Donald Trump is a notorious misogynist, bigot and liar who stands accused of sexual assault and was caught on tape bragging about vile and abusive behaviour. He met Kim Jong-un in a landmark summit today, but we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking they are equals.
It came to pass, the world’s two worst hairdos faced off and the fat men shook hands. The grotesques who have the power to forge peace or ruin the world sized each other up. Twelve red, white and blue flags (six of the United States of America, six of the Democratic People’s Republic) above the red carpet showed not only how far North Korea has risen with the aid of nuclear weapons, but of how far the US has fallen. If you’re reading this, it means we’re not all dead.
For all the US President’s ability to tarnish his country and drag his office into the muck, his North Korean counterpart is a serial murderer who rules a nation of 25.4 million as a criminal empire. Lest we all fall for the idea the thirtysomething Kim is a cuddlier and more modern iteration of the despots that came before him, we should remember he had his uncle and half-brother murdered in stunning, public fashion to cement his authority. He rules over a virtual prison, and while some economic gains have been made under his leadership, the average North Korean has few freedoms and lives under the very real threat of being sent to gulags or executed for slights (real or imagined) against the regime.
Trump might wish he had such power, and his unhealthy enthusiasm for strongmen is well documented, but doesn’t. Yet.