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Thank goodness for the Japanese ambassador

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The BBC is still pushing the hysterical line that it is President Trump, not Kim Jong-un, who is edging the world to the brink of war. The BBC News website, reporting that Trump is “ramping up the rhetorical brinkmanship”, thoughtfully provides us with evidence of Trump’s “nuclear fixation” (Trump’s!!) and also features a delightfully amusing little quiz question inviting people to guess which leader made a particular bombastic remark, Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un. Nucleardum and Nucleardee, eh? You could die laughing, couldn’t you.

The BBC’s message is thus that there are two psychopaths vying with each other for the chance to send the world to kingdom come – but the one who’s really, really scary is… Trump. Which is broadly the message emanating from frothing US Democratic politicians too, as well as much of the rest of the media.

So it was a considerable relief to hear the Japanese ambassador to the UK, Koji Tsuruoka, put the BBC firmly in its place on Radio Four’s Today programme this morning (0750) and introduce a note of sanity into this malign and idiotic hysteria.

Presenter Frank Gardner suggested to the ambassador that the crisis was far more serious than anything previously caused by North Korea. “This is very different,” said Gardner, “because President Trump is pumping out a very strong rhetoric with dire warnings. Is there a sense in Japan that he is possibly provoking North Korea at this point?”

To which ambassador Tsuruoka, representing a country which had itself suffered the effects of nuclear attack in World War Two and which is currently “very worried” because it is absolutely in the front line should Kim Jong-un launch an all-out war, replied firmly:

“If there is any provocation it all comes from North Korea. If they were to conduct themselves in a constructive manner according to international rules, there would be no use for any rhetoric to be deployed. The problem cones from North Korea, and it is totally wrong to say that the responses are provoking them”.

Exactly. Far from seeing President Trump as provoking a conflagration that could kill millions of his people, the Japanese ambassador is looking to President Trump to defend them against the actual aggressor in Pyongyang.

And as the ambassador also observed, Gardner’s suggestion that diplomacy had had no effect at all was also wrong. Among the countries voting unanimously to impose impose tougher sanctions on North Korea were Russia and, most crucial of all, China.

It’s quite obvious that Trump’s rhetoric is aimed at China as much as (if not more so than) Kim Jong-un himself. China is the key to defusing this crisis, something it has been reluctant for decades to do. Presumably the calculation in Washington is that China will only pull its finger out if it is convinced that otherwise Trump may indeed unleash the hounds of hell, which will have dire effects on China too.

I have no more knowledge than anyone else whether this actually so. Nor do any of us know whether, if this is the strategy, it will work. But it is clearly perfectly possible that, far from contradicting the idea of negotiation, Trump’s rhetoric is designed to work in tandem with it.

In other words, Trump may be actually trying to avoid a dreadful war. Yet those who cannot even imagine this could be so have minds so totally sealed by their irrational hatred of this man, whom they have invested with near demonic characteristics, that they have departed from the sphere of reason altogether.

As if we didn’t have enough to terrify ourselves with over Kim Jong-un, the closing of the educated western mind should also be frightening us half to death too.

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