EDITORIAL: Nuclear taunts open the year with a bang

Insults are no way to conduct diplomatic relations

It would have been nice to have started 2018 off without U.S. president Donald Trump managing to cause another fuss. But within three days of the new year, Trump has managed to antagonize Pakistan, Palestine and Iran with ill-considered tweets, even managing to lash out at the “very dishonest Fake News Media” while issuing a presidential happy new year tweet.

It seems Trump is out to set some sort of record for increasing international tension in 2018. And let’s not forget Kim Jong-Un and North Korea, where Trump managed to escalate tensions again with threats and “mine is bigger than yours is” rhetoric.

The possibility of nuclear war has never been more real, thanks to his massive ego, which appears to have met its match in Kim Jong-Un.

It’s probably a good thing there is no button. The fact the president believes it’s as simple as pressing a button may be the only thing that saves the world as he struggles to read the manual. There’s every chance that Trump would think starting a war was a great way to avoid impeachment or deflect attention from whatever controversy is plaguing him.

Besides Trump’s odd New Year’s tweet, we got a far more serious message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who issued a red alert for the world as we all began to ring in 2018. “On New Year’s Day 2018 I am not issuing an appeal, I am issuing an alert – a red alert for our world,” said Guterres, calling for unity in the face of deepening conflicts, growing concern about nuclear weapons and rising tides of nationalism and xenophobia.

“We can settle conflicts, overcome hatred and defend shared values. But we can only do that together.”

Truth be told, the world will go on without the human race. Radioactive and devoid of life perhaps, but the earth will keep spinning, serving as both a curiosity and a warning for alien civilizations that may someday encounter our remains. Or, sanity may yet prevail. But the bizarre actions that continue to originate out of the White House sometimes make that seem like wishful thinking.

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