Donald Trump has been playing a dangerous game with his counterpart in North Korea, Kim Jong-un. On one side is a wannabe strong man who — if it weren’t for the checks and balances of the US government — would abuse his power with no conscience. On the other is an actual dictator who brutally oppresses his people.
In remarks about North Korea’s menacing nuclear tests, Trump promised to rain “fire and fury” upon the isolated nation, a threat of war that stunned US military leadership. Before the UN, Trump promised to “destroy North Korea” and derided Kim Jong-un as “rocket man,” deploying his familiarly infantile form bullying on the international stage.
This war of words is dangerous. While there are no easy solutions to the tension between US allies and North Korea, experts agree that spiraling toward full armed conflict or, worse, a nuclear one, would be catastrophic for all sides involved.
It is, perhaps, with this in mind that the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
The Nobel committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen applauded ICAN’s “groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty prohibition” on the development, testing, and use of nuclear weapons. Explaining the committee’s rationale, she remarked that “we live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time.”
This seems like a not-too-subtle jab at the current US president, whose bombast and irrationality have brought humiliation upon the United States and – even more sinisterly – has made the world more precarious and less safe.