea to drop its nuclear program, it's unclear how hard Pence will push an "America First" stance on trade with our allies. Depends on how they can be useful to us, right?

While Pence was on his way to waggle his saber at the North, Trump's national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, went on the Sunday shows to sound a bit more diplomatic, while still emphasizing that all options were still on the table. On ABC's "This Week," McMaster said that

while the president had not ruled out any option, it was time for the United States “to take action, short of armed conflict, so we can avoid the worst” in dealing with “this unpredictable regime.” Translation: Pre-emptive strikes are off the table, at least for now.

Let's hope the New York Times got the translation right there. Another potentially hopeful detail from the Weekend O' Tensions: Despite what looked to many analysts like preparations for an underground nuclear weapons test, North Korea didn't actually celebrate the Great Leader and Eternal President's 105th birthday Saturday by going ahead with a big boom. According to the Times, this "may indicate that Mr. Xi has given him pause." In February, China stopped imports of coal from North Korea -- one of its top exports -- and has signaled to the North that it may cut back on oil sales to North Korea if the military provocations continue. Get ready for the fossil fuel industry to jump on this development to point out the disastrous consequences of green energy: There's no way China could threaten to cut off North Korea's sunlight or wind, after all.

In conclusion, it looks like we might not go to war with North Korea this week, but they'd better not make Donald Trump mad or who knows what he'll do? Maybe nuke something in Yemen to show North Korea how serious he is.

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[Reuters / NYT]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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