Despite President Trump’s increasingly bellicose tweets about dealing with North Korea – with or without China – one has to ask if the US president actually rather likes the world’s last totalitarian state and its oddly-coiffured leader.
Why, you might ask. How could a 70-year-old American man who has spent all his life in a capitalist, free-market, democratic society ever have any fondness for a dictatorship that revolves around the cult of one man, one family and one idea?
True. But Mr Trump is no ordinary American man.
Here are three reasons some might say Mr Trump finds North Korea and its leader rather appealing:
1. North Korea revolves around the cult of one man and his family, which espouses one idea, namely, that the rulers are their peoples’ great benefactors and no one else counts. The Trump family, which is now in control of almost every lever of executive power possible in America, is headed by a patriarch who truly believes in himself, his genes, his daughter and any idea that emerges from anyone whose last name is Trump.
Click here to read Mr Trump’s defiant claim of “my family and me against the world”. That was in November 2016.
Click here for the patriarch’s belief that Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, can bring peace to the Middle East (basically because he’s family).
Click here for the doting father’s unashamed attack on a department store chain for dropping daughter Ivanka’s clothing line.
Going by the above, is it reasonable to say Mr Trump seems to display just as much belief and interest in his family as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un?
2. North Korea is ruled by one man and one man alone. What’s to suggest that Mr Trump hates that idea? We know that as president he has attacked federal judges for doing their job and appears to resent the checks and balances inherent in the American system.
Click here to read Mr Trump’s previous comments on Kim Jong Un. Among other things, Mr Trump says the following: “”If you look at North Korea, this guy, he’s like a maniac. OK? You’ve got to give him credit. How many young guys – he was like 26 or 25 when his father died – take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden – you know, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it. How does he do that? Even though it is a culture, and it’s a cultural thing, he goes in, he takes over, he’s the boss. It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one.”
Click here for Mr Trump’s generous praise for Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Mr Trump has oft been admiring about Mr Putin, but these particular remarks are from December 2016, when he was president-elect.
Click here for Mr Trump’s approving remarks about Egyptian strongman Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi. Again, Mr Trump has often been complimentary about Mr El Sisi, but these particular remarks are from earlier this month.
And click here for appreciation, expressed by Mr Trump long years ago, on Beijing’s strong response to the Tiananmen Square protests. The 1990 interview appeared in Playboy magazine and had Mr Trump recounting with some relish: “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”
Going by the above, is it reasonable to say that Mr Trump seems to approve of strong men and unfettered strong action (even if vicious and unethical) just as much as Mr Kim, who famously had his uncle executed?
3. North Korea continues to allocate more than 15 per cent of its national budget to defense expenditure, according to Pyongyang’s Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun. On April 12, Pyongyang said this was essential “in order to handle the critical situation of the nuclear threat and endless war provocations of the United States and its followers”.
Click here to read about Mr Trump’s proposed budget for the US, which would ramp up defense spending, spend big on a border wall, cut back on diplomacy, cancer research, environmental protection and just about every soft feature that might be found in a developed economy.
Click here for Mr Trump’s oft-stated demand that NATO member countries should spend more on defense. (Does North Korea’s 15.8 per cent defense spending make it a good candidate for NATO?)
And click here for Mr Trump’s decision to launch missiles on Syria in early April.
Going by the above, is it reasonable to say Mr Trump is just as militaristic as Mr Kim?
Trump Jong Un. It has a ring. Of truth?