A rhetorical roundabout beyond the Yellow Sea

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August 31, 2017

Donald Trump may be an advocate of the “madman school of diplomacy”, but might Kim Jong-eun be using the same strategy . . .  

SEOUL – With Kim Jong-eun threatening to launch missiles in the direction of - if not directly at - the U.S. island of Guam in response to Trump’s “Fire and Fury” speech aimed at rattling the DPRK into getting “its act together,” is the world about to witness its first actual bilateral nuclear war (assuming China and India hold off just long enough)?

Is your correspondent finally going to get the message and bail out before this corner of the world blows up along with an uncertain chunk of U.S. real estate? 

As both Kim Jong-eun and Donald Trump seemingly careen headlong into a potential no-nuclear-punches-barred confrontation that would undo both of them -- the former physically and the latter politically -- there is some basis for remaining sanguine in the expectation that neither will actually go over the brink and take the other with him.

An assessment of the objectives of each and the risks to both underlies such sangfroid.