A world leader with an unusual hairstyle, a penchant for self-promotion and a deep (self) love for the camera is threatening the “fire and fury” of nuclear war. His Asian rival is his mirror image — a man of unpredictable bravado with a dated haircut and his finger on “the button”. Will diplomacy triumph over their irascible temperaments and save the world?
Apocalyptic scenarios are no longer just the stuff of Cold War-inspired Hollywood blockbusters. US President Donald Trump, speaking earlier this week, warned North Korea in language that does not befit the leader of a mature country, let alone a superpower. Worse, senior policy advisers have claimed that Trump’s ultimatum was an “off-the-cuff” remark, and “fire and fury” is a phrase the president often uses in private. North Korea — whose leader, Kim Jong Un, was till recently unchallenged in his eccentricities and lack of diplomatic niceties — has not backed down. After saying that dialogue is not possible with Trump because he is “a guy bereft of reason”, North Korea announced a detailed plan to launch Hwasong-12 rockets that will land off the coast of Guam.
North Korea’s belligerence has increased since UN sanctions were intensified after it tested ballistic missiles earlier this year. A concerted global diplomatic effort is needed to keep its nuclear capabilities in check. That requires a mature US leadership to work with other powers in the region. Trump’s approach seems to be to try and out-shout the rogue communist state, a strategy that doesn’t seem to have been effective in bringing stability and guaranteeing peace. After all, two Jongs don’t make a right.