It’s mildly amusing to witness the back and forth between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un. Until, of course, you realize they both have nuclear arsenals. The U.S.’s potent nuclear weapons could, in fact, “totally destroy” North Korea as Trump threatened he might do at some point. North Korea’s capabilities grow by the weeks and months.
In his speech last week at the United Nations, Trump referred to Kim as the “Rocket Man,” just as he had tweeted a few days before. Although he undoubtedly thought he was cleverly attacking Kim, there’s no doubt in my mind that the North Korea leader felt a rush when he heard Trump. That’s exactly what Kim has always wanted – to be recognized as “a player” on the world stage. Someone with rockets.
But not to be outdone, Kim lobbed one back at Trump calling him a “mentally deranged dotard,” which sent us to google what exactly is a “dotard?” The first internet hit tells us a dotard is “an old person, especially one who has become weak or senile.” For example, a speech by a world leader referring repeatedly to the African country Namibia as “Nambia” would fit the bill, just like Trump did last week.
Trump wanted the last word and tweeted back that Kim is “obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people.”
Now Kim is looking at detonating a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.
Trump has made it a career to divide and concur. Whether it’s in producing his reality show The Apprentice or setting up his staff to duels in the Whitehouse, he loves to pit people against each other. He was at it again on Thursday declaring that China had taken a “very bold” move in ordering its banks to stop trading with Kim’s regime. Just one problem – a spokesman for China quickly said that Trump’s comments are not “consistent with the facts.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s urging “hot heads” to calm down. When China and Russia are looking like the grown-ups in the room, we know how bad the situation has become.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s speech at the UN was described in some news reports as “out of step” with other leaders who were trying to outdo each other with grandiose views of world problems. The inside baseball 30-minute speech was mostly about Canada’s bad treatment of its Indigenous people.
Perhaps that came across bland and boring amidst the childish back and forth pugilism of Trump and Kim, but sometimes keeping your head down while you walk by insanity gives you the distance to come back as an honest broker.
Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself, but I hope that that was the strategy. Trudeau skillfully avoided being dragged into commenting on the raging tit-for-tat saying: “As always I will pay close attention to what our American friends and neighbours have to say…But it’s not my job to opine.”
Fair enough. But now that both North Korea and the U.S. are firmly entrenched in their war of words, Canada is perfectly positioned to make its move behind the scenes to end this madness before it ends us.