Dear Commons Community,
New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, comments today on the two bullies, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, as they rattle their sabers at each other trying to get the other to blink. We are not sure how this will play out but most of humanity is concerned because each bully has his finger on nuclear weapons. Here is an excerpt from Dowd’s column:
“Watching Trump, 71, and Kim, 33, trade taunts is particularly disturbing because they mirror each other in so many unhinged ways. Trump is a democratically elected strongman and Kim is a fratricidal despot, but they both live in bizarro fantasy worlds where lying and cheating is the norm.
They’re both spoiled scions who surpassed less ruthless older brothers to join their authoritarian fathers in the family business. They both make strange fashion statements with their hair and enjoy bullying and hyperbole. They both love military parades, expect “Dear Leader” displays of fawning and favor McDonald’s and Madonna.
They both demand allegiance. When Trump feels he isn’t getting it or paranoia takes over, he publicly mocks his lieutenants or jettisons them. Kim simply gets out his antiaircraft machine guns and calls up his nerve-agent assassins. He had his uncle killed for, among the reasons, clapping halfheartedly, The Times reported.
Pyongyang goaded Trump on Friday with this nutty line: “We consider the U.S. no more than a lump which we can beat to a jelly any time.”
“Kim understands Trump better than Trump understands himself,” Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio told me. “He is only comfortable dominating and forcing others into submission. When that’s not happening, he experiences an almost physical discomfort because he feels unsafe. He doesn’t know any other way to achieve status.”
…Ted Sorensen wrote about how much Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August,” chronicling leaders stumbling into World War I, influenced J.F.K. during the Cuban missile crisis: In “the 1914 conversation between two German leaders on the origins and expansion of that war, a former chancellor asking ‘How did it all happen?’ and his successor saying, ‘Ah, if only one knew.’ ‘If this planet,’ said President Kennedy, ‘is ever ravaged by nuclear war — if the survivors of that devastation can then endure the fire, poison, chaos and catastrophe — I do not want one of these survivors to ask another, ‘How did it all happen?’ and to receive the incredible reply: ‘Ah, if only one knew.’”
This time around we will know how it happened. The United States elected a person with serious flaws to be its president.