If President Trump is embracing the Richard Nixon model of “madman foreign policy,” he is doing one hell of a job. Unfortunately for us, this is not 1972. We’re not dealing with the Soviets who were all-in on the theory that mutually assured destruction would keep the peace. Trump’s obsession with “size” could very well lead us into war with a guy who is an actual madman (assuming Trump is not, and that’s not a safe assumption).
The latest Trump “size matters” contestant is North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who remarked that he has a nuclear button on his desk. Not to be outdone, Trump made clear his nuclear button is, well, bigger.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
For the record, there are no such things as “nuclear buttons.” There are codes which require a bit more than leaning over, whacking a big, red, round button as have a deep voice say, “That was easy…world destroyed.”
Aside from the fact that the president of the United States looks like a petulant eight-year old, this is not a one-off. In fact, Trump has been obsessed with the size of things his entire life.
• The infamous, low point in modern political campaigns when Trump deemed it necessary to defend the size of his manhood in a nationally televised debate.
• The repeated claims that the Republican tax cut bill is “the biggest tax cut ever.” Trump has made that claim some 53 times. Even the Treasury Department says it’s the eight biggest at best.
• The president has consistently inflated his true net worth. The Trump company claims nearly $10 billion in annual revenue. But financial disclosure forms indicate that the company only generates between $600 million and $700 million in annual revenue, less than one-tenth what they claim, according to the Washington Post. Of course, we don’t know for sure because Trump refuses to release his tax returns.
• Just how tall is the Trump Tower? Trump and his company continue to falsely claim that there are 68. There are only 58. He says that his personal penthouse there is 33,000 square feet, but Forbes checked land records and it’s only 10,996.
• How many Electoral College votes? After the election, Trump continually claimed he had “the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.” In fact, Obama won more electoral votes in both of his elections. So did Bill Clinton in 1996 and 1992. And George H.W. Bush in 1988. Trump’s electoral college victory actually ranks 46th in 58 elections, according to numbers published by the Post.
The problem with the “madman theory” is it doesn’t quite work if the guy on the other side of the nuclear table is an actually a madman. Kim Jong Un is motivated by self-preservation. If he feels like his back is against the wall, he could very well snap. And then, the buttons get pushed.