Opinion: Readers respond to tough talk on North Korea with dread and Shakespeare

President Trump warned North Korea against making any further nuclear threats to the United States. (August 9, 2017) (Sign up for our free video newsletter here


To the editor: I usually enjoy reading my Times with my morning coffee. If I had done that Tuesday, I might have taken some small comfort from your editorial regarding the Trump administration “muting the bellicose rhetoric” toward North Korea and giving diplomacy a chance. (“‘Fire and fury, the world has never seen,’” Aug. 9, and “Trump’s diplomatic gambit,” editorial, Aug. 8)

However, I did not get to my paper until afternoon. By that time, Trump was all over the airwaves and social media threatening to rain “fire and fury like the world has never seen” down on North Korea -- not for any action they might take, but for threatening some action.

OK, Republicans, it’s time to look into the faces of your children and grandchildren. Then call your Republican representatives and senators. They are the only ones who can start impeachment proceedings and get this madman out of the White House. They will listen to you, as you are the voters who keep them in their jobs.


If you don’t have the guts to do that, then go back to your children, and explain to them what “fire and fury” means.

Laurie Jacobs, San Clemente


To the editor: The crazy guy in the White House is trading threats with the crazy guy in North Korea.

What could go wrong?…

Michael Goldstein, Woodland Hills


To the editor: One of the more disturbing, albeit less obvious, aspects of Trump’s “fire and fury” response was his body language: he sat with both arms folded over his chest. Arms so folded are universally recognized as a protective gesture indicative of fear, insecurity and uncertainty. If I, a layman, see this — so do all the unfriendlies in the world.

Fear, insecurity and uncertainty do not make for strong leadership. Heaven protect us; I don’t think Trump can, and our enemies know it.

Rick Dunn, San Diego



To the editor: You wrote: “You have to view Trump’s comments in context.” Will North Korea?

We have a far superior military, and we haven’t used it before because we know it would put millions of lives in jeopardy in South Korea and Japan.

It appears, though, that we’ve become North Korea’s equal in “tough talk.” The slightest action on either side could now trigger destruction on a level we haven’t seen before.

Why not be bold and propose direct talks with North Korea? Tell them we’ll lift sanctions and remove our troops from South Korea once a peace agreement has been signed. After all, we’ve had a 60-plus-year presence there. In return, we would want them to stop testing their missiles.

People might argue we would appear weak. If proposing direct talks calms the rhetoric and entertains the possibility of a peaceful resolution -- others would argue that it would demonstrate U.S. leadership at the highest level.

Charles Coleman, Pacoima


To the editor:Trump and his top brass continue to hype the threats posed by North Korea despite their two rather inept short-range ICBM tests.


Where is the evidence of of an imminent threat? Haven’t we gone through this before with President Bush and the attack on Iraq? So many innocent Iraqis died based on the pretext that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Are we going to fall for this propaganda again? Do hundreds of thousands -- maybe millions -- of Koreans have to die in order to make Americans feel safer?

Michael Rustigan, Laguna Beach


To the editor: A beautifully composed photograph on A2 in Monday’s paper documents Hiroshima’s commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the world’s first atomic bomb attack.

The appeal of “never again” has gathered urgency as North Korea accelerates work on nuclear weapons.

At the commemoration, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said: “This hell is not a thing of the past. As long as nuclear weapons exist and policymakers threaten their use, their horror could leap into our present at any moment.”


I find the last sentence of the quote to be both poetic and prescient.

Robert Saurer, Rolling Hills Estates


To the editor: Sanctions will not stop North Korea’s nuclear deterrence because they come too late—after their development.

Pyongyang is accustomed to hard times and can endure sanctions, as before, by shipping goods on dark nights. Sanctions also do not cover offices in China with Chinese employees which North Korea uses as intermediaries.

Michael Haas, Los Angeles


To the editor: What does Trump’s remark mean?

To quote Shakespeare:

“A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Richard Grosser, Los Angeles

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