Talk of War, Words of Peace
By Jerry King
Ever-spiraling angry threats between the White House and spokespeople for North Korea have dominated our attention these past several days. Does the President hope to intimidate Kim Jong Un into compliance, to leverage China’s intervention, to fire up his base, all of the above? Meanwhile some have described the President’s rhetoric as fair and plain-spoken warning, but others as reckless and counter-productive – exacerbating circumstances fraught with the risk of escalating hostilities between two unpredictable personalities. Late last week the President even hinted that he could consider military intervention in Venezuela. Even though some Americans encourage that kind of posturing, calmer voices here and among global partners assure us that war with North Korea is not so close at hand and that quiet diplomacy remains not only the safest path forward but the one most likely to get desired results.
So, good, we can step back and take a deep breath. But we do have actual damage to contend with. White House credibility at home and internationally has suffered another insult, and Americans who are vulnerable to messages of fear and divisiveness are hearing again from the President that their hatred is justified.
Whether in times of peace, war or talk of war, it’s good and right that we reaffirm our faith in the power of the people’s voice and in that to express a core belief that, even though we might take it for granted, must be spoken: In whole, the people of North Korea are no less valued, good, deserving than we are. Neither the people of North Korea – nor of Russia nor Syria are our enemies, and we are not their enemies. We are each of us and altogether sacred. Not one of us less so than another.