Wouldn’t you know it, the exact moment Kim Jong Un decides to go full “James Bond villain” is the same moment the radioactive can kicked down the road by successive administrations came to rest at the feet of a guy who — to put it mildly — lacks compunction. This little tableau couldn’t look more perfect for the war machine and its engineers if they had set it themselves.
Not that I necessarily subscribe to the idea of a globalist cabal ensuring that the right people fit into the right jobs at the right time to ensure that large-scale slaughters continue apace, but man, if the shoe fits. President Bill Clinton’s “throw money at them until they go away” program led to President George W. Bush’s “’Axis of Evil’ backhands thrown in behind obsessive pursuit of strife in the Mideast’” led to President Barack Obama’s “strategic patience;” a strategy he and his minions — including failed presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — referred to as “diplomacy,” and the rest of us refer to as “whistling past the graveyard.” And now, say hello to President Donald R. Trump, the guy who responds to Kim’s increasingly vicious saber-rattling by whipping out his own sword and loudly proclaiming his to be the biggest and baddest.
This week, the world learned that not only is Kim still a gibbering lunatic who threatens the world with nuclear conflagration, his armorers have figured out how to put the “nuke” in “nuclear.” North Korea’s nuclear weapons program hasn’t exactly been on the down low, but the news that they’ve reached the door to the ICBM club came as an unpleasant surprise. While it’s unclear if the Kim regime has developed a missile that can actually do the job, what is clear is that they’re pretty close. And Kim, being Kim, couldn’t resist the opportunity to bray like a jackass about it, and how it dovetails nicely with his refusal to accept the latest round of sanctions imposed on him with the assent of North Korea’s big brother, China. Of course, Trump, being Trump, couldn’t resist the opportunity to spit at Asia’s least-loved loser, promising “fire and fury,” should Kim continue yapping.
I don’t necessarily think Armageddon is on the calendar just yet. There are quite a few hoops to leap through before we can light up Kim’s life. Our allies in the region will probably want to be consulted, especially considering Kim repeatedly mentions them on his personal hit list. The Chinese may well have relented on the sanctions front, but they’re used to shenanigans involving whichever insane hamster with a bad haircut owns North Korea. They haven’t seen fully mobilized North Koreans for nearly 65 years, and they were on the same side back then. It’s possible their support of sanctions might signal a willingness do more. Since the bromance between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin turned out to be more Democrat fantasy than real life, dropping ordinance so close to the Motherland might spark a fire of its own, although their own yes vote on the latest sanctions suggests they too might be tired of lil’ Kim’s dog and pony show. There’s also the possibility that the North Korean people themselves might get tired of literally surviving on grass and twigs while Kim parties like a rockstar. And that pales in comparison to the looming threat of a breathtaking loss of life that would almost certainly accompany a shooting war on the Korean peninsula, or anywhere in Asia, no matter who “wins.” If Kim is crazy enough to open fire, he’s crazy enough to keep firing until he wins, or he dies. The difference between the former and the latter will be measured in tens — if not hundreds — of millions of lives.
To be fair, Trump has routinely defied expectations. While he remains pretty far down the list of people I’d prefer had their finger on “the button” under the current circumstances, he has managed to do a fairly solid job in the Oval Office so far, leftist conspiracy theories notwithstanding. Clearly, the previous methods of dealing with Kim haven’t worked, unless you’re in the war biz, in which case, they’ve worked swimmingly. Maybe Trump is the right person fit into the right job at the right time. The question, of course, is how one defines “right.”
— Ben Crystal