Opinion

A dangerous war of words over North Korea

When the president this week warned North Korea to stop making nuclear threats, declaring it would be “met with fire and fury” like the world has never seen, dozens of Times readers offered choice words of their own.

A dismayed majority slammed Trump’s “heated rhetoric,” calling it unhelpful or another distraction. Most strongly urged diplomacy, while a few backed the tough talk approach.

Here is a sampling of the responses.

David N. Hartman in Santa Ana asks:

Doesn’t our president realize that when he threatens any nation with such apocalyptic language that the scene he envisions could end up here in America as well? Instead of bragging to the world, has Trump ever considered that he has the ability to sit down with any national leader and negotiate peace treaties that endure?

Comments David Woody in Bishop:

A possible goal of Trump’s outrageous rhetoric is to goad North Korea to “fire the first shot,” which Trump would use to justify an overwhelming response. This would result in a war that would destroy North Korea and much of South Korea with little risk to the U.S. mainland.

Richard Merel of Hermosa Beach offers:

Every psychiatrist-in-training learns, very early, that in dealing with an agitated, frightened, threatening and potentially dangerous patient, one should speak firmly and calmly. Since fear and anger are both contagious, it's important to make it clear who is the calm, adult person in the room. President Trump is not a psychiatrist, and there is no training program for the presidency. But someone should help him understand that our tense relationship with frightened and angry bullies in North Korea will not be improved by behaving as if this is a playground feud.

Says Phil Kirk in Encinitas:

When I read the headline of threats of fire and fury like the world has never seen, I thought immediately that it was a statement from the irrational Kim Jong Un. No, it was from the unstable and bombastic person we laughingly call the president of the United States. Although, it’s not much of a laughing matter anymore.

Robert S. Henry in San Gabriel disagrees:

Quite candidly, as a Trump hater, the one thing Trump has done with which I wholeheartedly agree is his threat to North Korea. Kim Jong Un is a madman and Trump's statement sends a message to those top military men around him that it is time for him to go, otherwise their whole regime will be toppled.

Chet Chebegia in San Marcos seconds that:

Well, I'm a Democrat, voted against Trump, but I think he is right to stand up to this two-bit punk in North Korea. Sometimes the only thing an enemy understands is power.

Dan Linn La Jolla thinks it’s a Trump tactic:

The bombastic and inflaming rhetoric emanating from the president are, to my mind, consistent with his ever-present M.O. when facing a difficult situation. Bingo, it's time for a distraction, in this case a major one. Congress and the people need to step up and make it very clear that diplomacy is the only allowable route for this (or any) administration to follow.

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