Appearing as a madman is actually a well-known foreign policy strategy that originates out of game theory. But can both Trump and Kim Jong-Un play the same game?
Trump and Kim Jong-Un are like angry kids vying to be the biggest bully on the block and they are threatening to take us all down with them. Early Wednesday morning local Korea time, Korea announced they were “carefully examining” a plan to strike Guam. Guam is a U.S. territory and home to multiple U.S. military bases. Korea specifies Guam because it’s home to U.S. bombers that regularly fly over South Korea and are accompanied by Japanese and South Korean jets. North Korea views these flights as threats.
The North Korean statement came hours after Trump’s earlier vow to meet any North Korean threat with “fire and fury” unlike anything the world has seen before. Tensions have been escalating between the U.S. and North Korea since Trump took office. Both Trump and Kim Jong-Un seem to appear to suffer from the same desire to appear the strongest and craziest leader of them all.
Appearing as a madman is actually a well-known foreign policy strategy that originates out of game theory. The gist is the crazier and more reckless a country appears the more threatening it seems to other countries. Hence, statements by North Korea (and now also by Trump) that may appear outlandish and a bit crazy to the outside world are actually well thought out examples of the madman strategy. Nixon and Kissinger were both proponents of the madman strategy. The problem we now seem to have is two leaders playing the same madman card.
There is a perfectly rational solution which North Korea seems likely to agree to but the United States is refusing to meet on. The proposal is the United States stops conducting military drills on the Korean border. The drills simulate attacks on North Korea and even simulated invading North Korea and taking out Kim Jong-Un this year. In exchange North Korea would freeze their nuclear program. A quote in The Diplomat by the North Korean ambassador to India suggests North Korea would agree to the deal.
“Under certain circumstances, we are willing to talk in terms of freezing nuclear testing or missile testing. For instance, if the American side completely stops big, large-scale military exercises temporarily or permanently, then we will also temporarily stop,” said Kye Chun-yong.
This same deal has been proposed multiple times before. Each time it seems North Korea appears willing to commit to the deal while the United States often refuses to even respond to the proposal. The deal is a perfectly rational proposal that seems desperately needed in these heated times.
For the sake of both the people of the United States and the people of North and South Korea, Trump and Km Jong-Un please just stop with the antics. You’re scaring us.