As a young Marine, I was taught an important lesson about how to address concerns I had about an objective from a senior corporal that was too salty to mince words.

“Presenting a problem without a solution isn’t helping, it’s bitching.”

He was right — it’s easy to look for issues in a plan and bandy them about with a superior tone, but it’s much more difficult to assess a problem and come up with ways to resolve it. The thing is, if giving up and packing it in isn’t an option, the only alternative is solving the problem, so identifying one is really only half of the equation. Your suggested solutions don’t have to be the right answer, you just need to be invested in finding it, hence the importance of presenting problems to your commander alongside a few possible solutions.

Your leaders may accept your suggestions, or they may present suggestions of their own, but simply raising your hand and shouting, “this won’t work!” isn’t a valuable part of the discourse. If anything, it’s a distraction from the people that aren’t content to simply fail without trying.

Up to this point, I’d imagine that most people agree that simply nay-saying an endeavor does nothing of value outside of providing the complainer with a cathartic outlet for their pouting inner child, but here’s where I may lose you: that’s basically how the American media (and as a result, the American public) have approached the last year of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

As tensions ratcheted up and Trump exchanged quips with Kim Jong Un that reminded me of my childhood years watching Hulk Hogan call people names and threaten annihilation, the media announced that Trump was delivering the United States into the fiery hands of nuclear war. Then, as tensions ratcheted back down, those same outlets and the masses of folks that repackage headlines as their own opinions on social media changed course and instead began announcing that talking with Kim “was letting him win.”

Think pieces and op-eds, analysis articles and pseudo-news, all suggesting that Donald Trump had somehow played into the expert hands of Kim Jong Un by agreeing to engage in a discussion about avoiding what defense experts agree would be the bloodiest war in recent history.

I get that lots of people seem to think that talking to Kim is a real problem. I just haven’t seen any bright ideas being offered as an alternative.