A couple of days ago, as he was giving his debut address to the United Nations, Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” and went on to ridicule the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, by referring to him as “rocket man”.
I ask you, what kind of language is that for a President to use? It’s certainly not what Barack Obama would’ve used.
Now the North Korean Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-ho, has witheringly described Trump’s threat as “the sound of a dog barking”, referring to a Korean proverb that says that the marching goes on even when dogs bark.
In all this rhetoric, one question bothers me: did Trump mean what he said, or was he just trying to put the frighteners on Kim Jong-un?
If he meant what he said – that he would “totally destroy North Korea” – we should all be afraid; very afraid.
If he was just trying to scare Kim Jong-un into ceasing his nuclear testing, I doubt the leader of North Korea is that easily scared. Even his Foreign Minister said, in reference to the ‘rocket man’ epithet: “I feel sorry for his aides.” He also reminded reporters that, in Korean, a dog dream is one that makes little sense.
We may feel that this is ‘an American problem’; that Trump and the North Koreans should just carry on slagging each other off until they are exhausted.
The trouble is, it isn’t. Which is why I think we should all be very afraid.