Security experts from around the world say the United States has an edge over North Korea in any kind of military showdown because its clown is more powerful than the other country’s clown, but it would nevertheless be better for the two clowns to find a diplomatic solution to their conflict.
“North Korea leader Kim Jong-un is certainly one of the world’s great clowns, but he is not as great a clown as the United States’ leader, Donald Trump,” says Andrew McPearson, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute Center for International Security. “The United States remains the world’s largest economy and has the most powerful military. And it has the world’s biggest clown.”
The two nations clashed this week after the United Nations passed U.S.-backed sanctions against North Korea for violating the International Nonproliferation Treaty, which seeks to curb the spread of nuclear weapons. In response to the sanctions, Kim Jong-un threatened to take preemptive action against the United States. President Trump, in turn, threatened “fire and fury” against North Korea. That threat triggered a counter threat from North Korea against Guam, a U.S. territory and home to several major military installations.
Peter Barton, a security analyst with London-based Global Policy Institute, said the heated rhetoric between the two clowns isn’t helpful to a world already on edge over escalating conflicts in the Middle East. “We’d like to see the two clowns de-escalate their rhetoric,” he says. “The hotter the rhetoric, the greater the chance of a mistake being made.”
Nancy Loring, senior fellow at the Carnegie Institute of Peace in Washington, said the two clowns will quickly find themselves boxed in by their own words if they don’t find a face-saving way to back away from the saber-rattling. “There are ways for the two countries to get together to defuse the situation,” she says. “But it takes a willingness on the part of one of the clowns to extend a hand.”
She added that she thought President Trump should be the clown to make that first move. “He is the one in a position of strength,” she says. “It sends a signal when the stronger of the two clowns says he wants to reach a diplomatic solution. I’m not saying the weaker of the clowns will accept the offer, but its important for the stronger one to take that first step.”
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: pd. Creative Commons and public domain. Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
President Trump says his military parade, in which soldiers, tanks, missiles, and other vehicles will come down Pennsylvania Ave. in formation to showcase U.S. military might, will attract bigger audiences than President Obama’s military parade and will even be bigger than the parades of the last 10 presidents combined. “The tanks, the trucks—they’ll be like nothing we ever saw with Obama or even with the others,” Trump said this morning. “Very few people showed up for Obama’s parade. And I heard that some of the tanks broke down, Jeeps had flat tires, some soldiers didn’t march in a straight line.” More.
In the war of words between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un of North Korea, the winner is the leader of the small, militarized dictatorship on the Korean peninsula and not the man in the White House who’s so quick with a tweet. A Gallup poll out today shows 90 percent of Americans think Kim Jong Un is “the much better insulter” of the two and that, if words could kill, Trump would probably be dead by now. “As much practice as President Trump gets at insulting people, you’d think he’d win the war of words between him and Kim in a cakewalk, but Americans just aren’t impressed with what he’s coming up with,” says Darrell Thompson, professor of communications at Princeton who oversaw the poll for the Gallup Organization. “‘Rocket Man’ was good, people agree, but it pales in comparison to ‘dotard,’ which is off the charts.” Trump had called Kim “Rocket Man” in his speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations. In response, Kim called Trump a “dotard,” which refers to an elderly person who exhibits signs of mental decline. More.
WASHINGTON—In a sensational shot across the bow, American President Donald Trump said at the White House today that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is a “vindictive, narcissistic sociopath’ who mustn’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons because he’s “impulsive, unstable, and holds a grudge.” Trump also said he lies “practically every time” he opens his mouth. “What we have in North Korea is a man who only got where he is today because of his father,” Trump told reporters. Kim is the third leader in the Kim dynasty, which began in 1948 when Kim Il-sung led his country’s effort to overthrow Japanese rule. Kim then elevated his son, Kim Jong-il, to the post of Supreme Leader in 1994, and then Kim Jong-il elevated Kim Jong-un in 2011, when he was 27. More.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said today he believes the moon landing in 1969 was real but “many people” believe the whole thing was orchestrated by the federal government to impress the world and scare the Soviets. “I’m not saying I believe that, but many people have questions about it,” Trump said at a campaign appearance here. “There are people who know about these things who say they saw the interior of a warehouse in Los Angeles converted to look like the surface of the moon, complete with fine dust and craters and the whole thing. Lot of tinfoil lying around. More.
President Donald Trump said today he might drop more bombs in hot spots around the world because people appear to like the bombs on a bipartisan basis. “Who would have thought the bombs would be so popular, but they are and we’re going to do more of them, I can guarantee you,” Trump said at a press briefing after meeting with business officials on tax reform. “Syria was a big win for us. People liked the Tomahawks. President Bashar al-Assad poisoned his own people. We fired the bombs. That was good. A big win. Then we dropped the mother of all bombs on Afghanistan. People are sick of Afghanistan. They can’t believe we’re still there. We can’t get out of that country? We dropped the bomb.” More.
President Donald Trump, his step a little lighter now that the reviews have been good on his decision to bomb a Syrian airbase, says Americans can expect more bombings in the weeks ahead. “There are going to be so many good opportunities to bomb things,” Trump said in his weekly radio address at the White House today. “We have North Korea. We have Iran. We have some other hot spots we’re looking at but aren’t ready to talk about yet. But they’ll be good bombing targets. A lot of pride among Americans, especially after all those disastrous Obama years when we blew so few things up.” Trump acknowledged he wasn’t expecting reviews across the political spectrum to be so good in response to his snap decision to send 59 Tomahawk missiles to the Shayrat military airbase in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons on its own citizens. More.
President Donald Trump said he based his decision to bomb the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria on “raw emotion” and he’s left it to his generals to create a long-term engagement strategy that doesn’t leave Americans more vulnerable to middle east chaos. “I saw children murdered by their own government and I reacted to that,” Trump said today at the White House. “Now we’re working hard to build a policy around my decision. I think we’ll have a plan soon, maybe even before the weekend.” Trump said he’d been given policy papers on the situation in Syria, but what matters is what he sees on cable news. “And what I saw horrified me,” said Trump. “I think it’s important for the head of a country to act on the basis of emotions and without a long-term plan.” More.
PALO ALTO, Calif.—A major symposium on the presidency of Donald Trump erupted into a heated discussion yesterday as some of the United States’ most distinguished professors of political science disagreed over whether President Trump is an utter moron or an absolute idiot. Benjamin Heitzberg, professor emeritus of political science at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, said Trump burst from the starting gate as an utter moron by targeting an entire religion in his immigration ban. “The United States has become a great nation in part because it’s been a beacon of hope for people the world over to come here and realize their full potential,” said Heitzberg, who last year was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the International Society of Political Scientists. “Only an utter moron would purposefully damage one of the country’s greatest intangible assets.” More.
White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer said there’s no truth to rumors that President Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte have agreed to shoot a television commercial for Viagra®, the erectile dysfunction drug, while Duterte is in Washington for his White House meeting. “The fake news operation of the Democratic party is at it again,” said Spicer at his press briefing this morning. “The claim that President Trump and Philippine President Duterte have any intention of shooting a Viagra® commercial is absurd.” More.
In a problem that has never happened before, according to historians, just nine weeks into the presidency of Donald Trump the White House has exhausted its supply of foreign leaders willing to come to Washington to meet with the president and analysts cannot figure out why. “In every past administration, the problem has been too many foreign leaders wanting to come to Washington to meet with what many people regard as the most powerful person in the world,” says Jake Tapper, Washington correspondent for CNN. “Now, leaders around the world are saying they’re too busy to come. It’s weird.” That’s not to say President Trump has hosted no foreign leaders. Among others, he’s hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. And just last week he hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But White House aides say no more foreign leaders are lined up to come. More.
Shinzō Abe, the Japanese prime minister, made a desperate cry for help last week in the White House, where his hand was held against its will by the hand of President Donald Trump. “Nobody likes to be imprisoned, but few things are worse than having your hand imprisoned because your hand is the most important exponent of freedom a person has,” said Abe, the leader of Japan since 2012 and not normally a person given to abstract philosophical musings about freedom and hands. Abe said he empathizes with Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, who, during the presidential inauguration on January 20, made a similar desperate cry for help about her imprisonment by her husband. More.
British Prime Minister Theresa May says she held the hand of President Donald Trump as they walked to the White House press room for their news conference earlier this week so she would know where his hand was at all times. “Frankly, I thought it was more important to keep tabs on his hand than worry about any ridicule I might incur from the international community,” May said today. May said she normally doesn’t worry about where the hands of world leaders are, but she didn’t want to take a chance on joining the more than two dozen women who have accused Trump of groping them. “If it were just one woman who was accusing him, then I wouldn’t be too concerned,” she said. “But there have been some two dozen, which is not a small number.” More.
As he vowed to do, President Barack Obama retaliated against Russian hacking of the U.S. election by releasing photos that Russian President Vladimir Putin is embarrassed to see on the Internet. “We were clear to President Putin that he would regret meddling in the election, which is so fundamental to our Democracy,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest this morning. “President Obama was very clear that the United States would retaliate in a manner and at a time of its choosing, and today we have made good on that threat with the release of these embarrassing photos of Vladimir Putin.” The photos are devastating indictments of Putin, say security experts and intelligence analysts. In one photo, Putin is wearing an anti-Putin t-shirt. In another, he has a propeller hat on his head. In a third, he has a message taped to his back that says “Kick me!” More.
John Forrester made his name picking apart the weaknesses of George W. Bush and now he has put our next president, Donald Trump, under his knife with his new book, How to Play Trump Like a Fiddle: A Guide for Foreign Leaders. The book immediately rose to the top of The New York Times bestseller list, with rave reviews like this one, from Andrew McNair of The New Yorker: “Forrester expertly walks prime ministers, presidents, chancellors, and business leaders through the three basic steps that will all but guarantee you will get what you want from Donald Trump while making him think he made a good deal.” More.
Americans across the country took delight in watching President-elect Donald Trump give the world’s largest country a poke by speaking on the phone with the president of Taiwan, a breach of diplomatic protocol, and then tweeting snarky statements about China’s trade practices. “It feels good after so many years of watching China eat our lunch to see our president-elect give the country the ol’ Donald Trump treatment,” says Ronald Portman, a retired mechanic in St. Paul, Minn. “Ha ha.” More.
Not waiting to get into the White House to exercise his unique brand of Twitter diplomacy, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump late last night wondered aloud if Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, get their pantsuit ideas from the same JC Penney catalog. “I notice it’s not a catalogue Melania has laying around on her nightstand,” he said. “Maybe there’s a reason for that. Does Victoria Secret make sizes big enough for them? I doubt it!” He also called North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine two weeks ago a “pathetic” attempt to be relevant in the global arena and said it makes the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, look “small and sad.” Trump also revisited one of his favorite topics about China—its currency manipulation—by condemning the International Monetary Fund for adding the Yuan to its list of reserve currencies. “Just like it manipulates its currency, China has manipulated the losers at the IMF,” he said. More.
Russian president Vladimir Putin says he’s enjoying the positive coverage he’s getting from the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but he doesn’t want to give the impression his success is all about his leadership skills; it helps to be an authoritarian, he says. Putin says he could never work his will if he couldn’t jail critics or have them killed, which takes care of a lot of opposition. He also takes advantage of a rubber-stamp legislative body and gets to set the terms of his election, which is better than running campaign ads, even if they’re good ones. “Truth be told, it helps to do what you want without checks and balances,” he says. “Sure, I’m a good leader. I’m strong. But at the end of the day, I never lose sight of the real source of my strength: my authoritarianism.” More.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein came back from the dead today to throw some shade at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for praising the 82 percent approval rating of Russian president Vlaidmir Putin. “Eighty-two percent! I snort at that!” said Hussein, who was executed by the Federal Government of Iraq in 2006, when he was 69. “My Revolutionary Command Council would have had a good laugh if I had run my country as a strongman with only an 82 percent approval, I can tell you that, my friend!” Hussein said a strong leader should never have anything under 100 percent approval, and he pointed to his impressive 111 percent approval rating when he asked his people in a poll what they thought of his job performance in 2003, shortly before an international coalition of forces invaded his country and forced him into hiding. “I am not a sentimental person, but I shed a tear at the love of my people on that day,” said Hussein. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, fresh from his dramatic trip to Mexico to discuss immigration policy, said he would allow Angélica Rivera, the wife of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, into the country if she wants to come. “We would make an exception for her, absolutely, and I told her that when I was in Mexico,” Trump said at a campaign stop in Albuquerque, N.M. “I told her I’ll have a car ready for her anytime she wants to come. She has my number. She said she’d like to see Trump Tower. I said I’d like to show it to her.” Rivera, 47, an actress and model before she became Mexico’s First Lady, was born in Mexico City. She has been married to Peña Nieto since 2010. Trump’s trip to Mexico has generated a considerable amount of analysis. In Mexico, he appeared to take a conciliatory approach to the country, but that appeared to change in a major address he gave in Phoenix that night. More.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a week-long meeting with Chinese government and business leaders with a request for the Chinese to give back the millions of jobs American businesses shipped to them over the years. “We are not blaming you for taking them,” Kerry said in his departing statement, given at the American embassy in Beijing. “We gave them to you of our own free will, and you were free to take them. But we’d like to have them back now, and so if you wouldn’t mind returning them to us, we would appreciate it.” The United States has transferred some 15 million jobs to Chinese companies since China was granted Most Favored National (MFN) trade status in 1994, when Bill Clinton was president. Since that time, China has grown to have the second largest economy in the world and is on the verge of overtaking the United States in the size of its gross domestic product, although the country would still lag the U.S. in per-capita GDP. More.
BEIJING—China this week released its plan to dominate the world by 2020 and also host a summit on the overfishing of red herring in the South Sea. “This is China’s century and we are determined to assert our interests globally in accordance with our stature as the one true superpower,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a news conference here yesterday. China is the world’s largest country by population, with 1.36 million people, not counting ethnic Uighurs, and the world’s second largest economy, with a gross domestic product of $16.1 trillion. That is about $1 trillion less than the United States, although that gap is expected to close within the next 18 months because of America’s declining productivity and “black president,” the plan says. More.