If I presented the following conversation to you, who would you say is the crazy one?
- Person A (to person B) – I’ve been starving my people for years and committing various other human rights atrocities so that I could develop some nukes – and now I’m ready to launch them at you for no particular reason!
- Person B (to person A) – I’d reconsider if I were you. Launch anything at me and I’ll unleash the kind of fire and fury that’ll blow both your mind and you away!
Only people suffering some form of intellectual atrophy would think that person B is the crazy one in the above situation… Or so I thought until I saw this pupu platter deluxe served up by no less than The Australian over the last two days:
North Korea crisis: Kim has called Trump’s bluff
It took North Korea’s Kim Jong-un one day to call Donald Trump’s bluff.
Earlier this week, in some of the most extraordinary public comments made by a US president, Trump threatened nuclear war with Kim if he made “any more threats” to the US.
[TMR: Where exactly was Trump’s threat of nuclear war? #ridiculouslyfakenews]
It is bizarre that the American President should want to get into a braggadocio contest with the bouffant Stalinist of Pyongyang.
But you can’t outbid the communist royal family of North Korea for demented rhetoric.
[TMR: Seriously, could Greg Sheridan have been more hyperbolic?].
So the next day the North Korean government dismissed Trump’s threats as “a load of nonsense” and threatened general hellfire and damnation against the Americans, but added a quite specific threat. By the middle of this month, it would have finished a detailed plan to fire four missiles into the waters around the American Pacific territory of Guam and produce a wall of fire.
As North warns of missile plan, US-South Korea wargames near
Annual US and South Korean military exercises involving around 40,000 troops will start in less than two weeks. Could the timing be any worse?
[TMR: What are they supposed to do: cancel the exercises?].
Is Donald Trump pursuing a deliberate Richard Nixon-style “madman” strategy in his comments on North Korea?
Even Steve Price (who still appears to be suffering some leftover jungle fever) and Andrew Clennell (filling in for Andrew Bolt) managed to dribble the following gold-class nonsense the other night on 2GB:
SP: The world is also on edge tonight as the United States and North Korea shape up over missile threats. I’ll play for you in a moment, Andrew (Clennell) and I, the comment from Donald Trump today – and if it doesn’t make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up then I don’t know what will.
At 5:00 (with Andrew Clennell):
SP: …it’s unbelievable, we’ve got no leadership in this country.
AC: Would you rather have Donald Trump?
SP: I’m not sure, let’s have a listen to Donald Trump. Now how did you feel when you first heard this?
AC: Uh, uh, first thing this morning… pretty nervous.
SP: This is Donald Trump talking about threats from North Korea… (plays tape of Donald Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ comments).
SP: Wow, that is, uh, that is frightening. Today, there is a particular reason why that’s even more frightening: the date today.
AC: I told you just before, it’s the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of 1945.
SP: August 9, 1945, the Americans dropped the only ever atomic weapons and they dropped them on Japan. This day back in 1945.
[TMR: How is this relevant in any way?].
AC: How bizarre but, um, look, I mean, just think back to that – what I heard this morning I was was pretty shocked to be honest because he clearly means a nuclear attack, [TMR: Does he? #moreutterlyfakenews] um, but listening back I just sort of think middle Amercians sort of love hearing that. He may well hopefully have no intention of doing that, but middle America will lap it up, he’s a strong, tough leader – a bloke that unlike our politicians here does depart from the script. But aside from that, it’s a real concern. The concern that we all have is that: is this guy sane? Is he so impulsive that he’ll do something crazy because he has the power to? And Hillary Clinton used to warn about it with him, but we didn’t take it seriously.
[TMR: Yes, you’re reading that right: that’s Andrew Clennell talking about Trump’s sanity – and not Un’s – there. And, if you support Trump’s comments, it would appear that Clennell thinks you’re a deplorable that should have listened to Hillary].
I still think not, but, um, I think that rhetoric is a bit over the top and frightening.
SP: I think the Americans have got levels of control built into their political system that an individual would not be able to go and do something like that.
AC: You can’t just push the button?
SP: I don’t think so. That’s what people would like you to believe. But there would be so many different levels of getting to that point – advice from the military, advice from the CIA, advice from colleagues, you know, in congress.
AC: This is really interesting, can’t he just ignore the advice?
AC: He’s the president of the United States!
SP: I wouldn’t have thought so, Andrew. There would be built in, someone else would have one bit of the code. It would not just be him walking around with the paper in his pocket going 8, 9, 7, 6, 4… bang!
AC: But you can’t just refuse. You get a direct order from the commander in chief?
SP: I’m sure there would be people who would counsel him not to do that. He’s now got a five star general as his chief of staff. Do you think that bloke’s gonna let him do that?
AC: The other problem is that, now that he’s said it, how does he climb down from it?
[TMR: Do these two grown men, with allegedly functioning brains, really think that Trump would indiscriminately nuke North Korea purely as an ‘impulse’? And why is the default position that Trump has to ‘climb down’? Who’s the real nutbag in this situation?].
SP: Have you watched the West Wing, where the chief of staff’s got more power than the president?
[TMR: Ladies and gentlemen… I present to you… Steve Price!!!].
AC: This Kim Jong Un stuff, it’s got a real feel for me like the Saddam Hussein WMD stuff. Empty threats. I know we get reports they might have nuclear warheads, but we had all these reports about chemical weapons in Iraq. I’m not convinced. They can’t even fire missiles properly can they?
[TMR: How on Earth is this situation anything like Iraq?].
Thankfully, the first caller into the show managed to successfully remind Steve and Andrew what people in the real world are thinking:
At 11:30 (Maurice in Templestone):
I’m nonplussed by your logic here. I mean, North Korea has been threatening South Korea and Japan for twenty or thirty years and successive governments have kicked the can down the road.
… Now North Korea’s threatening to nuke the United States. I’m totally in support of Donald Trump.
SP: North Korea’s not threatening to nuke the United States. We don’t know whether they’ve got the capability and most people suggest they don’t yet. They’ve threatened to send a missile to Guam, which is a US military base.
[TMR: Isn’t it funny how Trump’s words are considered a definite, credible threat of nuclear war, while Un’s words and actions aren’t?].
Maurice: Isn’t Guam a United States territory?
SP: When you say they’ve threatened to nuke the United States, that is a rhetoric you don’t need to have. That’s trying to suggest that they’re gonna put a nuclear weapon into LA or New York or Washington or something.
[TMR: It seems that Price now thinks that the people of Los Angeles, New York and Washington are more equal than the people of Guam].
Maurice: I think if you look back over the record of the last 12 months or so that they’ve actually threatened to do that. I think what should have been done is that North Korea’s nuclear capabilities should have been taken out by conventional weapons.
SP: I agree.
AC: That makes a lot of sense Maurice yeah.
SP: I agree with that completely. But I mean, the point I just made about the South Koreans is there’s a population of 10 million or so sitting there within the range of conventional weapons that the North Koreans possess. We’re not gonna put them at risk by a pre-emptive strike on North Korea if North Korea can fire back and destroy South Korea.
So, let’s do our best to sum up Price and Clennell’s performance:
- Initially, they start out saying how scared and frightened they are – because of Trump’s words.
- Then, when talking to the caller, they appear to change tack and say that North Korea is simply an empty threat and isn’t really threatening to nuke the United States.
- Despite North Korea being an ’empty threat’, Trump still makes them nervous because he might still nuke North Korea just because he feels like it – although Price is hoping that Trump’s ‘West Wing’ chief of staff has more power than Trump and can stop him.
- When the caller suggests that North Korea’s nuclear capabilities should have been taken out by conventional weapons long ago, Price and Clennell quickly agree that this should have been done – as if this couldn’t possibly be what Trump is now trying to organise and as if such action wouldn’t cause even more tension than Trump’s recent comments (which have made them so ‘nervous’).
- Price then wraps things up by going back in the other direction by saying that pre-emptive strikes on North Korea shouldn’t happen because North Korea’s conventional weapons are scary – particularly for South Koreans.
If you’re mystified as to what on Earth Price and Clennell were on
about, you’re not alone. Suffice to say, I think we can all sleep comfortably at night knowing that Price and Clennell aren’t paid military and geopolitical strategists.
That aside, did you also notice how neither Price nor Clennell questioned Un’s sanity or critiqued his actions at any stage – but were happy to spend plenty of time doing both in respect of Trump. Why is that? Was it really that hard to pick the good guy and the bad guy in this situation?
Guys, here’s a tip: try to think things through when it comes to issues like this before articulating your thoughts. It might just save you from the kind of public embarrassment you’ve subjected yourselves to above.
Regardless of whether you take Un’s threats seriously (I personally don’t – but I’m really just guessing here), what else would you have expected Trump to say in response to Un’s latest nuclear threats? Was he supposed to ignore Un? Or perhaps dribble some scripted, vanilla response – and let Un keep raising the bar until he gets the attention he’s looking for?
For all those out there criticising Trump on this issue, what better plan of action do you have to offer?
Since when did so many in our society become such meek, self-loathing cowards to the point where they would choose to attack Trump instead of Un in this situation?
PS: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but good on Bill Shorten for being spot on:
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said it was the “bellicose and provocative actions” of the North Korean dictatorship, and not Mr Trump’s rhetoric, which was of “big concern”.
“I and the government share the same concerns and the same views, and Australians should be reassured that on this matter of North Korea and our national security, the politics of Labor and Liberal are working absolutely together,” the Opposition Leader said.
“What we all need to do is be concentrating on encouraging North Korea to de-escalate. I think there is an important role for China to play here and of course we rely upon leadership from the United States. There are other nations which are much more affected than Australia, including of course the Republic of Korea and Japan, and neighbouring nations to North Korea.”
(H/T to Steve Kates for initially posting this comment).