Great news, everybody: We’re all going to die!
I suppose dying is something we all have to do eventually, but I’m talking about a kind of dying that comes on more quickly and unnaturally than we generally expect. Dying of the swift-and-widespread-incineration variety. The kind of dying one might expect when two unhinged narcissists who happen to lead nuclear-armed countries get into an “I’m-tougher-than-you” standoff.
That’s where we are at the moment, following news that North Korea – led by man-baby Kim Jong Un – has developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside a missile that could theoretically reach the United States, a country presently led by older man-baby Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, Trump responded to news of North Korea’s expanded nuclear capability in the measured and reasoned voice we have come to expect from our leader – Just kidding. He said this: “North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
That is classic military strategy pulled from the best-selling book, “101 Very Bad Ways to Deal with a Clearly Insane Nuclear-Armed Dictator.” And it reaffirms my sincere belief that President Trump’s mouth is a greater threat to America than North Korea could ever hope to be.
Politico quoted Siegfried Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and a nuclear expert who has studied North Korea, saying: “The greatest North Korean threat we face is not from a nuclear-tipped missile hitting the U.S. mainland but from Washington stumbling into an inadvertent nuclear war on the Korean peninsula. The president’s statements exacerbate” such concerns.
Without question, North Korea is a threat, but drawing a line in the sand and effectively saying, “If you threaten us again, we'll nuke you into the Dark Ages” is as feckless as it is dumb. It’s also exactly the sort of thing North Korea’s supreme leader does routinely, and that’s not a leadership model the United States should embrace.
Predictably, North Korea responded to Trump’s bluster with more saber-rattling, threatening to blow up Guam, a U.S. territory that is within range of a North Korean rocket attack.
So now, our realtor-in-chief has the people of Guam – including many U.S. service members and their families – wondering if they’re a target while the people of South Korea and Japan and most of the rest of the world fret, wondering if one or both of these insecure men might be crazy enough to start a nuclear war.
Which leads us back to the whole “we’re all going to die” thing.
I’m hopeful cooler heads in our military and government will prevail. Or maybe, just maybe, Republicans in Congress will realize the Faustian bargain they made by getting into bed with Trump isn’t worth both a failed agenda AND a nuclear winter.
But hope hasn’t gotten me far lately, so I figure we should prepare for the worst. Because I care about humanity, I'll share a few essential tips from my unpublished advice pamphlet, “How to Prepare for Donald Trump’s Mouth Apocalypse.”
1) Stop all dieting. You'll want to store some weight before the food shortages and, if you’re in the blast zone, the pounds will just melt away anyway.
2) Befriend a survivalist. Sure, they’re nutty and will probably never stop telling you how the fluoridation of tap water led to government mind control, but they might let you into their bunkers or share some of their potted meats.
3) Locate the homes of friends or neighbors who cast votes for Green Party candidate Jill Stein or Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. During the fallout, those are the people you'll want to eat first.
4) Ask your yoga instructor if there are any poses specifically aimed at balancing your chakras while also preventing you from being consumed by fire.
5) Buy duct tape. I’m not sure why, it just always seems like a good idea.
6) Purchase a Make America Great Again hat to wear ironically as you drive through our post-apocalyptic hellscape in search of potable water. It will look edgy.
I hope those suggestions offer some assistance in the stressful days to come. And if you think I’m being an alarmist, remember the words one Donald J. Trump actually tweeted back in August 2013: “Be prepared, there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III.”
The man is nothing if not tragically prescient.
Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.