The president of the United States blusters about reining “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continues to threaten this country.
Then the secretary of state weighs in with more measured rhetoric, saying that Americans should “sleep well at night” even though North Korea keeps blabbing about hitting the United States with nukes.
Which is it? Fire and fury or diplomacy and negotiation?
Donald J. Trump has flown off the rails with his fiery rhetoric. Meanwhile, Rex Tillerson is seeking to calm the fears of an anxious world.
I am reminded of how past presidents have handled these so-called threats. Did they bluster and bloviate about what awaits potential adversaries? No. They went about their business quietly and left the nuts-and-bolts of diplomacy up to their senior aides and officials.
Two previous Republican presidents — Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower — famously adhered to more restrained postures in the face of potential or actual conflict.
They knew that loud-mouthed threats do nothing to advance the cause of peace. Donald Trump doesn’t know any of that — or anything else, for that matter. He instead yaps and yammers without considering the consequences of his words.
The man has no understanding or appreciation that as president of the United States — and the commander in chief of the world’s pre-eminent military machine — his words echo around the world.
When he threatens a budding nuclear power with “fire and fury,” he sends the rest of the planet into a state of, um, heightened anxiety.
Is that helpful to anyone? Not in the least.
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