Say this for Donald Trump — if he does bring on nuclear apocalypse, at least he made it funny. Every amateur Freudian with a media platform is now dissecting his latest ‘mine is bigger than yours’ exchange with Kim Jong-Un, perhaps not realising that the joke is on them. Here is what Trump tweeted:
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
It may make people feel clever to say how stupid that tweet is. But, as always with Trump, one should try read behind the idiocy. Ignore the sheer silliness, try to get your head round the fact this man is leader of the free world, and you can see that Trump is not in fact bragging about his manhood or even the extent of his military power. He was emphasising that, unlike earlier presidents, his crazier-than-thou approach to Pyongyang is bearing fruit. As he tweeted earlier:
Sanctions and “other” pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea. Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not – we will see!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
The ‘other pressures’ he is referring to are his bellicose Twitter voice and his regional diplomacy, chiefly his pressuring of China to be the responsible superpower and sort out the North Korea problem ‘or I will’. And he may well be right: North Korea has indeed opened up a hotline to South Korea. And Beijing has indeed exerted more pressure on its only treaty ally to bend to Trump’s will.
Trump’s Twitter diplomacy seems to be working. It is certainly very dangerous to play diplomatic chicken on social media and taunt violent dictators with nuclear brags. But it is not as foolish as everyone thinks.