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Something very dangerous is in the air

Worrying: President Donald Trump

There are always various types of viruses floating about that include the flu, which at times can have a significant effect on people, especially those with respiratory issues.

Each year around the world, including Bermuda, there are vaccination programmes aimed at protecting the vulnerable. At least medical advances have provided a way for us to defend ourselves against a virus that presents a challenge as the cooler weather approaches.

However, there is something else in the air these days that is causing concern around the world, and it has nothing to do with viruses. Instead, it has much to with the state of mind of two world leaders, and whether the fate of millions on Earth is at grave risk, since both have nuclear capabilities and most military experts warn against any button pushing that could lead to indescribable devastation.

When Donald Trump, the President of the United States, went before the United Nations recently and openly declared that America would destroy North Korea — if forced to defend itself or its allies — the remark sent heated rhetoric between the two nations to new levels of significant concern.

A North Korean official at the UN took issue with Trump’s remarks, telling the assembly that Trump had committed an irreversible error in that statement, and cautioning that it is now that the US mainland could be targeted for a strike from his country.

What has startled many political observers in America, and indeed in many countries, was that such a statement from Trump was in poor taste and was not diplomatically tactful in light of the unpredictability of Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, who vowed to make him pay dearly for threatening his country.

Wile most of these exchanges do little to lower tension between the countries, veteran political observers are not quite ready for a mad dash to the hills. However, such bitter threats between rival powers with nuclear capabilities should never be taken lightly. It is obvious that America has the military might to crush North Korea, but most military experts know it would not be without consequences for millions in the region.

Even more perplexing is that there should even be such hateful exchanges when millions in different parts of the world suffer greatly from starvation and homelessness, and exist in constant fear of evil regimes that use any means necessary to maintain power. The death toll continues to expand as people seek escape in boats that are no match for the might of the ocean. With each lost vessel, another chapter of human loss enters the pages of history.

Enter the power of nature, in the form of giant hurricanes that totally wrecked Puerto Rico, and left parts of Florida badly flooded after ripping into the Caribbean, leaving some islands in complete ruin. Hurricanes Irma and Maria left a trail of broken lives that could take years to rebuild.

Just when it looked as though the worst had occurred, a major earthquake struck parts of Mexico with crumbling buildings burying people including a school with children. Heroic efforts by rescue workers, who disregarded their own safety, managed to pull some people from the twisted metal and concrete alive.

Again, it will take years to recover from such devastation.

Most Americans and, indeed, most people globally who look to America for stable and sound leadership from the Oval Office during tough times were stunned to see the President still obsessed daily with tweeting about anything or anyone that he was in disagreement with. In the eyes of many outside Trump’s support base, being presidential on sensitive matters is not on his agenda.

Thumbing his nose at anyone or group in a manner described by respected journalists as political bullying tactics is giving rise to speculation that the real danger is that his judgment is terribly flawed. If that is true, the possibility of making a hasty decision without proper thought becomes critical when nuclear weapons are involved.

Badly chosen words by any leader that could cause military conflict is worrisome because the consequences often mean innocent people suffer.

With the world on edge over tensions between North Korea and America, that Trump would find time to have a verbal clash with the National Football League over a player protest on social injustice is almost incomprehensible. The President’s role should always be to find ways of bringing people together, and refraining from comments that promote divisiveness.

All this, against the backdrop of a potential nuclear conflict with North Korea, can mean only one thing: unless the US President is able to take a deep breath and embrace views outside of his perception, there will be danger in the air — should the unthinkable unfold, Mother Nature this time will be a mere witness.