Saturday, August 12, 2017


... is better than war-war, Churchill is reported to have said. That seems NOT to be the strategy of the man currently performing the role of "president" in our currently--I cannot bring myself to refer to him as President, and it still jars me every time I hear him addressed or referred to in that way. I wish the media would just call him "Trump"--a name that somehow fits his brassy bellicosity and his irremediable vulgarity.

Perhaps I will prove mistaken--I sincerely hope not--but I'm unable to summon the belief that the flap over North Korea with end in military conflict. I cling to the conviction that Trump will be contained by wiser heads than his. Other observers with far more prominent platforms than my own have noted the mirror-image relationship between the two boastful and belligerent man-childs who are driving this crisis, toying heedlessly with the prospect of many millions killed and a world contaminated with residual radiation.

Are two overblown egos enough to make this happen? The schoolyard taunts from the man on our side of the confrontation might satisfy his giant sense of self-regard, but who knows about the other guy? What kind of constraint are his generals able to exercise? From what little I understand from media reports, his rule is absolute. Those who dare challenge his least whim are unlikely to survive for long enough to save him from himself.

By all means, it's an intractable situation, and one that previous presidents have been unable to resolve. Kim plays his card shrewdly. He has been able to turn the history of US hostility to his--and his father's and grandfather's--regime to his advantage, and Trump's rhetoric enables him to justify his rampant paranoia to a people conditioned by decades of propaganda. What is needed is clearly more jaw-jaw, if necessary with the US backing away from unconditional insistence on Kim giving up the single wild card that he holds. From his point of view, would he not be a fool to do it?

Meanwhile, we can do no harm with the metta practice--sending thoughts of goodwill to these two men, both of whom make it so hard to do so. If we cannot bring ourselves to do it for them, then we should do it for the sake of the world, which would be a better place if they were able to step outside their egos and contemplate, instead, the welfare of their people. So, in the spirit of the Buddhist divine attitudes: may they find true happiness in their lives. (Because... if they were truly happy, would they be behaving as they do?)

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