When we think about factions shooting at each other and terrorizing the innocent without remorse, we think of street gangs. Gang members pop off gunshots in the direction of their rivals as much with the intent of causing fear as trying to hit anyone whom they feel “disrespected” them.
Gangs, to perpetuate respect, continually attempt to prove they deserve to be feared. In the mind of a gang member, fear equals being respected.
Of course, shooting indiscriminately deserves no respect. But gang members, for as long as I can remember, create their need for honor and to be feared by disrupting the public’s need for safety. This is the logic of a simple-minded, if not emotionally primitive population.
It is hard to imagine a head of a country possessing a more self-absorbed, egotistical and self-serving bully personality than North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
It is clear Kim’s objective has been to perpetuate the fear of an imminent U.S. threat to sustain his role as dictator, but Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton would not bite.
And then came along Donald Trump, chosen by an unwise and immature American electorate, who selected the reality show version of Kim to lead our nation.
Playing out before our eyes is the Battle of the Bullies, made for our consumption and commercial free.
Who will stand up to the threats of the other? Which regime deserves more honor? Which bully will back down first? Who is to be feared the most?
The Trump-Kim contest is clearly a battle of egos and “respect,” i.e. a battle for which leader is to be feared the most.
So what if threats escalate to counter-threats. We know that no threats will amount to any meaningful actions. Neither country is interested in triggering a war and invasion in the Korean peninsula. We all know this is pure entertainment – a fake war of words.
But Trump and Kim are locked in a cycle of threats and counterthreats not typical of mature and thoughtful national leaders.
The only path to end the North Korean dictatorship is through China. China needs a cheap local source of raw materials and labor under its control and a buffer to the very successful capitalistic South Korean economy. China will not let North Korea falter.
Trump nevertheless seems overly eager to engage in this new game show of vacant words. Trump is unable to resist any opportunity to bluster about our military prowess. Plus, this bullying battle offers a new form of distraction to the ongoing Russian collusion investigation.
It is sad that our president is enraptured with engaging 33-year-old Kim, who murders members of his own family, promotes imaginary threats, and wrings his people dry of wealth to maintain power. North Korea is not worthy of a great nation’s attention and focus.
Trump’s stated objective seems to be to not let North Korea threaten us. His chosen methodology at this point is to threaten North Korea in order to stop it from issuing new challenges.
How absurd. Any fool knows a bully threatening another bully to stop the bullying goes nowhere.
Trump is playing right into Kim’s hands. Trump has already lost this war of nonsense and this distraction does nothing to stop Special Counsel Robert Mueller from digging up and eventually prosecuting close Trump allies.
The big picture is this: little bully wants to keep his job and the best way for him to stay in power is to threaten big bully. Big bully, to promote a sense of national pride and core voter support, needs to yell back and not let little bully go unchallenged.
Trump’s responses have promoted Kim’s desire to keep his power and bolster national prestige. Kim had already won this war of vacant threats and The Donald is looking more foolish by the day due to his willingness to continue to jump in the mud with Kim.
That is why this little skit could last at least another year or more.
In the meantime, a new national health care plan, tax reform, reducing the national debt, rebuilding our military, rebuilding our infrastructure to include dams, roads, bridges, and the electric grid, strengthening the economy, ending regulations that hurt business, creating immigration reform, reducing fraud in government, leveling the balance of trade with China, Mexico, and the European Union, fighting the opioid epidemic, draining the swamp in Washington, and making America great again will have to wait.
Jonathan Kraut directs private investigations and private security firms, is a published author, Democratic Party activist, and SCV Interfaith Council member. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.