For decades North Korea has crafted a delicate balance, building a nuclear capability while promoting nationalism to perpetuate the Kim Jong-un regime. American Presidents during those years were willing to accept the status quo which was preferable to a military confrontation. Even with conventional weapons, , on a first strike North Korea could kill up to a million people in Seoul, only a few dozen miles from the DMZ. That potential has held the world hostage all these years.
Pressure on North Korea’s trading partners, particularly China, to enact stiff sanctions on North Korea has, until recently, been futile. Here China holds the U.S. hostage, owning a portion of our debt and more significantly knowing the American public’s insatiable demand for cheap imported goods would prevail over any economic retaliation against China. China was content to have North Korea as a buffer zone until it, too, has been startled by NK’s nuclear ambitions.
Indeed, a delicate balance, and then Trump’s opening day message at the United Nations, where he threatened to “totally destroy North Korea.” We all know what that is code for – the use of nuclear weapons. An American President has said he would use this country’s nuclear force as a first strike.
Unthinkable. There were so many other ways to signal our resolve, to further pressure North Korea to the negotiating table. He went on to call Kim Jong-un ‘Rocket Man,’ --in front of the United Nations, schoolyard name-calling. Then, further undermining the dignity of the Office of the Presidency, he continued those threats and name-calling in Tweets.
Surprise. Tensions have ratcheted up, Kim Jong-un responding with new threats, including testing a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific. Unlikely, but to even utter that is giving as good as one gets.
There has been much criticism levied at Trump for worsening an already incendiary environment between the two countries, so what does he do? -- he turns on the NFL. He has a reptilian instinct for survival. In so doing, he wrapped himself in the flag, the one that belongs to us all. “Fire the sons of bitches” referring to NFL players who went to one knee during the playing of the National Anthem.
I come from a generation which would never do that, but I would defend another person’s right to protest that way over such weighty issues as “Black Lives Matter.” Of course all lives matter in this country and to be born black should not be an impediment, but look where Trump brought President Obama – to the point of producing his birth certificate to prove his legitimacy as the President. If Obama was white, no such argument would have been made.
Now, if anyone is an illegitimate President, it is Trump. And he knows it -- how he got to be President, by his actions and Russia’s and astonishingly by those of the head of the FBI. Even his ignorance of American history, and his divisiveness seemed to work in his favor. He did not win by popular vote and although some of his marginal supporters say they would not vote for him now, he still has a solid 30 -35% base enamored by his strong-arm tactics, convinced he can do no wrong. And it is HE who is holding the rest of America hostage.
He knows his tenure as President is precarious, with the possibility of impeachment or the invocation of the 25th amendment, which provides for the removal of the President if “disabled” and unable to perform the duties of the office. One could argue that we are already there, but it is a high bar to achieve and it has to be set in motion by the Vice President and ultimately have the backing of 2/3 of Congress if the President objects.
With his pathetic response to the Charlottesville show of power by white supremacist groups and his attack on NFL players, mostly black (although he disavows that as being an issue), he dog whistles to his hard-core followers, many probably NRA diehards, and thereby creates a hostage situation. I can see clearly, now, the “strategy:” “remove me as your President and suffer the consequences of a new Civil War. “ He has his army, he has the means of communication, he exhibits sociopathic thinking, and his politics of divisiveness have created such an environment. He would even risk nuclear war.
So, North Korea holds the world hostage, China holds us hostage, and Trump holds the majority of the American people hostage. Never has there been such a President who disrespects the very ideals which makes the American flag so sacred. He has done more than take a metaphoric knee to fortify his fragile ego.