So there we have it.
You all thought we were heading for some kind of Third World War, a nuclear apocalypse, a conflict leading to the death and destruction of millions of people? Well you can relax…for now.
The despot with the strange haircut, who surrounds himself with lackeys and yes men, who takes a hard-line with those who oppose him and who has threatened death and destruction to parts of the world has agreed to finally meet his nemesis. I am not talking about Trump by the way – but for some there is very little difference between Mr Trump and Mr Kim Jong Un.
Donald Trump has always polarised opinion, particularly with his choice of vocabulary and fairly recently the rhetoric between the North Korean leader and The President of America seemed to reach a point of no return. While Trump referred to Kim as “a madman” and “rocket man”, the North Korean dictator ridiculed the American president by calling him a “dotard,” as the word has been translated by North Korea. It means someone, especially an older person, whose mental capacity has eroded.
This war of words concerned the world, as it did seem, for a while, that one of these men would find their finger pressing a certain red button (I am assuming it’s red – maybe I watch too many films) and annihilating the world as we know it.
Following President Trump’s speech to the UN during which he referred to Mr Kim as a “rocket man” Mr Kim was rightly feeling a little hurt. He said during a nationally televised statement to the North Korean people that Mr Trump had “insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history”.
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me “old,” when I would NEVER call him “short and fat?” Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
Both leaders took a hard line with each other through their choice of words. The world watched, discussed, shouted and then screamed at them to stop. Like two boys in the playground trading insults – most of us could only see it ending up in a physical fight or conflict. However it does now appear that President Trump’s choice of verbal behaviour has paid off. Both men have agreed, in principle at least, to meeting with each other. This would have seemed an impossibility a few months ago, and while we should all rejoice, for the time being, we should also take a small amount of time to reflect on Mr Trump’s methods to make this happen.
There is no doubt that the President has been, is and will probably continue to be, a successful business man. Fair enough he has had some failures and setbacks – but what really successful business person has not? He has oft been criticised for taking an uncompromising, inflexible and single-minded approach to things. This time however should we not applaud, admire and respect the man for his bearing towards North Korea – as it has achieved an historical opportunity for peace?
The words, the language and rhetoric used by Mr Trump have worked. I personally think he is a lot smarter than people give him credit for. Senator, and failed Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, said of Donald Trump “we have the least qualified person to be president in the United States – perhaps in the history of the United States.” Well Mr Sanders no other American President, qualified or not has managed to get to this position with North Korea.
The meeting itself is yet to be fully fleshed out in detail. Where will it take place? What will be the agenda? Will they exchange gifts of some kind? (perhaps special combs?)
I would love to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. Mr Kim does not speak English and President Trump has his own unique take on the language – I really think that the most important person at the meeting will not be the one of the two leaders but the translator. I have of course offered to President Trump and Mr Kim my front room as a neutral location for the meeting. Tea and biscuits will be offered as an ice-breaker. If things go really well I might even offer them both a fish-finger sandwich.
Up until this point, and of course during this gathering, words will be louder and certainly more powerful than actions. It will though be interesting to see what actions come out of the meeting, actions that will have profound consequences for the future of North Korea, America, the future of East Asia and perhaps the World.