Donald Trump’s speech at the UN has predictably driven everyone to their partisan comfort zones. If you hate Donald Trump, it was the darkest, worst, and most dangerous speech ever. If you love Donald Trump, it was the greatest, most upfront, and effective speech in human history. If you are an anti-Trump conservative, you secretly loved it but have to say you hated it.
Another interesting phenomenon has once again been put on display in the reaction to the President’s speech. That would be the equating and comparing of Donald Trump with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. You see, Donald Trump is supposedly “mentally unstable” and that makes suggesting he’s on even footing with a murderous psychopath completely copacetic in today’s world.
Heck, you might even say Kim Jong Un is the sane one…
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) September 22, 2017
I’ve actually seen that line repeated by several conservatives in the past few days. Not that we should trade leaders, thankfully, but rather that Kim Jong Un’s rhetoric is saner, more coherent, or some other variance of the idea. Because everyone knows that we judge a leader’s sanity on prepared statements and not whether they have concentration camps, starve their own people, and commit mass murder with anti-aircraft guns just to show off.
President just threatened to 'totally destroy' another country and mocked its leader at UN. Just take a moment to reflect on that.
— Susan Glasser (@sbg1) September 19, 2017
In response to Trump’s tough statements on North Korea and Iran, The New Republic published this brilliant think-piece…
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) September 19, 2017
And let’s not forgo this hot take by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell…
“To — as President Trump put it today — ‘totally destroy North Korea’ is to kill 25 million people and that is a war crime,” O’Donnell said. “The president of the United States went to the United Nations today and threatened to commit a war crime.”
ABC News also pushed the “war crimes” angle.
The truth is, the speech was remarkable, but not because anything that Trump said was “crazy” or “insane.” Former President Barack Obama would routinely use this platform to chastise the United States, fluff Islam, and generally trash western ideals in one way or another. To have a President instead point out the UN’s myriad of failures was certainly different. He pulled no punches on the sham that is the Iran deal while once again speaking forcefully on our ability to respond to North Korean aggression.
While the response from liberals and the mainstream media is predictable, unfortunately, some anti-Trump conservatives have seized this opportunity to take another jab at their favorite target.
To that I say…Please don’t…
Yes, Donald Trump has used strong language to pressure Kim, but there’s a large difference between the President of the most powerful country in the world stating factual military abilities and the delusional rants of North Korea’s leader.
When Donald Trump says that we can destroy North Korea if they threaten us or our Allies, that is not “crazy” or comparable to Kim Jung Un’s rhetoric. By contrast, when Kim Jong Un says he’s going to destroy the United states, that is indeed “crazy” because he has no ability to do so. Such an action would also lead to his country’s total destruction, again lending to this irrationality nature of his statements, regardless of how well they are prepared.
There’s also a certain amount of partisan obtuseness in pretending that President Trump’s rhetoric is unique. Barack Obama said we could “destroy” North Korea. Senator John McCain, just a week ago, threatened North Korea with “extinction.” George W. Bush scored a two-fer when he labeled North Korea and Iran the “axis of evil,” among many other saber rattling moments of US military power during his Presidency.
Then there’s Ronald Reagan, who called the Soviet Union an “evil empire” and once publicly joked about bombing them, drawing much the same ire we see today. While Trump is no Ronald Reagan, it is interesting how many parallels there are in the media response to both men. Reagan was routinely accused of being nuts (in one term or another) and a war monger. His strategy against the Soviet Union was universally panned by the liberal elite of the country. We see how that turned out.
While I understand the disillusion of some conservatives with the election of Trump and I encourage substantive criticism, we can’t allow ourselves to be drawn down the rabbit hole of ridiculous overreactions and hyperbole. It’s no more proper to compare or equate anything about a US President with Kim Jong Un than it is to do so with Hitler nor is it intellectually honest to pretend that Trump’s rhetoric has anything to do with North Korea’s current tact.
The Kim regime has been pursuing nuclear weapons for decades. There is no amount of public rhetoric that pushed them to do what they are doing. No one can rationally argue that Kim Jong Un would of stopped his pursuit of nuclear weapons had Trump been nicer to him. While it’s easy to glob onto the liberal critique of Trump’s rhetoric as “dangerous,” there’s no real logic behind that idea. North Korea’s aggression is based solely on self-preservation, not perceived Presidential slights. They see nuclear weapons as the ultimate deterrent to preserve their rogue state and will seek to acquire them at all costs. The only decision is whether the US and UN are going to let that happen or act.
At some point there is a line which shouldn’t be crossed in regards to criticism of a President. Democrats and the media clearly have no sense of that line, but conservatives shouldn’t follow them over it.