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Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in Blog, Essays, General Poker | 7 comments

10 Ways to Tell a Sports Handicapping Service is Dishonest

 

 

When you see ads featuring douchebags driving fancy cars fanning wads of cash surrounded by sexy girls — run in the opposite direction.  They’re all crooks.  Every one of them.  Here’s the truth:  Real sports handicappers don’t call attention to themselves.  Real sports handicappers don’t toss around $100 bills like confetti.  Real sports handicappers don’t hang out in Las Vegas nightclubs.  Real sports handicappers work their asses off — because that’s what it takes to win.

 

It’s that time of year again.

The start of football season means two things.  First, sports gambling ramps up big-time.  Second, an infestation of predators will be hunting for fresh prey.  These predators are known as “sports handicapping services.”

Fortunately for us, dishonest sports handicapping services are easy to spot.  In fact, they make it way too easy.

Here’s some advice that’s never once failed me in my 20-plus years on the sports gambling scene and more than a decade living here in Las Vegas.  That advice is as follows:  When somebody looks and acts like a scumbag, he’s usually a scumbag.

Want to know more of the warning signs?  Okay, let’s do this.  I’ve compiled a list of things to watch out for.  Here are 10 ways to tell a sports handicapping service (also known as “touts” or “sports advisors”) is probably dishonest:

 

[1] When the Handicapper(s) uses a Pseudonym

Any successful sports handicapper should be willing to use his real name in all of his business dealings.  This is especially true when your hard-earned money is involved.  Sure, some handicappers may employ a catchy nickname for marketing purposes, and that’s okay.  But each of us has a legal first and last name.  Anyone who’s honest about what they do for a living should be willing to be known publically.  I’ve discussed this sticky point with some full-time touts who insist they use pseudonyms for legal reasons and/or to maintain privacy.  I call bullshit.  If you can’t take pride in what you do for a living, or you’re uncomfortable with your customers knowing your identity, then you shouldn’t be in the business.  Here’s a question:  Would you take financial advice from someone who doesn’t use his (or her) real identity and instead relies on a fake name?  Of course not.  This should also apply to anyone you trust to provide sports picks.

 

[2] Handicappers Using Phoney Academic Credentials

Over the years I’ve noticed many scumbag handicappers use “Doctor” or “Professor” in their titles.  This would be perfectly fine if they actually had academic credentials — particularly in fields such as statistics, psychology, or some other discipline related to sports gambling.  Fact is, these “doctors” and “professors” are frauds.  They’re liars.  Years ago, a scam-capper who went by the name “Dr.” Ed Horowitz was exposed as a cocaine addict and was found to be a convicted felon.  More recently, “Dr. Bob,” a college dropout who lit up the sports betting scene about a decade ago when he went on a (perhaps random) hot streak which caught the attention of mainstream media, has no doctorate in anything.  He’s still around.  Be careful about who you trust.  Academic titles shouldn’t be slung around loosely with the intent to establish a false credibility so as to fool people.  Academic credentials should be rightfully earned.  No sports advisory service to my knowledge has any doctors of professors working as full-time handicappers.  Perhaps they do exist and if so, they could post a copy of the doctorate at the website.

 

[3] Living a High-Roller Lifestyle

There are legitimate handicappers and honest sports services making a living researching games and then giving out the plays, and perhaps even betting on those picks themselves.  Every single one of them puts in massive numbers of hours.  This is especially true for bona fide sports services that really do care about their clients, which are few and far between.  If you see advertisements (or worse, “reality television” shows or videos) with douchebags posing with fancy cars surrounded by pretty girls, or fanning huge wads of cash — run in the opposite direction.  They’re all crooks.  Shit stains.  Scum.  Every one of them.  Here’s the truth:  Real sports handicappers don’t call attention to themselves.  Real sports handicappers don’t toss around $100 bills like confetti, nor hang out in Las Vegas nightclubs.  Real sports handicappers work their asses off because that’s what it takes to win in this business.

 

[4] Touting Only Recent Win-Loss Results

This is a red flag that screams — scam!  We see this frequently, especially on print ads and all over social media, including Twitter and Facebook.  “We went 8-2 our last 10 plays!  Sign up now!”  So, the service claims that they went 8-2.  So what?  I can flip a coin and it might come up 8 heads and 2 tails (there’s a 3 percent chance of this happening if you flip a coin ten times right now).  But why is the service bragging about only the last ten picks?  What happened the previous 20 picks?  Or previous 50 picks?  You can be absolutely certain — if the service had enjoyed a longer winning streak, they’d be bragging about it.  Fact is, the service might have gone 2-8 the prior week and ended up with a 10-10 overall record.  Minus the usual 10 percent vig plus the service’s subscription fee, congratulations — you’re well on your way to going broke.  All that matters in sports handicapping in the long term.  One day, one week, or even one month is almost meaningless.  Unless a service can provide a legitimate W-L record over a lengthy period (at least a year, and preferably several years), they should be avoided no matter what claims they make.  [One more thought:  A trustworthy service shouldn’t have to constantly brag about themselves — winners become self-evident]

 

[5] Failure to Post Comprehensive Win-Loss Record

This is closely related to the previous red flag.  All handicappers should publically post their comprehensive W-L results.  This is easy for a website to do.  All plays should be archived so that customers and potential new clients can see for themselves how the handicapper has performed.  That said, be careful because many sports services have been caught “scrubbing” their dirty records.   These unscrupulous services appear to maintain an updated listing of all recommended wagers, but they go back later — a few weeks or months afterward — when no one remembers the losing picks.  Then, they scrub away the losses.  Removing ten losses from 100 picks can make a 50-50 coin-flipping handicapper look like a genius since the falsified record would be hitting 56 percent winners.  One very strong indicator to know if a sports service is honest or not is to look carefully for losing streaks and losing seasons.  Oddly enough, this is a somewhat reliable indicator of integrity.  If a sports service has a few losing seasons, but also more winning seasons on their record, that might be worth consideration (provided they don’t have other red flags).  In short, be more inclined to trust a handicapper and/or sports service that admits to bad streaks and losing seasons.

 

[6] Different Levels of Service or Clubs — Based on Price

This is a dirty trick used by most dishonest sports services.  They offer different levels of service for their clients based on the price.  Often, you see “VIP” clubs and other elite offers which presumably provide a higher level of service (which implies better sports picks — but is junk just like the rest of their stuff ).  If I’m relying on someone else’s judgment, I want his best stuff at all times.  This would especially be true if I’m paying for information.  While the time period of a subscription is indeed a legitimate way to categorize clients (giving discounts to those who purchase a full season, rather than one month, for instance), no sports gambler should ever be receiving second-rate plays.  Any service with segregated membership clubs is a scam.  Without exception.  Here’s the reason — it’s playing the odds.  The more clubs a service offers, the better chance one of those clubs will get hot and produce a winning record.  That way, the service can market its best-performing club to future suckers (and ignore the inevitable losing records).

 

[7] Beware of Hype

Here in Las Vegas, several daily and weekly radio shows feature sports handicappers as regular guests.  These “experts” break down games and provide their picks.  While many are worthless so far as value, just about all of them do provide accurate information.  Most public handicappers who appear in major media work very hard to provide analysis, injury updates, and other data which can help the listener to make a solid pick.  Even those who don’t win in the long run can provide valuable insight on a game we may not know otherwise.  Hence, I do respect these handicappers who are willing to share their opinions.  That said, gamblers should avoid the braggarts and screamers.  Beware of so-called “experts” who spend lots of time touring their records and marketing next week’s picks.  YouTube.com is filled with these videos of self-promoting scammers who spend most of the program telling the world how great they are.  Stay away from them, unless you’re looking for a laugh.  Note:  One example of an excellent resource for gamblers is the daily video analysis released by Teddy Sevransky and Pauly Howard HERE.

 

[8] Any Sports Service Promoting a “Game of the …..” is a Fraud

No sporting event is so lopsided that it merits being promoted as a “Game of the Year.”  Yet, we see this garbage advertised all the time.  This is marketing targeted directly at saps and suckers.  Gambling is a long-term endeavor.  Gambling is about percentages.  No game is a lock.  Ever.  The most egregious violation of this “Game of the….(whatever)” is often witnessed early in the football season.  Dishonest sports handicapping services advertise their “Game of the Year,” sometimes even in early September!  How does a service know there won’t be a superior wagering opportunity later in the season, in October, November, or December?  There’s a reason for this and it’s a sure sign of dishonesty:  Scammers know most gamblers still have money early in the football season that will inevitably be lost from week-to-week.  So, they hype early season games to try and take advantage ignorance and desperation.  You will also see the hucksters promote multiple “Games of the Year.”  If you see anything like “Game of the Century” advertised (yes, this is quite common), that service is a scam 100 percent of the time.  These aren’t reliable handicappers.  They are clowns.

 

[9]  Touting Parlays

Parlays are bottom-of-the-barrel traps for chumps and suckers who lose consistently and are desperate to crawl out of the financial hole.  Some sports handicapping services are so vile, they prey on these most vulnerable who believe in the fairy tale of parlays — gamblers who hopelessly need a longshot winner to get back to even.  Hey — it’s tough enough to pick more winners than losers over the long run, let alone make two or more picks on a single betting ticket.  Yet, we often see “side and total” parlays advertised for the biggest games, especially the golden goose of fleecing for the sports handicapping industry, which is Monday Night Football.  Some services even promote 3- and 4-team parlays.  This is insane.  It should be a crime.  I’ve made perhaps 100,000 sports wagers in my life, and I can count on one hand the total number of parlays I’ve bet (they were all weather correlated — like when a hurricane slammed into Florida a few years ago and I bet several games in the region to go under due to rain and high winds).  Parlays are for losers.

 

[10] Beware of Concentration on Sides / Beware of Concentration on High-Profile Games like Monday Night Football

Betting sides (and nothing else) is at best a break-even proposition for 95 percent of all gamblers.  The lines for NFL and most college football games are rock solid.  Oddsmakers don’t make mistakes (or, if they happen — they’re very rare).  Value comes when we have reliable information that’s not widely known nor factored into the line (yet), which is far more common on propositions — such as the number of yards rushing a running back will gain.  There’s also still some value in second-half (halftime) wagering.  In short, the more exotic the wager (betting obscure players, quarters, etc.) the better the chances the number might be off since it’s impossible to calibrate every proposition of every game with complete accuracy.  Incredibly, very few sports handicapping services give out propositions, quarters, first-halves, and so forth.  They focus on numbers that are virtually unbeatable — sides and totals.  There’s a reason for this:  Most sports bettors want to bet on something they understand and can easily follow.  Very few gamblers take the time to consider a rash of cluster injuries along a team’s offensive line which might lead to allowing more sacks.  In such situations, betting OVER the sack total would be a far wiser wager than betting the side.  Again, very few services concentrate on these opportunities.  Similarly, sports services that always give out picks on the most popular games aren’t doing their customers any favors.  Betting values are much more likely to be found on an Arkansas State-Louisiana Lafayette game that almost no one cares about instead of the New England-Green Bay game.  Seriously — do you think a handicapping service knows anything special about a game likely to be watched by 50 million viewers?

 

My conclusions are as follows:  Avoid sports handicapping services.  You can probably pick just as many winners (and losers) as the typical “professional.”  Moreover, if you add in the cost of the service — which can be hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars — making a steady profit is even less likely.

A final word:  I have many friends in the sports handicapping business.  I know many of the biggest names known to most serious sports gamblers.  Some of them are honest.  Many are hard-working.  Most have experienced temporary flashes of profitability which launched their careers as public handicappers and provided some measure of client confidence.  But remember — all glory is fleeting.  Caveat emptor.

 

Disclaimer:  I have publically posted my football picks for more than 20 years.  I have posted more winning seasons than losing seasons.  Over the past five NFL seasons, my pre-game recommendations have been posted on this website.  In more than 1,000 plays, I have a produced a very small profit — but a profit nonetheless.  I have never once sold my picks, nor recommended any sports handicapping service.

 

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Posted by on Aug 26, 2017 in Blog, Essays | 6 comments

Writers on the Storm

 

 

TEXAS HURRICANE IS A FALSE FLAG!

Don’t be fooled by the fake news of a “hurricane.”

There’s no “hurricane.”  It’s a false flag.  

It’s a false flag created by evil Leftist-globalist financier George Soros and his corrupt cronies at CNN to boost ratings.  They want to distract America from President Trump’s fight to #MAGA.

Someone with a Russian-sounding name told me they saw ads were posted on Craigs List. They’re paying $25 an hour for “extras” to stand next to giant wind turbines and get their hair messed up. I heard organizers are spraying the extras with garden hoses, so it looks like they’re standing in the middle of a hurricane. They’re “performance actors,” just like the Leftists who were hired a few weeks in Charlottesville to stir up shit. It’s probably a racket, paid for by Soros.  Someone needs to look into this.

You can’t trust the film footage you see, either.  Notice they always show the same flimsy palm trees blowing?  Palm trees are everywhere — especially in Florida.  Those look a lot like Florida palm trees to me.  Not Texas palm trees.  Florida palm trees.  I’ve got people down in Florida doing an investigation into the origin of those palm trees right now, and you won’t believe that they’re finding.  My theory is — that’s probably stock footage from some other old storm, most likely in Florida.  That’s what I heard.  I’m just saying.  Someone needs to look into this.

I’m also hearing the scenes of that flimsy piece of sheet metal blowing off the empty shed in high winds is fake.  You know the footage I’m talking about.  CNN shows some shackle of a metal shed out in the middle of nowhere, and all the sudden the sheet metal blows off the roof.  Wow!  That really looked real.  Someone needs to look into this.

Listen up.  There’s no way this hurricane is real.  It’s fake.  Fake news.  Seriously, do you think the President would pardon a convicted racist on a Friday evening and then spend the entire weekend on vacation (AGAIN!) if he *really* believed there was a hurricane slamming into a state that he won the in 2016 election?

Hell or high water — NO!!!

Someone really needs to look into this.

Mr. President — you are in my thoughts and prayers.

 

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Posted by on Aug 25, 2017 in Blog, Essays, General Poker | 0 comments

My Review of the New Westgate Poker Room

 

 
When I first heard the Westgate was re-opening their poker room, my initial reaction was — what the hell are they thinking?
 
Poker’s popularity has been flat for quite a while, especially here in Las Vegas where the overall table count has declined and some once-popular rooms have closed their operations entirely.
 
Westgate has boldly decided they’re going to defy all this pessimism and strike out on their own. Poker rooms might be closing down elsewhere, but Westgate is determined to blaze its own trail and become a success, some might say, against the odds.
 
Westgate, which was known for many years as the Las Vegas Hilton (and The International, before that) has experienced a rocky road with poker. The Hilton ran a thriving room back during the 1980’s and even held some big-time poker tournaments. When poker declined in popularity during the 1990’s, the room faded and closed. It remained shuttered for more than a decade.
 
The poker room experienced a short-lived return during the poker boom of 2004-2008, but was still never able to create a much-needed niche in what was then a thriving local poker scene. It closed down again, sometime around 2010.
 
About three years ago, Westgate (the new owners) made a feeble attempt to offer poker once again — but failed. To those familiar with the Las Vegas poker scene, the Westgate had become a dead space. The old alcove that housed the poker room sat dark and empty. It was all but forgotten.
 
Then, completely out of nowhere, Westgate announced a few months ago they were renovating the old poker room, nestled conveniently next to the gargantuan Superbook (race and sportsbook). The Westgate offers one of the biggest and most respected sports gambling operations in the world, so positioning the poker room right next to all the giant screens and a new bar that spans the entire casino floor seems like they’re taking advantage of logistics and timing where the Westgate could be on the verge of a renaissance. This sparks reason for optimism. In short, the poker room is located in a perfect spot — certain to attract casual players hanging out near the bar and sportsbook. That’s essential to gain foot traffic (new business).
 
I made my first visit to the Westgate poker room late on a Thursday night, arriving around 9 pm. The sportsbook was relatively quiet this evening (the sportsbook is usually lively, especially when multiple sports are happening). There was just one poker game — $1-2 No-Limit. This night was expected to be slow (mid-week, just prior to a big fight weekend — so even having one full game was a positive). The max buy-in is $200 — probably a good decision since building a client base with require a fresh crop of novice players (customarily, the max is $300 and higher in some places).
 
The room made a very positive first impression. I approached the front desk and was greeted immediately by the manager, who I would later identify as David Fried. David was very much hands-on and gave me the full layout of the room (he was initially unaware that I’d worked in the industry, and only recognized me later — so the time he took with me would presumably be given to anyone). This made a big impact on me. I really appreciate people who spend time with customers and try and build a clientele, and David impressed me as someone trying to cultivate new clients for the room. Bravo.
 
[Side Note: David, who’s name I recognized from Facebook, has also made several announcements on social media about the new room, including promoting $1-1 Pot-Limit Omaha. I really like a room that tries to build other games. Kudos]
 
The room has about 8 tables (I think), just about the right size since they also offer tournaments. The room is bright (slightly too bright in my opinion, but that’s a matter of taste). For those who like to watch sports while playing poker, this might be the best poker room in the city since there are giant screens located right inside the room, as well as all the excitement just steps away in the sportsbook. This is a wise strategy, to combine the experiences of poker and spectator sports — which is likely to help the Westgate build a player base.
 
Cocktail service was stellar, almost in-your-face. Many poker rooms are considered the stepchild of F/B service, but I saw a cocktail waitress come by about every ten minutes. That’s another big plus. Next time, I have to find out if they freepour Johnny Walker Black (not the Red, which is standard elsewhere).
 
Although my sample size was small (one visit), it appears that Westgate attracts mostly out-of-towners. Based on the table conversation, 7/9 players were with conventions and were staying on property or nearby. This is another positive — who wants to play with grinding rocks with no personality? Indeed, this game was lively, with plenty of conversation. Everyone was drinking a beer.
 
Just a few hands into my poker session, I was dealt pocket aces. I moved all-in, and lost. Boom. There went one buy-in down the shitter. To my surprise, I learned there’s an “aces cracked” promotion. Any player that moves all-in and loses with pocket aces gets $50. This was kinda like getting kicked in the groin and then receiving a kiss. But hey, I’ll take fifty bucks whenever I can get it. Comforting salve applied to the bad beat.
 
One other attribute of the Westgate is the close proximity to parking. The prime parking spot is on the back lot, which is used by sportsbook patrons. I’ve made hundreds of in-and-out visits from this lot to the counters in the book. So, this makes the poker room no more than a one-minute walk from parking. Contrast this convenience with the madhouses of Strip properties and PAID parking, and this is another big plus for Westgate.
 
I give Westgate poker high marks. Building a loyal clientele will surely take some work. There are certain to be down times. However, given casino management’s willingness to go against the tide of perception as to poker’s future in Las Vegas, I have to admire the effort.
 
Congratulations to Westgate’s new poker room and their staff. I wish them much success.
 
Note: I forgot to snap a photo, so I took this one from CardsChat.com
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Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Blog, Essays | 2 comments

My Thoughts on “Southern Heritage”

 

 

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

If you believe a “heritage” that committed traitorous acts against the United States of America costing 620,000 innocent lives during a hellish military struggle that was fought solely to preserve a perverted economic system based solely on keeping people in chains is worth honoring and defending — there’s not just something wrong with your heritage….

There’s something wrong with YOU.

 

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Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 4 comments

Ersatz Experts Spewing Nonsense on North Korea

 

 

Ersatz Experts Spewing Nonsense on North Korea:  

A By-the-Decades Look as to Why the United States Had Few Other Options in Dealing With the World’s Emerging Nuclear Pariah

 

Plenty of ludicrous comments about the North Korean nuclear crisis are floating around social media right now.

They’re being spewed mostly by ersatz experts — petty armchair partisans who have absolutely no clue what they’re talking about.

Some of these crackpot ideas can be dismissed easily and perhaps should even be ignored.  However, given the appalling lack of mainstream knowledge about the unique history of this part of the world, now seems like the perfect occasion to examine things from a broader perspective.  My goal in this article is to try and disprove and then correct this false narrative which I believe undermines any solution to what has become a very dangerous problem.

The most widespread criticism (and naivete) goes as follows:

We should have done something much sooner about North Korea.  

In other words, the United States (with or without its allies) should have taken some decisive measure to deter — if not demolish outright — North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and stymie its intercontinental missile system.  What military action we should have taken precisely, and when exactly, isn’t really clear.  But, we’ll get to these sticky issues a bit later.

President Donald Trump and his legions of imbeciles point an accusatory finger at the previous Administration for the problem.  They claim President Barack Obama (and their favorite punching bag — former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton) didn’t do nearly enough to prevent North Korea from reaching this dangerous apex of military advancement.  Trump’s partisans also accuse other previous presidents, namely George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, of kicking the nuclear tin can down the highway for the next guy to deal with.

At first glance, this complaint might seem to have legitimacy.  However, the claim is demonstrably false and illogical, as I’m about to prove.

Let’s be clear.  The Korean War did not end.  The Korean War even continues to this day.  Sure, the United States (and other UNC forces) stopped fighting way back in July 1953 when a fragile armistice was signed on both sides of what’s now become the DMZ.  However, both North and South Korea are still technically intertwined by hostilities and remain locked in a perpetual state of conflict.  Let’s not project the advantages of our geographic distance away from the conflict (some 6,000 miles) onto a common people divided by politics and ideology who might have to bear the terrible cost of our miscalculations, if things were to spin out of control.

The fragile political and military balance which has existed on the Korean Peninsula for the past 64 years since the last shots were fired is far more complicated today by South Korea’s burgeoning economic success.  This makes them perilously vulnerable to destruction if a war were to break out.  Seoul, which is South Korea’s biggest metropolis, lies exposed only 37 miles from the North Korean border and could probably be wiped out within a half hour if the asinine “fire and fury” ramblings of the President were to come true.

Accordingly, I pose the following questions to those who insist that “we should have done something sooner.

[1]  What precisely should or could have been done to prevent the current crisis?  Please point to the exact year when North Korea should have been invaded by U.S.-led forces with the objective of overthrowing that detestable regime.  Give me WHEN, as in the year.

[2]  Provide details as to how we should have gone about invading North Korea.  Let’s remember, three years of bitter hostilities between 1950-1953 cost nearly 55,000 American lives, and failed to accomplish this objective.  Give me HOW, as in how things would turn out differently the next time.

If you’re drawing a blank, but still want to pin the blame on previous Administrations, then let me provide a historical timeline, by decades.  Allow me to examine some of the alternative options of attack, along with my conclusions:

1950’s — The United States reached the height of its military and economic power and influence during the ’50’s.  Much of the world was either in rebuilding phase after the destruction of World War II, or was in disarray.  However, with so many potential flash points emerging given the spread of communism around the globe (especially in Asia and Latin America), the U.S. could not continue waging the Korean conflict without enormous costs and risks, especially with Red China backing the Northern side with both military support and manpower.  Conclusion:  The U.S. had already tried to unite the two divided Koreas, but failed.

1960’s — As things turned out, the United States did engage in a catastrophic land war in Asia lasting nearly a decade, but it wasn’t in Korea.  It was Vietnam.  That costly war resulted in the loss of 57,000 American lives and ended in defeat.  We found out that the old conventional ways of fighting wars didn’t work as well anymore, particularly in jungles and among cultures we didn’t understand.  Conclusion:  If anyone thought invading North Korea would be easy, just remember what happened in Vietnam.

1970’s — Had the United States foolishly launched an attempt to invade North Korea during the 1970’s, the consequences could have been disastrous.  Detente (the world’s first nuclear arms agreement between the US and USSR) would certainly not have taken place.  Moreover, President Richard Nixon’s opening of diplomatic and trade relations with the People’s Republic of China would clearly not have happened, at least until many years later.  An invasion of North Korea might have brought the world to the brink of World War III, instead of being a period of peaceful transition and successful diplomacy.  Later, the downfall of the Shah of Iran in 1978 would also lead to an entirely new regional conflict for America.  Conclusion:  There’s no way the US would have invaded North Korea after its bitter experience in Vietnam.  

1980’s — The Reagan-Bush years brought an era of tough talk, but turned out to be a relatively peaceful period.  By decade’s end, many once-hostile governments to the West had been overthrown (the USSR and most communist governments of Eastern Europe collapsed by 1990).  There were genuine reasons for optimism that China, too, might undergo a revolution.  Recall Tiananmen Square.  Predictions of communism’s implosion even extended to North Korea.  Given so much of its military and economic support had come directly from the USSR and PRC (both in a state of flux), many experts thought it was just a matter of time before hardliners in North Korea met the same fate of other dictators, such as Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu, a Kim Il-sung protege who was shot after being overthrown in a mass uprising.  Conclusion:  Once again, there was no compelling reason to invade North Korea at the time, given the events happening throughout the world which were very good for democracy.

1990’s — In the aftermath of communism’s collapse in many countries, it seemed that either one of two things would happen in North Korea:  (1) It would experience its own revolution, or (2) Kim Il-sung, who had been the country’s only premier since its inception in 1948, would finally die and be replaced by a more moderate leader.  “Dear Leader” did indeed die in 1994, and for a time, even though he was replaced by his son Kim Jong-il, it did appear that North Korea might be moving towards reform.  For instance, the North Koreans signed a new disarmament agreement, a first for the regime.  The country also experienced a terrible famine lasting four years that killed over a million citizens, leading many to believe the regime would not be able to stay in power much longer.  Conclusion:  Though North Korea was arguably at its weakest point ever during this decade, it remains hard to justify why an invasion and/or overthrow of the government would have been necessary.

2000’s — America’s vision of the world and its future changed completely on 9/11/01.  In light of the worst attack on the U.S. since Pearl Harbor, the national focus pivoted to the Middle East, not Asia.  Military units were dispatched to Afghanistan, and later to Iraq (under false pretenses that should have been prosecuted).  Those two pointless wars stretched our military capabilities to their limit.  Hence, while it’s easy now to blame the Bush Administration and ask why something wasn’t done about North Korea, perhaps the better question to ask would be what was the whole point of waging two trillion-dollar wars with no end in sight in the Middle East?  In 2002, North Korea pulled out of the non-nuclear proliferation agreement it had previously signed.  Conclusion:  The U.S. already had its hands full with two brutal wars in the Middle East, threats of domestic terrorism, and couldn’t afford another major war in Asia.

2010 — present — President Obama inherited two of the longest-lasting wars in American history as well as the worst economy since the Great Depression.  By 2012, Egypt had been overthrown, Libya fell and exploded into chaos, the Syrian Civil War began, and ISIS was formed.  Iran also ramped up its nuclear ambitions (which were suspended following successful negotiations resulting in the Iran Nuclear Deal — which appears to be working).  Given all the attention on the Middle East and the emerging scourge of global terrorism, just how or where the United States could have possibly come up with the money or manpower to overthrow another nation which up to this point had been contained for six decades is anyone’s guess.  Conclusion:  Simply put, anyone who looks back at the events of the past eight years and still insists the U.S. should have invaded North Korea has to show where was the imminent danger and where the money and manpower would have come from.

Naturally, hindsight is far easier than foresight.  Anyone can boldly claim now what should have been done earlier.  But even if we knew back then what we know today, I’m still perplexed as to when any previous Administration could have opted for a successful military option in dealing with North Korea.  Again, if anyone thinks otherwise — please point to the precise year and exact means of producing regime change.  Propose an alternative.  I’m all ears.

The bottom line is this:  There never was a good time to invade North Korea nor to overthrow any of the three Kim regimes.  The current state of affairs — a North Korea with nukes — was probably even inevitable given so many other international conflicts and priorities, combined with our painfully naive exaggeration of supposed American military superiority.  Any belief that North Korea could be defeated easily is folly, proven by our dismal past failure in Vietnam and the continuing costly military stalemate in Afghanistan which appears to have no end.

 

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