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Government United States Science Politics

In the Trump Administration, Science Is Unwelcome. So Is Advice. (nytimes.com) 708

Anonymous readers share a report: As President Trump prepares to meet Kim Jong-un of North Korea to negotiate denuclearization, a challenge that has bedeviled the world for years, he is doing so without the help of a White House science adviser or senior counselor trained in nuclear physics. Mr. Trump is the first president since 1941 not to name a science adviser, a position created during World War II to guide the Oval Office on technical matters ranging from nuclear warfare to global pandemics. As a businessman and president, Mr. Trump has proudly been guided by his instincts. Nevertheless, people who have participated in past nuclear negotiations say the absence of such high-level expertise could put him at a tactical disadvantage in one of the weightiest diplomatic matters of his presidency.

"You need to have an empowered senior science adviser at the table," said R. Nicholas Burns, who led negotiations with India over a civilian nuclear deal during the George W. Bush administration. "You can be sure the other side will have that." The lack of traditional scientific advisory leadership in the White House is one example of a significant change in the Trump administration: the marginalization of science in shaping United States policy. There is no chief scientist at the State Department, where science is central to foreign policy matters such as cybersecurity and global warming. Nor is there a chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture: Mr. Trump last year nominated Sam Clovis, a former talk-show host with no scientific background, to the position, but he withdrew his name and no new nomination has been made.

In the Trump Administration, Science Is Unwelcome. So Is Advice.

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:01PM (#56761336)

    That expire in 6 hours, time to use them!

  • Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:06PM (#56761352)

    The people giving advice on Korea have been fucking it up for 60-ish years, and REALLY fucking it up for 25 resulting in a viable nuclear program. So I wouldn't listen to them either.

    • Re:Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:14PM (#56761398)

      Yep... This shit should've been dealt with many years ago, but the puppets in office then had less important things to do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Do you have any examples (specific quotations would be awesome but I think that might be asking too much) of bad science advice people have given with regards to Korea?

      I'm imagining something like "Mr. President, they'll never get an atomic bomb, because according to my phrenology charts, Koreans just aren't smart enough to be able to accomplish it" but I'm just making it up and haven't actually heard such an anecdote. But you have obviously heard some things like that offered to prior presidents, so pleas

      • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @06:20PM (#56761772)

        Do you have any examples (specific quotations would be awesome but I think that might be asking too much) of bad science advice people have given with regards to Korea?

        Well the scientists working with intelligence agencies have been wrong about the speed at which North Korean could develop nuclear weapons and delivery technology basically forever - from the most recent example [nytimes.com]:

        " At the start of Donald Trump's presidency, American intelligence agencies told the new administration that while North Korea had built the bomb, there was still ample time - upward of four years - to slow or stop its development of a missile capable of hitting an American city with a nuclear warhead."

        But this kind of terrible under-estimation goes back decades.

        • by sycodon ( 149926 )

          Ironically the first Science Advisers were to advise on how to make a nuclear weapon and immolate people a few hundred thousand at a time.

          Interesting stance for the NYTs to take.

    • Re:Advice (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:32PM (#56761492)

      The people giving advice on Korea have been fucking it up for 60-ish years, and REALLY fucking it up for 25 resulting in a viable nuclear program. So I wouldn't listen to them either.

      Well, at least they haven't started WWIII over the issue up until now.

      Maybe without all those advisers, Trump will be able to change that.

      • Yes they have (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall ( 25149 )

        Well, at least they haven't started WWIII over the issue up until now.

        They very much did by allowing to let North Korean (and Iran) get within one launch or a smuggled shipping port nuke away from starting WWIII (or at least a nuclear conflict).

        You can start wars through inaction as well action, you know.

        Just because the nuclear shot has not been fired does not mean the war has not begin.

        I mean, we have dead U.S. soldiers (from Iran and North Korea) and everything... how is that not a war?

      • Re:Advice (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @07:17PM (#56761978) Journal
        Seems to me we've had 60 years of cold war and appeasement with North Korea. Now that there's a different approach in place, we're actually negotiating, and the North and South are having talks. What is that old saying about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?
    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @06:15PM (#56761740)
      until Saddam & Gaddafi. In both cases we secured promises, backed up by extensive international inspections, that they would not develop weapons of mass destruction. And in both cases we proved to be untrustworthy and brutal and arranged for both men to be murdered (Gaddafi died with a bayonet twisting in his gut).

      Kim would be a real mad man if he stopped trying to get nukes after seeing what we do to people who relinquish them
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Of course, you lie. We didn't "arrange for" Qaddafi to get killed. He arranged that through an unusually cruel dictatorship. We let it happen, by putting a little bit of ordinance into keeping his military from wholesale slaughter of civillians. Saddam of course, you know, and deny, was delbierately keeping inspectors away from certain facilities while also shooting at aircraft patrolling the no fly zone he agreed to. Shooting at military aircraft is, of course, an act of war. Clearly, it was the Americans

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2018 @08:27PM (#56762246)

        I suppose the bit where we didn't actually find any sign that they were producing weapons of mass destruction after deposing Saddam is lost on you? The worst they found were old gas weapons left over from the Iran-Iraq war a decade earlier and those were largely unusable. What we did find were a shitload of documents that confirmed that they'd given up trying to develop WMDs.

        But hey, who cares about facts anymore. If a politician says it, it's your patriotic duty to believe it, right?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yes, that's the GP's point. Saddam caved to the US demands for weapons inspectors and stopped developing WMDs of any kind. In response, we killed him.

      • by bluegutang ( 2814641 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @03:54AM (#56763544)

        Saddam kicked out the inspectors [kitsapsun.com] which were supposed to verify the lack of a nuclear program. Why on earth would he do that if he didn't have a nuclear program?

        The answer is, because he wanted to convince Iran, his regional rival, that he had a nuclear program. Unfortunately, he did too good a job, and convinced the Bush administration too, and we got a very destructive war as a result.

        WRT Libya (and all the more so Ukraine a couple decades earlier) you are correct that the US broke its promises and gave a massive incentive to proliferators in the future.

    • Re:Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jythie ( 914043 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @06:30PM (#56761818)
      The people giving advice for the last 60ish years have managed to not have a cold war go hot and have avoided the massive destabilizing catastrophe that a DPRK collapse would entail.
    • Kim's strategy here is obvious. Start by offering to give up North Korea's supply of depleted uranium, and see where it goes from there.
    • Re:Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by golodh ( 893453 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @08:05PM (#56762182)
      Getting North Korea to discontinue its nuclear program was never within the capabilities of the US, short of starting WW-III. Which definitely isn't worth it.

      The US have been unable to stop the Sovjets from obtaining nuclear weapons. And the Chinese. And the Indians. And the Pakistani. And Israel.

      Where do people suddenly get there idea that the US could have stopped North Korea? I think they're wrong.

      I can understand that people might be a bit upset about that, but there it is.

      China, the provider of North Korea's military umbrella, has fought the US to a stalemate in Korea before. And it has only gotten stronger since then. Much stronger. It has kept North Korea in the saddle militarily, politically, and economically ... and there's nothing the US could have done about that.

      The only way North Korea will let of of its nukes is if it wants to. Dangling the view of South Korea has an appeal. Except for the one person in charge. Unfortunately Dirty Donald and his adminstration have made it abundantly clear to North Korea's dictator that he'll be signing his own death warrant if he lets go of his nukes. Do Mr. Bolton's helpful comments on Khadaffi's example ring a bell? Gods, what a fiasco.

      Granted, some arm-twisting can sometimes go a long way. But only competent arm-twisting. Not the incoherent verbiage coming out of the WH now.

      If there's any message that Dirty Donald is managing to convey, that's: if you're enough of a criminal (Putin, Xi, Duterte) you can be his best pal. At least he'll respect you. If you're an honest, decent type of politician then he'll squeeze you like the sucker you are until you drop dead or put up a real fight. Whichever comes first.

      Let's not forget that Mr. Trump has proudly bankrupted several of the companies he ran, and his most impressive accomplishment so far has been to weather those bankruptcies wile avoiding jail time.

      It's fascinating how he seems to be repeating that accomplishment with the US Inc. amidst acclaim from political flat earthers who feel disgruntled about something, hear Dirty Donald's incoherent rants, and decide well ... at least it's different from the usual ... let's give it a try.

    • Re:Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2018 @09:06PM (#56762390)

      North Korea has been demanding 1 v 1 talks with the USA for 60 years. In all that time the US has counter-demanded that NK must make peace with all interested parties whilst seated at the same table. Suddenly everything has changed.

      Now the North has nukes the US gives in and rushes to a face saving meeting, whilst passing it off as a victory of some kind. The best part is that NK has forced the US to offer a complete removal of trade restrictions and give guarantees of regime stability as well as peace (including withdrawal of troops probably) . All because the North Koreans finally realised that in the past they had nothing to bargain with and decided to do something about it. Trump will have to pass this off as a major win. Nixon declared a huge win in Vietnam as he ran away from the loss. This will be bigger.

      In the meantime, Trump has removed the only barrier that stood in the way of Iran following the same path. They can simply trade with NK now for all the tech and materials they desire. Oil for bombs? No problem. The US has shown that it will surrender immediately you have a bomb and it will bully you mercilessly until you do have one.

      This opens up a path to a brighter future for the world. If the answer to halting gun violence is all the good people having a gun then surely the answer to bomb threat is all the good countries having a bomb. One step toward every nation guaranteeing lasting peace through the acquisition of "family atomics".

    • Re:Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by multi io ( 640409 ) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Sunday June 10, 2018 @10:19PM (#56762692)

      The people giving advice on Korea have been fucking it up for 60-ish years, and REALLY fucking it up for 25 resulting in a viable nuclear program. So I wouldn't listen to them either.

      What exactly has been "fucked up"? There's been a ceasefire for 60 years, the two Koreas still exist and are habitable, one of them has become one of the richest, most prosperous countries on earth. That's not ideal, but it's more than could reasonably expected in 1953.

  • Who needs science (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sit1963nz ( 934837 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:07PM (#56761356)
    The only thing Trump believes in is money, and money has "In god we trust", so who the hell needs science. And the problem with science advisors, they know WAY too much that Trump does not understand. And as for all the GREAT PEOPLE that Trump knows....he'll probably end up pardoning most of them, including himself.
  • White House science adviser or senior counselor trained in nuclear physics.

    Why would you need EITHER of those people to meet with someone like Kim Jong-un?

    They are not going to meet about science. They are not going to talk about how nuclear weapons are constructed.

    They are going to meet for the purpose of North Korea *giving up* nuclear weapons and rejoining with the south.

    What kind of "experts" can really help you here? Kim Jong-un is not exactly well balanced. What you need is someone who can steer a p

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:19PM (#56761418) Journal

      What you need is someone who can steer a power-mad and basically unbalanced person into doing something you want them to do, to point out how it's really in their best interests also.

      This is exactly the discussion the leaders of the G7 are having today about Donald Trump.

      • This is exactly the discussion the leaders of the G7 are having today about Donald Trump.

        And what luck are they having? None at all it would seem. Trump steamrolled them at the G7 summit and uncovered a lot of uncomfortable facts about a long-time status quo the G7 would rather have remained obscured (like a 270% tariff on dairy going into Canada, a very real and chilling fact about which I had no idea previously).

        Meanwhile Trump has actually gotten the U.S., NK and SK together in a room to talk for the f

        • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:45PM (#56761568) Homepage Journal

          (like a 270% tariff on dairy going into Canada, a very real and chilling fact about which I had no idea previously).

          Then I suppose you also don't know that the US provides over $22 billion a year in direct subsidies to US dairy producers, accounting for over 40% of all dairy profits?

          That's right -- American taxpayers are paying for >40% of all dairy production in the US. That has lead to a significant oversupply of milk and cheese products which the US can't sell domestically, so they want to be able to dump it on other countries well below market value (again -- it's government subsidized).

          That is why Canada has a tariff on US dairy products. Canada doesn't subsidize its dairy industry at all. The tariffs came into effect because the US insists on subsidizing its dairy industry with more US tax dollars than the entire Canadian dairy industry is worth [dairyinfo.gc.ca].

          And you know what? Even with all that, Canada imports more dairy from the US than it exports (see above link).

          Want to get rid of the tariffs? Get rid of your own market distorting subsidies first, then we can talk.

          Yaz

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

            Thanks for the context. Isn't it amazing that at this stage of the game, people are still willing to take an out of context 'fact' from Trump and use it to justify his nonsense. People, Trump lies. All the time. Black is White, Up is Down class lies.

            Trump's rant about imports of cars from Canada did make me wonder about the context of that. It's American car manufacturers building cars in Canada and importing them, NAFTA style back into the US. But why? This is Canada - not Mexico, let alone China.

            • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @06:27PM (#56761806) Homepage Journal

              suspect it's more like they always built cars for the Canadian market in Canada, and with NAFTA, it makes economic sense to build one model in one plant and another in another. So the models built in Canada end up getting imported here and vice versa. But is there more to it?

              There are a few reasons, including those that you've touched upon already: better educated population and universal medicare help, but so does cheap and reliable electricity (most of which is green in the main automative manufacturing centres due to our abundance of hydroelectric generation capacity), access to raw materials, and the lower Canadian dollar (which makes worker wages competitive). Automative in Canada actually has very strong unions, but even with that the manufacturers get highly educated talent that costs them less money to maintain.

              Most automotive manufacturing in Canada tends to be mid-to-higher end lines; we don't have a wide variety of vehicle types, and don't make anything either compact or smaller, or in pickup truck form; Industry Canada has a list of passenger vehicles made in Canada in 2017 here [ic.gc.ca] (this list doesn't include military or commercial or mass transit vehicles, or anything that floats or flies).

              One thing I will note, it isn't as if automotive manufacturers have been making a run on building assembly facilities in Canada. Most of the facilities in use have been around for decades. Thus, we can conclude that the value is sufficient to keep building vehicles with good sale values in these Canadian facilities, but not so much that manufacturing is leaving the US (or elsewhere) for Canada.

              Yaz

        • by GrimSavant ( 5251917 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @06:37PM (#56761852)
          That's an...interesting take on the G-7 summit. Perhaps you missed (or are trying to miss) Trump's open treachery on lobbying to get Russia brought back into the G-8. [theguardian.com] The news shows don't want to use that word, treachery, and have just been calling it highly unusual and risky and whatnot, or with Sen Sasse calling it weak.

          But there's plenty enough there to see in this one instance that he is betraying the interests of our country right then and there; the G-8 kicked out Russia for invading and annexing Crimea, and Trump is ignoring that and trying to reward Russia most likely for their aid in getting him elected. I guess Russian information and psychological warfare against the US is ok if it helps Trump, huh? Add in his pretty explicit attempt to start a trade war and sandbag on the other diplomatic measures with our allies, he seems pretty hellbent on tearing apart the post WWII western alliances.

          If Trump's not a puppet of Putin, then it is getting to the point that is pretty hard to see that distinction, and maybe doesn't even matter anymore. He's giving Putin precisely what Putin wants: the US and our alliances divided, weak, and focused internally.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:25PM (#56761456)

      Seriously? I don't about you, but I would like a nuclear physicist to tell me if Un is bullshitting me.

      You admire speaking plainly? OK. I find your ignorance baffling. I cannot believe people are still supporting Trump considering everything he's fucking up.

      He's rolled back Obama's ban on coal miners dumping their waste into rivers and stream - which poisoning the water; DRINKING water for people. And god forbid if you like to fish or enjoy the water - it's fucked.
      He's neutered the CFPB - the best thing our government has done for us little people in decades. Banks are now free to steal from us again.
      He's totaling screwing up trade deals that took years to negotiate because of his childish and ignorant beliefs on trade.
      His real estate and deal making acumen was all a creation of his publicist.
      He's stirring up more trouble in the Middle East which damage this country for many many years to come.

      Unless one is an Evangelical Christian Kook who thinks he's some of messenger from your skydaddy, this guy is just fucking all of us over.

    • by beheaderaswp ( 549877 ) * on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:25PM (#56761458)

      The only way North Korea will rejoin with the south is if Kim Jong-un is allowed to rule it. Will you consider that a victory? I certainly would not. South Korea is a thriving regulated capitalist economy with it's own advanced industry and government. Would you turn the south over to a deranged socialist dictator?

      Kim Jong-un isn't going to give up control of the North. Reunification would require bringing the north under control of the south.

      Trump might, however, create some kind of deal. The only leverage he has is lifting economic sanctions or war. There's no guarantee that the North would either negotiate in good faith or adhere to the "new rules". They have never honored their agreements before.

      The problem isn't the intelligence, prior attempts, or the people who worked on the problem before...

      The problem is the North Korean regime. Sadly, Trump is over his head. Claiming otherwise is to ignore the character of the man.

      All politicians are sociopaths. That doesn't guarantee intelligence or good decision making.

      • The only way North Korea will rejoin with the south is if Kim Jong-un is allowed to rule it. Will you consider that a victory? I certainly would not.

        I wouldn't consider that much of a victory but I also don't consider it a possibility so it really doesn't warrant any thought.

        Kim Jong-un isn't going to give up control of the North

        Oh, you didn't mean ALL of Korea. (or did you? Not very clear). Nor does he have to, he just has to open up borders and trade between the two countries. That *is* very possible.

        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @06:12PM (#56761714)

          Yes, but Trump is actually a strong sociopath unlike presidents for decades before him.

          Um, Trump is a sociopath that makes 'strong' statements and routinely backs down from them. But he's so strong that he refuses to admit he's backed down. I guess as long as the press has some modicum of 'The Emporor's New Clothes' respect left for the office, he can get away with that. But how exactly does that make him strong?

          And how the fuck have we gotten to the point where somebody like you, who seem nominally literate, will fawn over somebody being a sociopath - strong or otherwise? Or are paid trolls being dispatched to such obscure corners of the Internet as Slashdot? Now that's scary.

          • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @09:05PM (#56762384)

            It's not the press man.

            They are hoarse from pointing out his lack of clothing for the last 9-12 months.

            The problem is Mr. Trump's authoritarian followers. Read up on the authoritarian mindset. It's present in about 25% of any population. It's capable of flipping on a dime repeatedly to conform to whatever the leader's new reality is.

            It is probably a huge survival trait in authoritarian regimes.

            If Mr. Trump says the sky is black, then to the authoritarian's, it's sincerely black.
            If the next day he says it is yellow, then it's sincerely yellow to them.

            They have little to no cognitive dissonance.

            We did a lot of research into this after world war 2.

            As long as democracy, honesty, and a free press are valued by the leadership- then the authoritarians value it. But they can flip on a dime to not valuing democracy, honesty, and a free press. Consider how many flipped from hating Russia to loving Russia in under 6 months. People who disliked Russia their entire lives suddenly were fine with Russia.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I defy anyone to claim that Kim Jong-un is harder to work with than the upper echelons of the Teamsters.

      One last point - the very LAST person you want to bring to a nuclear disarmament party is a nuclear weapons expert, that just screams you are not truly serious about them getting rid of nuclear weapons and they would act accordingly.

      Um your comparing Kim Jong-un to a labor union leader? Really? They don't have labor unions in north korea. If you don't do what the party wants, you go to prison, and likely your family too.

      A nuclear weapons expert could explain what proposals would _really_ mean, making it less likely to have a bad proposal ratified. Not bringing one, just means you don't care about substance, and are just in this for a publicity stunt. Hell Trump may even know and expect that Kim-Jong-un is going to agree to some wo

    • by shess ( 31691 )

      What kind of "experts" can really help you here? Kim Jong-un is not exactly well balanced. What you need is someone who can steer a power-mad and basically unbalanced person into doing something you want them to do, to point out how it's really in their best interests also.

      Trump is probably the ONLY president who can pull this off. Because unlike any of the past presidents for many decades, he will speak plainly, and as a result he actually will be more trusted and respected by someone who doesn't really know who to trust.

      And his record of keeping his word will certainly help a lot in such negotiations!

    • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:56PM (#56761622)

      Nonsense. Trump will probably nod his head and agree to something Kim says that sounds good (like he did in the DACA 'negotiations' at the White House), and then when he gets home and his advisers tell him he can't agree to that, he'll reverse himself, and launch a Twitter attack on Kim to shift the blame and insist he didn't say what he plainly said.

      The reason to have scientists and Korea experts in the room is to make sure Trump doesn't go off half-cocked and make a fool of himself. Of course, he's incapable of either seeing or acknowledging when he has made a fool of himself, so the whole thing's probably just a photo-op for him at this point.

    • by GrimSavant ( 5251917 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @06:01PM (#56761652)
      Sort of sad that reckless braggadocio is what passes for "insightful" nowadays, and I really don't get why people are conned into thinking that large and intractable security problems with set and firm interests can be resolved with the swagger of a used car salesman who was born into a real estate empire.

      If you focus on Kim Jong-Un, his interests are pretty straightforward even if his methods and rule are extreme. He wants to stay alive and stay in power, and balance the internal threats from a horribly subjugated population and potentially ambitions rivals in the military and his family with the external threats of the US, South Korea, Japan, and yes, even China. So what sort of uninformed bullshit will baffle Kim into losing grip on his primary interests and capitulating? And why in the world would he believe the promises of the highest profile pathological liar in the world, the one who just reneged on a similar sort of deal with Iranians, proving that the US very much is not a reliable dealmaker right now.

      And you need the nuclear weapons experts to prove that any program to dismantle the weapons program works, as if you walk in blind on the basic scientific and engineering details of the nuclear programs then you will end up blind as to the effectiveness of any disarmament measures. Not really hard for the North Koreans to cheat (which they've done before) if you don't even have the basic competence and mechanisms to verify compliance with a potential disarmament pledge.

      Perhaps you don't what to have everyone working on the nitty gritty details coming in and chatting it up with Kim in the summit, but that brings forth the lie to how this summit is supposed to be a magical way to solve the problem. Normally these high profile summits with leaders just confirm the lower level detailed negotiations and diplomacy that lead up to them and provide a bunch of nice photo ops, and last I checked the prep work to actually draft out then cement a deal has not been done yet, likely intentionally.

      I could get more sardonic and sarcastic, but if you've glanced at least a bit at Trump's business history like I have then you should probably be even more pessimistic about relying on the mythological art of the deal. The multiple bankruptcies are just the tip of the iceberg.
    • who can speak intelligently about nuclear weapons vs nuclear power?
    • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @06:19PM (#56761764)

      The guy just had a toddler temper tantrum with Canada and now he's supposed to be talking to the most crazy dictator out there and we think he can accomplish something? Sure, we *should* be talking. But we should be prepared too, get the facts too before negotiating. He should know how many nukes we have, should know the history of the Korean war, know why the North and South don't trust each other, know why North Korea distrusts America, know the history of other negotiations in the past, and so forth.

      Trump was good at deal making in the early days. Later on though, when word got around that his deals resulted in you getting shafted, he had much more problems making the deals. He's got a massive ego that makes him erroneously think that he's a good negotiator, and an ego big enough to seriously screw up the talks. Just look at how he had a toddler tantrum at Canada, does you honestly think that North Korea will be easier for him to deal with than Canada?

    • How do you verify that a country has actually disarmed without experts in technical means of verification?
    • by ZorroXXX ( 610877 ) <hlovdal.gmail@com> on Monday June 11, 2018 @09:37AM (#56764454)

      Trump ..., he will speak plainly

      Except, he does not. When he speeks the sentences are so split up and often mixes in lots of unrelated things, and has a (lack of) flow that makes it is really hard to follow. In fact this is the one thing that is easy to make parody of Donald Trump, to mimic his form of speaking. To parody the actual content of what he is say is on the other hand very hard because of the crazy things he say. For instance "My nuclear button is bigger than his" would be a natural thing to try to parody him on except he acutally manager to say that himself for real...

      For an excample of how he does not speaks plainly, consider this [snopes.com]:

      “Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you’re a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged — but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me — it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are — nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right, who would have thought? — but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners — now it used to be three, now it’s four — but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years — but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”

      While this is probably a cherry-picked example of worst cases there is, it is not exceptional and far of his average.

  • by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:08PM (#56761368) Journal

    ...if this meeting was something other than a photo-op. I don't think anything of substance will be discussed, and the only question is when exactly will the name-calling start again.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    science was also unwelcome when it came to facts like sexual dimorphism, the 'wage gap', and 'patriarchy theory.'

    Ideologues hate inconvenient truth.

  • by jmccue ( 834797 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:20PM (#56761424) Homepage

    Many people like to blame Trump, but he is a symptom of the US Environment. When Education is constantly cut for a period of 40 years and constant hate towards educated people, this is how things end up.

    On TV you see nothing but Reality Shows and shows talking about Ancient Aliens and other such things. You end you with a population that believes Science is fake and thinks Angels and other such things will come and 'save us'.

    More people seem to believe in pseudoscience (wikipedia) [wikipedia.org] than anything else, thus you get a Trump and I do not see that changing

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @05:24PM (#56761442)

    ... because the Americans are anti-science, anyway.

    The People voted and it's their right to reject science.

    They have the right to want coal and oil jobs, and to prevent nuclear power plant shutdowns.

    They have the right to elect politicians who will deregulate industry so sales will go up.

    Americans want to be an isolationist, nationalistic, under-educated, Evangelical Christian, English-speaking country and that's their right.

    If and when Americans decide to change direction, they will communicate such via the election booth.

    Until then, all's right with the world.

  • See recent Slashdot submission titled Petroglyph Explanation Remains Ignored After 15 Years. [slashdot.org] This situation with Trump lacking a science advisor is not especially different in that the person making these petroglyph claims, Anthony Peratt, is a government scientist specializing in high-energy density plasmas and nuclear physics, and has even advised the US government on the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    The Submission ...

    A government researcher in plasma and nuclear physics [cambridgewhoswho.com] demonstrated in a 2003 paper [ieee.org] that 4 [mythopedia.info]

  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @07:15PM (#56761966) Journal
    Out and out editorials, no facts, nothing at all. Just a pure, garbage opinion piece.
  • Just to be clear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kenh ( 9056 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @08:02AM (#56764070) Homepage Journal

    So the trump administration is going to be the first administration in the past few decades to negotiate de-nuclearization in North Korea without a senior White House science advisor at the table (or even in the administration, right?

    And every other administration for the last few decades has had a senior White House science advisor at the table for such talks, right?

    Well, honestly, every prior administration that negotiated with North Korea got rolled and wound up pouring money, aid on North Korea while they kept working on getting the bomb.

    Do we really need to repeat the failures of prior administrations? Why didn't the presence of a senior White House science advisor prevent all the prior administrations from signing flawed agreements?

    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      So you look at this situation with North Korea, and think "the reason things didn't work in the past was TOO many smart people involved". Given Trump's track record, he's unlikely to sign ANY agreement (see: all other international relations), but I'm sure you'll spin that as a great victory for Trump somehow
  • by Terry Carlino ( 2923311 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @09:33AM (#56764428)

    I work with a lot of physicists. I have three masters degrees myself. There is no such thing a 'scientist' is the sense that there is someone who is qualified advise on nuclear weapons, cybersecurity and AGW. As I said I work with physicist and to many of them think they are competent to speak on any subject, which is of course bollocks.

    If you want to know about nuclear weapons find a nuclear weapons expert, who might be a physicist, but more likely is a nuclear engineer or might even be a historian or a political science major, who has specialize in disarmament and disarmament verification.

    if you want to know about cybersecurity ask a cybersecurity expert. Having a physicist science adviser and asking them about cybersecurity makes as much sense as asking a biologist or a philosopher.

    As for AGW I'm sure there's a propagandist around to give pointers on how to use panic to transfer wealth or you could find someone who knows statistics and model building to explain to the credulous how science really works.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun

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