Tough talk has consequences

What are the consequences of Donald Trump’s boorish behavior? His uncontrolled mouth? In his first 200 days in office, our president’s pen and mouth have affected mostly domestic issues, such as health care and immigration. Additionally, the leaders of most nations overseas quickly recognized him as an incompetent fool, dismissed the United States as a worthy ally, and moved on.

But now, the tough-talking schoolyard bully who occupies our White House might have met his match in Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, who from the first, saw that he could manipulate this new American president like a marionette, and that’s what he’s doing by ramping up his country’s nuclear arsenal and firing off several test rockets to threaten us.

We might have expected Trump to respond with bluster, and he did, publicly warning that further threats by North Korea would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Tough talk. North Korea responded by threatening to wrap Guam in “an enveloping fire.” Guam is home to an important U.S. Air Force base from which American strategic bombers have flown in a show of force over Korea. The New York Times reports this statement from North Korea’s People’s Army: “it is a daydream for the U.S. to think that its mainland is an invulnerable Heavenly kingdom.”

Invulnerable? Not any more. Now that these two nation’s leaders have taken the diplomatic gloves off, so to speak, are we feeling invulnerable? Well, no. President Trump has made clear that he doesn’t have a clue about nuclear weapons and the unspeakable consequences of their use. The United States has considerable nuclear power at its disposal, but the point of having it is not to use it. A strong nuclear arsenal is a powerful deterrent to war. Using it is unthinkable.

If Trump wanted a distraction from the investigations into his connections with Russia, he has found it. With his mouth he has chosen the most unwise approach possible to North Korea’s threats and placed us all in greater danger. Tough talk by one person can have consequences for millions. Lord help us.

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