The Hon. Kim Jong Un
The Great Successor
Sun of the 21st Century
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Marshal of the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea
Pyongyang, North Korea
Dear Mr. Kim:
I write to congratulate you on the occasion of your late grandfather’s 105th birthday. I heard about the difficulties you had with the missile this weekend, but be assured that the launch was cheered by thousands of Muslims in Jersey City.
Please forgive the impersonal nature of this correspondence, but a matter of this urgency cannot be left to the North Korean postal system. The world is the closest it has been to nuclear war in 55 years, and I wanted to caution you that the man with whom you are now eyeball to eyeball could be as mad as a March hare.
Jong (if I may, or do you prefer Little Un?), you yourself are known to be a bit nutty, or, as John McCain calls you, a “crazy fat kid.” That’s why we were so quick to believe that you fed your uncle to dogs a few years ago. For years, American presidents left you and your father in power because they didn’t want the bother of a war. But that was then.
President Trump has been practicing the “madman theory,” which your family has used well: If people think you are insane, they’ll give you a wide berth. But Trump does such a convincing job portraying a madman that he might actually be a madman. It may surprise you to hear me say that, but here in America we can criticize our leader without fear that our coffee will be poisoned and we will keel over onto our 8jmkiuh9tr5f44444444444444444444444444444444u
Kidding! The point is we don’t know if he’s bluffing or if he’s crazy. And neither do you.
Little Un, if you think this American president is stable like his predecessors, I refer you to his Twitter account. He has sent 13,321 tweets with exclamation points, 864 tweets with two exclamation points, 432 with three, 146 with four and 57 with five (the last one, in August: “#WheresHillary? Sleeping!!!!!”). Trump’s single greatest exclamation in recent years – 15 points – was in 2014: “This cannot be the the (sic) Academy Awards #Oscars AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Now he’s turning his punctuation on you. Until the past couple of years, the extent of his public commentary on your country was to say he wouldn’t go. “Dennis Rodman was either drunk or on drugs (delusional) when he said I wanted to go to North Korea with him. Glad I fired him on Apprentice!” he tweeted in 2014.
But this time Trump is in a position to fire missiles, not the former Chicago Bulls forward. And he has been treating the crisis with the gravity we’ve come to expect from him. At the White House Easter Egg Roll, where he was joined by the Easter Bunny, Trump said North Korea “gotta behave” and, if not, “you’ll see.” There is still a chance that his advisers will talk him down. The most sensible one is Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. His nickname: “Mad Dog.”
Americans, though concerned about the nuclear standoff, have been paying more attention to an election in Georgia for one of 435 seats in Congress, and to a lawsuit filed by a white nationalist claiming Trump’s language incited him to violence. And this gives me an idea.
Jong, if you really want to go after Trump, do it the American way: File a lawsuit. True, he has been sued hundreds of times, but yours would be special, because you could claim that his words and actions incited you to build and test missiles and weapons capable of unspeakable violence. You would be following in the footsteps of a revered American, Paula Jones, whose lawsuit against President Bill Clinton won a substantial payout and helped pave the way for his impeachment.
You would, I’m afraid, have to give up your nuclear arsenal to pursue this course, but Trump could afford to settle with you for significantly more than Clinton paid Jones. Also, I know from Seth Rogen and James Franco that you admire Katy Perry and margaritas. I can’t promise, but it’s possible that if you renounced your nuclear weapons and sued Trump instead, Perry might perform for you. And I would share my secret margarita recipe.
Please consider this peaceful alternative. Should you stay your current course, nobody knows what Trump might do. Not even Trump.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.