The Nuclear War Tweet Heard Round the World
The world’s most powerful man ignited a stunning new showdown with North Korea late Tuesday, as Donald Trump boasted to volatile leader Kim Jong Un that he had a “much bigger & more powerful” nuclear weapon.
Trump’s flippant comments about his nuclear prowess — akin to “mine is bigger than yours” schoolyard taunts — raise new questions about whether the President has thought deeply about the awesome destructive power at his command.
His outburst also elevates Kim, leader of an impoverished autocracy using a nuclear Programme to ensure its survival, to a tit-for-tat confrontation alongside the President of the United States.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
The tweet was remarkable not just for its content but for the fact it was generated by a President, the holder of the office that for decades has been the effective guarantor of a US-enforced 70-year era of global peace.
Other US presidents have privately considered the use of nuclear weapons since Harry Truman unleashed the horrific wrath of atomic warfare on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II in 1945.
CNN reported that Kim has anchored his regime on the idea that the United States, the North’s enemy in the 1950-1953 Korean War is bent on destroying the communist regime in a nuclear strike. In that sense, Trump’s missive plays right into the hands of the reclusive regimes propaganda conceit, much as his threat to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea did last year.