Published:  03:32 AM, 11 August 2017

Two dangerous leaders

It is a sinister picture, apocalyptic in its dimensions. The United States has a President who increasingly appears to be a threat not only to his country's democracy but also to the stability of the globe.

And North Korea has a young leader who is not far behind, for he has now threatened to hit the US territory of Guam with nuclear missiles. Both Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump are determined to deal with each other eyeball to eyeball. Neither of them is willing, at least so far, to step back from the brink.

 Here we have a seventy year-old American President whose belligerence not only with adversary nations like North Korea but also with Washington's traditional allies has upended American diplomacy. In Pyongyang we have a thirty year-old leader who is consumed by thoughts of inflicting humiliation on the US and on nations that traditionally have not had good relations with Pyongyang.

 A significant aspect of the situation here is that for the first time in decades, a country has taken it upon itself to publicly threaten America with destruction. The last time such an attitude was posited was in 1941, when imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbour.

There is the tension rising all around. The Japanese, South Koreans and others are justifiably upset by North Korea's military ambitions. The United States, under a different President, could have played a better and more sophisticated role through helping to calm the conditions that have cropped up.

Donald Trump is not the man who can play diplomacy, which is a pity. And Kim Jong-Un is too callow to grasp the complexities of global realities.

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