fire and fury
War

The Apocalypse of Donald: “Fire and fury like the world has never seen”

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” warned President Trump. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” he threatened, pitching cosmic catastrophe against the dragons and beasts of Pyongyang. And there will be battles and blood, murder and martyrs, a vision of violence as bowls of judgment are poured out on the earth while the multitudes cry out on the hills for salvation.

When the only country in the history of the world to have used nuclear bombs threatens another country with “fire and fury like the world has never seen”, we must assume that they are brandishing bigger bombs than those which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Earth-shattering thunder and blinding light. This would be the end of existence for millions, and a living death for millions more. It is an apocalypse too fearful and frightful to contemplate, yet contemplate it we must, for it is not a science fiction nightmare but a very real possibility of unprecedented destruction and suffering; even the end of civilisation. And there is no transcendent joy to be transported to; no being caught up in the third heaven to receive visions of radiance; no Wedding Feast of the Lamb to dispel the horrors of a demon-infested wasteland. There is only the beast and the dragon: Kim Jong-un and his arsenal of nuclear-charged ICBMs.

This is Satan’s lair, led by sinister demon-puppet. It is the most hostile culture on earth; the supreme hater and destroyer of Christians, who are “hung on a cross over a fire, crushed under a steamroller, herded off bridges and trampled underfoot”. There is “extra-judicial killing, extermination, enslavement/forced labor, forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance, rape and sexual violence, and other inhumane acts”. World Watch List Rank: 1. Main Religion: Atheism. Government: Communist dictatorship. Source of Persecution: Dictatorial paranoia. North Korea is a sea of diabolical godlessness.

And God has chosen Donald Trump to speak a very loud revelation of conviction; a ministry of fire and fury word-pictures in which good and evil are brought nearer to those who have ears to hear or hearts that will listen. The words aren’t meant to be studied for rationality or reason: they are apocalyptic, devoid of intellectual logic but charged with dramatic significance. You can’t fathom a symphony of lines and dots: it must be experienced first-hand and felt in the soul, like the visions of God. And God attends and cares. Why else would there be silence in heaven to receive the prayers of the saints?

People of the earth have a choice: they either worship and honour Christ by laying down their lives, or they destroy themselves by worshipping the beast. ‘He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth‘ (Lk 11:23). The trump sounds, and there comes a voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues‘ (Rev 18:4). Discipleship is starkly black and white, for the present age is evil, dark and without meaning. The only salvation lies in the jasper, carnelian, emerald and sapphire of revelation.

The Apocalypse of Donald is not mindless or careless or mad: it is purposely and purposefully incendiary – it sets ablaze the imagination and boils the fat out of an obese culture of politically-correct pontifications and interminably immoral compromises. There is good and evil; love and hate; war and peace; truth and lies; purity and perversion.

And there is heaven and hell.

His theme is liberation, if not quite salvation. If you think otherwise, put yourselves into the shoes of the suffering Christians of North Korea, and speak to them of the need to sup with Satan ‘for the greater good of mankind’. You can’t ask why God doesn’t do something about the present evil and then despair when he raises up leaders who threaten to do something with fire and fury. If you think the Apocalypse of Donald offends against rationality, you need to contemplate the Apocalypse of St John with its judgments heaped on judgments and Satan storming heaven, and where the only Christians seem to be martyrs who have suffered untold horrors and wept day and night in service of their Lord.

God has chosen a side, and it is His vision of empowerment which sustains the oppressed, destitute and persecuted. And that empowerment comes from words which fire the imagination and forge our faith. If we cannot imagine, we cannot see the images that are supposed to keep us ‘steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord‘ (1Cor 15:58). We will not recognise the imperial cult of the beast, the harlot and the false prophet. You can’t discern holiness in darkness.

Kim Jong-un will be judged by God, and so will Donald Trump. Both will be found wanting, for both have sinned. But you had better hope that any judgment meted out on earth consigns Kim Jong-un to oblivion, or our short-range prayers will turn to long-term despair, and the martyrs will go on chanting their hymns of tribulation.

God has a purpose in history: there is a dawn of hope in the seemingly interminable darkness of tragedy and suffering. He speaks into wars and rumours of wars, and enters into our conflict-ridden life with more power than a billion nuclear bombs. ‘Be still, and know that I am God,’ He whispers, as all of creation moans. There is a moment of stillness in which He is felt to rule everything. It is not yet seen, but the day will come. The Lamb will triumph even though the harlot appears to reign supreme and Satan’s work flourishes.

  • Ray Spring

    What to do? The madman and his hangers on, North Korean version, are pretty violent. Even had his half-brother murdered in Bangkok. Do you remember that episode?
    How do you negotiate with them?
    I was in Church last Sunday. The young man was off to one of the Middle East countries, following orders. He is in the military. What was the point of sending him? His wife was upset, he was too. A futile posting, there is no solution to that particular lot of trouble.
    But what to do about N Korea? I have no idea.

    • Manfarang

      The killing took place at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. In a statement, Malaysian police said the dead man, 46, held a passport under the name Kim Chol.
      Kim Jong Nam has been caught in the past using forged travel documents.

      • Ray Spring

        Many thanks for the correction. Being half-brother to the madman was obviously a bit of a problem

  • Albert

    The whole situation is a nightmare, and it is hard to see the right course. But this struck me as odd:

    His theme is liberation, if not quite salvation. If you think otherwise, put yourselves into the shoes of the suffering Christians of North Korea, and speak to them of the need to sup with Satan ‘for the greater good of mankind’.

    Because the OP had just said

    When the only country in the history of the world to have used nuclear bombs threatens another country with “fire and fury like the world has never seen”, we must assume that they are brandishing bigger bombs than those which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Earth-shattering thunder and blinding light. This would be the end of existence for millions, and a living death for millions more. It is an apocalypse too fearful and frightful to contemplate, yet contemplate it we must, for it is not a science fiction nightmare but a very real possibility of unprecedented destruction and suffering;

    There’s a contradiction here. If Trump nukes them, the North Koreans die in their millions (to say nothing of anyone else) if he doesn’t, the North Koreans are left in a state of “extra-judicial killing, extermination, enslavement/forced labor, forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance, rape and sexual violence, and other inhumane acts”.

    Now I can quite see how nuking the North Koreans serves the greater good of the world, if it consigns “Kim Jong-un to oblivion”, but I fail to see how it is in their interest, even if not killing them in their millions leaves them to a fate of “extra-judicial killing, extermination, enslavement/forced labor, forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance, rape and sexual violence, and other inhumane acts”.

    Perhaps it’s a matter of preference, but I’m going to guess, most people will choose life, when given the choice between life and death, even if life is dreadful.

  • Maalaistollo

    It is to be hoped that enough of those grinning chaps with the big hats will be so put off the idea of being fried that they will arrange to bump off the Fat One before things deteriorate further.

  • Perhaps God has chosen Donald Trump. Perhaps he’s a contemporary Shalmaneser or Nebuchadnezzar, God’s servant to punish the unrighteousness nations. Yet we must remember that these too we’re not guiltless and God judges them in turn for hubris, excessive violence, and cruelty in carrying out his will.

    One thing we can confidently say, the world will not end with nuclear conflagration. It will end with the return of Christ to judge the nations and the destruction not simply of small powers like N Korea but also of the super- power of the Anti-Christ, a power that has united Nations ( for a time) persuading them of its virtues though it is built on the slavery and blood of men and will have begun to implode just prior to Christ’s return.

    In all of this the army of the lamb conquer through sacrifice; Islam (and atheism) takes the lives of others while Christians lay down their lives, loving them not unto death. Easy words for me in my context today but words that nerve believers in North Korea today as they look and long for the coming of the day of God.

  • IanCad

    It has been wisely said that the Americans can always be relied on to do the right thing – After they have tried everything else.
    Such could be the case here. As with the father, so with the son. The Kims have practised and honed the arts of aggressiveness, brinksmanship and bellicosity, the latter being the chief characteristic of the bully.
    Bullies are cowards and prosper only in the face of subservience, compromise and civility. This has been the policy of the USA (and the world) towards N. Korea; sure, there has been a little sabre rattling now and again, but of such infrequency and half-heartedness as to be easily dismissed by the consistently outrageous Kims.
    So now we see tyranny countered with power. Massive, dreadful power. Power the N. Koreans will understand to be capable of ending their lives. Most of them will not like the prospect of being made dead. Not just the peasant – the elites – those military bigwigs who may be stirred to take down young Kim.
    We can hope.
    In the meantime my prayers will be for the four winds of strife to be held back a little longer.

  • CliveM

    Kim Jong Un doesn’t come across as a brave and courageous individual. Paranoid, frightened and desperate yes, but not brave. For all his bravado, he is not going to attack the US or its interests militarily. He knows he would lose and the best he could hope for would be capture by the Americans before his own people ripped him apart.

    If this was any President other then Trump, Kim’s pathetic posturing would be ignored. But it isn’t and he introduces another element of instability and uncertainty. All of which further feeds into NK paranoia.

    Those supporting the regime don’t want war. They have too much to lose. China doesn’t want war, they should get together and sort it.

    The only way there will be war is if a frightened fat man is pushed into a corner he can’t handle and believes he has only one option left. He needs to go.

    • Albert

      Kim’s main aim is surely to stay in power. That aim is not served by taking on the US.

      • CliveM

        Yes, I meant to imply that as well!

      • DespiteBrexit

        It assumes that he is rational and/or is satisfied with what he has. Hitler could probably have stayed in power had he not decided to subjugate the whole of Europe and stuck with – say – Anschluss.

        • Albert

          This is the key point: is Kim rational or not? If he is, then he’s probably not really a threat. His purpose in getting and showing all these weapons is to ensure that what happened to Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi doesn’t happen to him. And that strategy will probably work. If he isn’t rational, then we all have to decide whether we are glad or worried that a man as unwilling to look weak as Trump is in office.

    • DespiteBrexit

      “If this was any President other then Trump, Kim’s pathetic posturing would be ignored.”

      I don’t think that’s true. NK has been of increasing concern to the US for at least a decade, with the US being fully aware that – given the proximity of Seoul and the psychopathic nature of NK’s leaders – the cure could be worse than the disease. Hoping the problem would go away is therefore an understandable reaction, although with the benefit of hindsight (a wonderful gift) kicking the can down the road has just made the problem worse.

      Reportedly Obama told Trump that NK would be by far his biggest foreign policy problem. Not Russia. Not China’s expansive ambitions. NK.

  • John

    In North Korea and America
    There’s a growing feeling of hysteria,
    Conditioned to respond to Kim and his gang
    And incendiary speeches from Pyonyang.
    Kim Yong-un has said, “We will bury you.”
    I don’t subscribe to this point of view.
    It’d be such an ignorant thing to do
    If the North Koreans love their children too.
    How can I save my little boy
    From Oppenheimer’s deadly toy?
    There is no monopoly on common sense
    On either side of the political fence.
    We share the same biology,
    Regardless of ideology.
    Believe me when I say to you,
    I hope the North Koreans love their children too.

    There is no historical precedent
    To put the words in the mouth of the president.
    There’s no such thing as a winnable war,
    It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore.
    President Trump says, “We will protect you.”
    I don’t subscribe to this point of view.
    Believe me when I say to you,
    I hope the North Koreans love their children too
    We share the same biology,
    Regardless of ideology.
    But what might save us, me and you,
    Is if the North Koreans love their children too.

    With apologies to Sting.

    • dannybhoy

      “Is if the North Koreans love their children too.”
      By which you mean if the leadership love their children.
      The ordinary suffering citizens of this hell on earth have no say in the matter…

    • Sarky

      Just sting???

  • David

    This is a Bonhoeffer type situation. Bonhoeffer was perhaps the greatest protestant theologian of the 20th century. He refused to join Hitler’s false “Christian Church” and support the conquest, subjugation and destruction of others. After months of examining his conscience he decided that Hitler needed to be killed, as a moral gesture to save countless millions. He and his group tried and unfortunately, failed. That brave man was executed, horribly. This is a similar moment. China needs to address the problem in the only way that will spare the lives of millions of innocent Koreans, both north and south. Fat Boy needs to be removed.

    • Albert

      There’s some truth in this, and I’ve never understood Bonhoeffer’s belief that what he was doing was wrong but he needed to do it anyway. The trouble with the nuclear option is that it doesn’t just target Kim, it targets potentially, millions. I am sure that Bonhoeffer would not support that.

      • I agree. Bonhoeffer was brace but his action in attempting Hitler’s assignation was not Christian. Christians are subject to governments, even evil governments; only if asked to do something wrong do they resist and the resistance has no element of regime overthrow it is simply refusal to do what is demanded.

        God’s kingdom is not of this world else would his servants fight.

        • David

          “but his action in attempting Hitker’s assignation (assassination?) was not Christian”.
          I disagree. But then I am not a pacifist. Christians should seek peace. However evil exists and needs to be confronted, in extremis with physical force. To be passive is to allow evil to destroy the weak.

          • There is a world of a difference between refusing to obey a law that is wrong and overthrowing a government.

        • Merchantman

          By your logic and the underpinning ideology: So in 1940 Churchill and 48m Britons should have bent the knee and worshipped the beast. This is strange because today according to Guardianista- wishy- washism we are all under condemnation and judged guilty for being ‘participants’ in the horrors perpetrated by our racial cousins the Germans. But Britain didn’t bend the knee.
          I those circumstances have I got news for you JT; we plead not guilty.

          • See following note. I am not influenced in my thinking by current political ideologies but by biblical instruction. Further, C1 Christians who submitted to Caesar did not worship Caesar; their loyalty to Christ meant they refused emperor worship and paid the price. There is a clear and definite line here that ought not be crossed.

          • Albert

            I’m really not sure about all this. Jesus says “judge not” but Government judges all the time, and this is right. Thus there seems to be some kind of distinction going on between a personally unwillingness to (say) take vengeance, and the need to establish justice.

          • Dominic Stockford

            ‘Judge not’ refers to not using *our* standards for judgement. If we judge we are to do so using God’s standards. Just as I desire to be judged by his truth.

          • Albert

            I wonder if that’s what it means. For Jesus immediately says:

            For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.

            I.e. if I judge severely, I will be severely judged.

            And I am not sure that we can judge by God’s standards for he says:

            For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways

          • No, it is a warning against censoriousness, and a critical spirit.

          • There are State established means of administering justice. A judge upholds justice. He may even pass a death sentence. In this he does not act as an individual but as a servant of the government. He has God given authority to do officially what he has no authority to do personally.

            In the OT justice was ‘an eye for an eye’ or the principle of equivalence. It is a principle of OT law that God applies throughout the prophets. If the people made God jealous then he will make them jealous. Again and again the prophets speak of Israel receiving double (equivalent) for all her sins.

            ‘Judge not’ was not a warning against evaluating or assessing but a warning against judgementalism, a cersorious, critical spirit. It has nothing to do with the judiciary. Church leaders must make judgements in the church but like in society the leader is acting in his official role and not merely personally.

            So yes, God makes room for societal justice, even international justice. But he never condones individuals taking the law into their own hands and administering justice. And he especially does not expect his people to so do.

          • Albert

            But he never condones individuals taking the law into their own hand

            An unjust law is no law at all, and an individual has the duty to protect others from unjust behaviour.

          • I don’t agree. There were many unjust Roman taxes and unjust Roman atrocities. It was not the duty of the Christian to challenge these. Just as it is not the duty of Christians or even non-Christians in N Korea to challenge the unjust laws of the regime. Only living in a democratic country which has a high level of tolerance gives you the luxury to suggest this. To do so in some countries invites certain death. Christians are called to live ‘quiet’ lives.

            In democratic countries there are legitimate means of challenging unjust laws. However, it is one thing to challenge an unjust law it is another to overthrow a government and assassinate its office bearers.

            The challenge the Christian has a duty to bring is the challenge of the gospel. This will of course uncover unjust behaviour but the solution called for is for repentance and faith.

          • Albert

            I don’t agree. There were many unjust Roman taxes and unjust Roman atrocities. It was not the duty of the Christian to challenge these.

            That doesn’t follow to your conclusion. No one has a duty to do something that they have no power over. Therefore, since the Church in the NT never had the power to do anything about the injustices of the state, the Church did not have any duty about it. The argument from silence therefore proves nothing, I’m afraid.

            Just as it is not the duty of Christians or even non-Christians in N Korea to challenge the unjust laws of the regime.

            An unjust law is no law. Jesus says render unto Caesar the things which are Caesars. But the right to impose an unjust law, does not belong to Caesar, so he has no right to impose it, and Christians have a duty not to follow it. However, it is probably the case that N Korean Christians are in much the same position as the NT, so I doubt there is a duty here.

            In democratic countries there are legitimate means of challenging unjust laws. However, it is one thing to challenge an unjust law it is another to overthrow a government and assassinate its office bearers.

            If the office bearers are murderers “Dress’d in a little brief authority” then assuredly that could be justified, since the forfeit their authority when they misuse it. In such a situation, a Christian is to follow God not men.

            In the OT there are heroes who overthrow unjust Governments, and they are approved in the NT.

          • But Christ had the power. It was simply not the way of the cross. In any case duty is based on relationships not ability. We have the duty to be perfect but not the ability. Nor is it an argument from silence which by the way is better than no biblical case at all. However, it is not merely an argument from silence, Paul refused to get involved in judging situations and people outside the church. 1 Cor 5. Jesus asked who made him a judge and arbiter when some attempted to set him up as such.

            God did command Israel to take Palestine and destroy the Canaanites who were morally depraved. This however is a dangerous example to use to justify invading other countries. This was a holy war. However, normally the call was to submit to the ruler even bad rulers.

            Where is the moral legitimacy of the new government which has overthrown the old. Scripture speaks plainly and absolutely,

            (NIV) The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
            6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

            This was written to people living in Rome under Roman rule, hardly a shining example of benign rule. They are told to submit not because it was futile to do other but because the power was God’s servant; to disobey it was to challenge God.

          • Albert

            But Christ had the power. It was simply not the way of the cross.

            Just a moment, you can’t always infer from Christ didn’t do X to therefore, we shouldn’t do X. Christ did not spread the Gospel to the Gentiles. He calls us to do so. His vocation was to go to the cross to save the world. That was far more important than resisting injustice. But saving the world is not in our power, so our vocation is different.

            We have the duty to be perfect but not the ability.

            We are called to be perfect, and since it is not in practice in our power to be perfect, Christ gives us the grace. It is possible with grace.

            Yours is an argument from silence, for every time you appeal to the NT, as you have here, I will say that the duty did not exist then: they had no power and they had other priories.

            God did command Israel to take Palestine and destroy the Canaanites who were morally depraved. This however is a dangerous example to use to justify invading other countries. This was a holy war.

            Just a moment. I am not at all sure that military action against North Korea is a good idea – in fact my original post was rather arguing against that. However, the example you cite shows precisely that there is authority in principle to attack governments that are no less legitimate than North Korea.

            However, normally the call was to submit to the ruler even bad rulers.

            The key word there is “normally”, it implies there are situations in which submission may not be required. I’m not suggesting revolution is the norm. But Bonhoeffer being involved in the attempt to assassinate Hitler, was hardly a normal situation.

            Where is the moral legitimacy of the new government which has overthrown the old.

            From natural law, which is reflection of God’s law. Without that, there is no legitimacy.

            For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.

            And when rulers are a terror to those who do right but not to those who do wrong? The passage just does not apply in Bonhoeffer’s situation.

            They are told to submit not because it was futile to do other but because the power was God’s servant; to disobey it was to challenge God.

            How can challenging an unjust authority challenge God? We are to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and as you have already indicated, the OT does have examples of where people have the power, justly overturning unjust authority.

          • Christ is our example in passive reaction to persecution or unjust government.

            Unbelievers are called to live righteous lives but cannot do so.

            Israel was only justified in attacking The Canaanites because God gave them specific instructions to do so. They were told to wipe them out completely. So Trump may nuke N Korea?

            Every government could be overthrown if natural law justified revolution. Every government acts to some degree unjustly.

            Again Paul speaks of ‘all’ authorities not just benign ones. Rome was anything but benign.

            Paul sees even unjust authorities as ordained by God; when we overthrow the authority we overthrow what God has put in place.

          • Albert

            Christ is our example in passive reaction to persecution or unjust government.

            At a personal level, that is true. But if you apply your principles thoroughly, you would be a pacifist, or you will appeal to the cleansing of the Temple, which will concede the point, I would think.

            Unbelievers are called to live righteous lives but cannot do so.

            But the Bible says

            I can do all things in him who strengthens me.

            You say:

            Israel was only justified in attacking The Canaanites because God gave them specific instructions to do so. They were told to wipe them out completely. So Trump may nuke N Korea?

            The first sentence is not clearly deduced from scripture. Certainly, God gave them specific instructions, but one could say that therefore his people are entitled to over turn unjust governments. It is just that principle that is at stake. Clearly different governments will need to measured by different standards. The Canaanites were wicked as a people – child sacrifice etc. That does not appear to be the case with N Korea, rather, in that case, the Government is wicked, and the people seem its victims.

            Every government could be overthrown if natural law justified revolution. Every government acts to some degree unjustly.

            Certainly, but your question was about where the new government gained its authority. Insofar as it acts unjustly it has no authority. That does not mean it can be overturned, for there are other issues to consider – just as a just cause for war does not of itself make a war just. However, it is a sine qua non.

            Again Paul speaks of ‘all’ authorities not just benign ones. Rome was anything but benign.

            I have already explained two reasons why the NT is dealing with a situation different from our own.

            Paul sees even unjust authorities as ordained by God; when we overthrow the authority we overthrow what God has put in place.

            The authority certainly, but not the authority bearer. He has authority only insofar as he acts in the place of God, i.e. justly.

          • I think the power that abuses authority still has authority. We are to respect its God given authority and leave it to God to judge it for abuses. The same applies to parents and employers. Christians are called to respect and obey not only good parents and good employers but those who are poor even bad parents and employers. It is the office that carries authority.

            On your last point the authority and authority bearer are one. It is not simply abstract authority that is to be valued but the authorities themselves, those who rule and their rule. The Texts I cited seem to me to be very clear in this. Cf Eph 5, 6 for a similar story regarding husbands, parents, employers.

          • Albert

            I think the power that abuses authority still has authority. We are to respect its God given authority and leave it to God to judge it for abuses. The same applies to parents and employers. Christians are called to respect and obey not only good parents and good employers but those who are poor even bad parents and employers. It is the office that carries authority.

            I think that causes Christians to collude in evil, which can never be right. Furthermore, if the government has gained power unjustly, they are subject to your objection – i.e. they are not the legitimate authority.

          • Not sure how we measure gaining power unjustly. Is anything other than democracy unjust? Is democracy just? If you gain power by dynastic succession is that unjust? Were the Russian revolutionaries just in overthrowing the Tsar? Given that they were oppressive should they in turn be overthrown? I suspect power has rarely been gained justly. Even in our democracies power is often in the hands of those who throw the most money into electioneering and who make promises they neither keep nor intend to keep.

            However, when you disagree with my above comment you are disagreeing with the plain words of Scripture. You do not collude with evil by submitting to injustice. None of us fight every perceived injustice of government, even where it is possible to do so, but it does not make us collude in evil. We collude in evil when we do wrong ourselves.

            Clearly there is proportion in all of this. My main point is that Christians are not called to be revolutionaries and insurrectionists. They are called to live quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty, to obey the powers that be for they are God’s servants, to be peacemakers and to pursue peace with all men, to be kind, gentle, loving etc

            Consider the following:

            Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover–up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
            1 Peter 2:13–25

            I do not say Christians must never remonstrate with authorities, appeal to them for justice, work in legitimate ways to create a more just society. I do not say that all war is wrong and that evil must not be resisted. I do not say that Christians ought not be soldiers or take roles in society that involve using force. I simply say that they are never justified in revolution or political assassination. My theological leanings would have been all on the side of the Cromwell and the Roundheads, politically he was a Parlamentarian rather than Monarchist which resonates but I do not think he was right to engage in civil war and assassinate Charles 1.

            At a practical level bad government is better than no government, or civil war, or unstable government. Removing Saddam Hussain or Gaddaffi or Assad may seem a good idea, a righteous end, but witness what has happened as a result.

          • Albert

            Not sure how we measure gaining power unjustly.

            On your account, it would be anyone who overthrew the previous government. But equally, we could question when we know a government is legitimate. These problems show the impossibility of ruling out rebellion.

            However, when you disagree with my above comment you are disagreeing with the plain words of Scripture. You do not collude with evil by submitting to injustice.

            Just a moment. There is an enormous difference between me accepting an injustice for the sake of Christ, and me turning a blind eye for the sake of Christ to an injustice meted out to another. I think that distinction is key, and it makes it hard to argue your passages for your own conclusion. Consider this: Jesus says:

            But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also;

            Now the obvious conclusion here would be pacifism. But I see you are not a pacifist. Why not?

            My main point is that Christians are not called to be revolutionaries and insurrectionists. They are called to live quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty, to obey the powers that be for they are God’s servants, to be peacemakers and to pursue peace with all men, to be kind, gentle, loving etc

            I’m not disagreeing with any of that. I am not suggesting that rebellion is the normal state, or even the normal response to unjust governments. I am simply opposing the view that any rebellion against any government is wrong. I’m really not sure how Elijah would fare on your terms, I suspect badly, and that seems difficult considering whose authority he had.

          • Elijah opposed Baal worship he did not seek to kill or overthrow Arab, the Lords anointed.

            Again I have said that we must distinguish between private morality and obligations and rights official roles confer.

            It does seem to me that the submitting to authorities is broader than simply where they may be attacking me personally. It is an attitude that is in mind.

            Further, wisdom is required here too. If a government is acting seriously unjustly then to challenge its legitimacy is likely to have serious consequences. We are to act prudently. Should German or Polish Christians have challenged and publicly criticised Nazism. Would this not have been futile and suicidal?

            Scripture tells us in difficult situations to keep our heads low. And reminds us that those who take up the sword perish by the sword.

            (NIV) There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
            and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
            13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,
            for the times are evil. Amos 5

          • Albert

            Elijah opposed Baal worship he did not seek to kill or overthrow Arab, the Lords anointed.

            It wasn’t so much 1 Kings 18 I had in mind as 1 Kings 19, especially verse 16. God effectively instructs Elijah to anoint a competitor to Ahab’s throne. The history here is complicated but it seems pretty clear that Jehu, having been anointed (cf. 2 Kings 9), is then a rebel against Ahab the tyrant and his successors, whom he kills, thus overthrowing the line of Ahab and taking the throne himself.

            Again I have said that we must distinguish between private morality and obligations and rights official roles confer.

            Exactly, so we can distinguish between Ahab as king (a legitimate office) and Ahab the man of sin who needed to be stopped. Or to be more precise, Ahab ceased to be king because of his wickedness. Jehu is not really a usurper.

            Further, wisdom is required here too. If a government is acting seriously unjustly then to challenge its legitimacy is likely to have serious consequences. We are to act prudently. Should German or Polish Christians have challenged and publicly criticised Nazism. Would this not have been futile and suicidal?

            I think that’s an entirely fair comment – as the Dutch Catholic bishops learnt at the cost of Jewish converts to Christianity in 1942. But the only issue I am arguing against is the claim that it is always wrong to rebel. I would say that it is almost always wrong to rebel.

            Scripture tells us in difficult situations to keep our heads low. And reminds us that those who take up the sword perish by the sword.

            Again, I think the vision of scripture includes more than that, as I have shown.

          • Also

            Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover–up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
            1 Peter 2:13–25

            Remember Peter writes when Nero is Caesar and Christians are being thrown to the lions.

          • CliveM

            What about a government that has come to power through force, or some other illegal method and uses murder, rape, violence and torture to maintain power?

            As such a Government is illegal and is not legitimate surely the State, including the individual, have the right and authority (although not necessarily the power) to oppose it and try to topple it.

            Indeed such a Government can never be legitimate or legal as it has no legal authority (although it may have the power) and can never acquire for itself the necessary legal legitimacy.

          • You mean like the Roman government in Palestine. Or the Assyrian and Babylonian governments when they invaded Israel? What did Christ do? Did he become an insurrectionist? We’re Jews exiled to Babylon instructed to act as Fifth Columnists? No, they were to care about the welfare of the city in which they found themselves.

            Bad government is not necessarily illegitimate government. God will deal with bad governments. He will hold leaders responsible. In any case where is the moral legitimacy of a revolutionary government that overthrows another revolutionary government. It is all a recipe for anarchy.

          • CliveM

            I never said bad governments were illigitimate, I said illegal ones were.

            So was David wrong to oppose the Philistines?

            Not advocating an armed struggle when the outcome of which can only be slaughter and defeat, is not the same as saying the authority is legitimate.

            If your government is slaughtering millions what actions of an individual’s, apart from outright opposition, aren’t either directly or indirectly aiding in this slaughter?

        • Albert

          Bonhoeffer was brace but his action in attempting Hitler’s assignation was not Christian.

          Actually, that’s not quite what I meant. I think that a law and lawful authority only have legitimacy if they act justly. Since Hitler did not act justly, then it was right to resist him. I cannot see how one can protect the innocent without fighting the wrong-doer, and I do not see that the fact that he was the Government, gives him immunity.

          God’s kingdom is not of this world else would his servants fight.

          I think that is to do not with fighting for religion. In this case one would simply be fighting the evil man to stop harm.

          • CliveM

            Agreed. There is evil you cannot ignore and walk away from.

            If it is right to fight a war against the evil of another nation, it is right to fight that same evil if it is your own Government perpetrating it.

          • Anton

            There is evil you cannot ignore and walk away from.”

            I’m sorry Clive but there is. Plenty of terrible things go on in African countries that we rightly don’t intervene in. Why? Because intervention either puts us on one side of a civil war against another when both sides are almost certainly evil, or else we become colonisers again. Which would you prefer?

          • CliveM

            My comment needs to be seen in the context of the discussion on Bonhoffer and the Third Reich that Albert was having.

            As a general comment any action taken must always weigh the pros and cons of the intervening in the situation. Sometimes doing nothing will be the right course.

          • Anton

            OK, makes sense to me!

          • where in Scripture are we instructed to become moral and political crusaders. Paul says he judges things in the church but not outside it. Jesus says to some who wanted him to become an adjudicator… who made me a judge and arbitrator over you.

          • CliveM

            where in scripture are we instructed not to be?

          • David

            You have the point Albert. Christians are only asked to obey authority if is acting justly. To supinely support injustice is hardly Christian, but the mark of a moral and possibly physical coward.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Jesus was meek. He wasn’t a wimp.

          • Dominic, I’m Dominic, I’m surprised at your apparent direction in this discussion. You know that Jesus and the apostles did not condone or commend personal violence or the sword.

          • No. We are asked to obey whether the authority is acting justly or not. Only if the authority asks us to do something unjust do we defy by refusing to do so. If it asks us to pay unjust taxes we do so. Slaves were told to serve their masters whether they were good or bad. The authority lies in the office not in its uprightness. I respect/obey my parents because they are my parents not because they are good parents. The same applies to all such authority positions.

          • And who decides if it is acting justly? No government is consistently just does that free us to disobey it, even overthrow it. Was Jesus a coward and supine for refusing to challenge the Roman occupation of Palestine? Are Christians in totalitarian regimes cowards because they do not challenge their governments as others in western democracies do?

        • Linus

          “Bonhoeffer … attempting …Hitler’s assignation…”

          I knew Bonhoeffer was gay but I had no idea he tried to hook up with Hitler.

          The things you learn on this blog…

    • The North Koreans know no other way of life, getting rid of the Fat Boy? What then? Another similar leader will arise in his place probably worse, just like in the middle east we meddle a our peril. Have we not learned any lessons?

      The Chinese have at some point cut off or restricted their oil as punishment, but the way forward is through dialogue. N Korea is a country desperate to be accepted by the big boys.
      I remember Trump shortly after winning the election laying in to North Korea with threats and then sending a fleet of warships to the region.

      • Anton

        German reunification is the precedent. Chin up!

        • And why should they become another vassal state of the Yanks?

          • Anton

            Which side of the Korean border would you prefer to live today: north or south?

          • Neither, I love my own country. It all depends what you are used to.

  • I am not strictly a pacifist either. I believe in a just war in theory at least though I doubt if this ever works out in practice. However, I do not believe citizens have either the right or calling to overthrow the State. There is not a hint in Scripture that we should indeed rather the opposite. Overthrowing the unjust Roman occupation of Palistine was never supported by Jesus though many wanted him to do so. Rather he called for rendering to Caesar what was Caeser’s. Christians suffered under cruel Roman emperors such as Nero but there is no encouragement to overthrow or assassinate. Rather, as with personal enemies we leave vengeance to the Lord.

    • TropicalAnglican

      I agree with that: David forbade his men to kill Saul, even though Saul was trying to kill him.

      • David

        Seeking vengeance is wrong and in a different moral category to preventing evil from achieving destruction.

        • TropicalAnglican

          I was referring to this sentence: “Christians suffered under cruel Roman emperors such as Nero but there is no encouragement to overthrow or assassinate”.

      • DespiteBrexit

        Because David regarded Saul as anointed by God? Does that apply to all world leaders, including Kim?

        • Dominic Stockford

          Saul WAS anointed by God, it is so written. Kim is not.

          • Yet he is appointed by God, as all rulers are.

      • IanCad

        David Was a PIA.

    • David

      Why do you speak of vengeance ? No one is speaking of vengeance, but simply preventing evil from wrecking further lives. The moral difference is huge and vital.

      • Vengeance in the Bible simply means just deserts. It is simply justice. But justice in the Bible is not dispassionate. The judge God) loves righteousness and hates evil. He is passionately opposed to evil doers and will both rejoice and grieve at the overthrow of the wicked at the same time. Just as right thinking humans ought.

        • David

          So you are saying that no human agency can pursue justice then ? But do not the powers over us “carry the sword” for the precise purpose of securing justice, and you have already argued, correctly, that Christians are asked to respect the appointed rulers.

          • I’m saying that the State, whichever it is, is God appointed. It’s subjects ought to be subject to it and only demur when asked to do something God forbids. When the State oversteps its boundaries and becomes expansionist the State (s) attacked have the right to defend themselves.

            It is not at all clear that one state should interfere in another’s affairs. Clearly doing this has caused lots of problems in recent years. That being said, I can see how it is just for other states to express their displeasure and put pressure on a particularly demonic state by sanctions and even perhaps forceful intervention though here I am on shakier ground.

            My main point is that it never right for Christians to seek to overthrow its own government. We pray for rulers we don’t prey on them. Our role is intercession not insurrection. We are to be like Christ who when reviled did not respond in kind, who when he suffered threatened not. We wait for the Lord to deliver. The greatest blights in church history have been holy wars of one kind or another. Bonhoeffer was not being Christlike when he plotted to assinate Hitler. It was the religious leaders who opposed Christ who were assassins.

            Nebuchadnezzar, king of mighty Babylon, came to understand that the most High rules over the kingdoms of men and sets over them whom he will, even the basest of men. Our responsibility as Christians is to submit to these until God deposed them in his own way.

          • David

            The only hands and feet that God has on earth now are those of his loyal, faithful people who sometimes have to act against evil.

          • Yes, God uses the temporal powers, his servants, to administer his justice, his vengeance.

  • Father David

    The Donald is actually mad enough to press the nuclear button. Hell hath no fury like a Trump provoked and taunted.

    • David

      I assume you use the word “mad” in the British English sense not the American one.
      Someone who is mad is highly unlikely to run a very successful business empire.

      • Father David

        Seek the opinion of the Democrats to see whether or not they think that Trump is unhinged.

    • IanCad

      Would you kindly provide a link to evidence of his insanity, for without which, I cannot take your comment seriously.

      • David

        Quite and well said.
        We have media induced prejudice on steroids, against the right, which is now evident throughout the UK.

      • Manfarang

        Would you walk around with a funny haircut?

        • IanCad

          The photo heading the OP shows President Trump’s face and hair – looks OK to me, but then, I’ve never been a dedicated follower of fashion.

          • Manfarang

            He has had a little trim
            The other great leader also has a funny haircut.
            Ordinary North Koreans are limited to the number of hairstyles they can have.

          • IanCad

            True enough; but it raises a thought. Kim must be a very worried man. Assassination by foreign powers must haunt him night and day. Logic would suggest he has several doubles, but given the near starvation visited on the poor N. Koreans, it may be very hard within that benighted country to find any other such porcine young men to help him out.
            Kim needs to lose weight. Pronto!

          • CliveM

            He’ll be more worried about internal assassination attempts.

          • Manfarang

            North Korea is a heavily controlled society. Finding out information about what is happening there isn’t easy and knowledge of its leader’s movements difficult. Anyway the leader is something of a figurehead the army is the power there,

        • Anton

          Nobody did in the 18th century, of course!

          • Manfarang

            They just had funny whiskers!

      • Father David

        Certainly, look at D Trump’s Twitter comments for conclusive evidence of the man’s lunacy..

        • Royinsouthwest

          In other words he has made comments that you disagree with.

          • That he makes twitter comments at all given his position is a huge judgement mistake and does not instil confidence.

        • IanCad

          Roy has made any response from me meaningless.

    • Yes, the fear is his public rhetoric of war will back him into a corner from which there is no escape without an intolerable loss of face.

    • Anton

      How do you know?

  • TropicalAnglican

    The American posters have dug up what Trump said about North Korea … in 1999. I am not sure why the press would be asking a New York businessman about North Korea (didn’t recce the background), but here is the link:

    • Albert

      Thank you, this is a useful link.

  • Coniston

    I suspect, and hope, that Trump’s words are designed to make China deal with North Korea, which is economically dependent upon China. Only China, it seems, can force N. Korea to amend its ways.

    • len

      China could force N Korea to amend its ways today if it wanted to.
      China wants N Korea to remain as it is (even under a despot such as Kim) because China doesn`t want North and South Korea to join together and to come under American influence, just as Putin didn`t want missiles set up on his borders.

      • CliveM

        China certainly doesn’t want a united Korea. There is little evidence that it’s happy with Kim’s behaviour however. It did vote for the recent increase in sanctions by the UN.

  • Manfarang

    Some American Marines I was talking to some weeks ago who are posted in the South were of the opinion that Trump had been persuaded not to launch a strike against North Korea. Remember Seoul is not that far from the DMZ.

  • Royinsouthwest

    I doubt if Trump has any intention, at least not at this stage, of using nuclear weapons against North Korea. A cruise missile, armed with a conventional warhead, through the bedroom window of Kim Jong Un, would be one possible option, but only if the Americans knew precisely, to within several yards, where he was at the exact moment.

    It would probably be easier to use a cruise missile when he is attending a North Korean military parade of the type that would be planned for a predictable location at a predictable date, e.g. a parade in the capital to the celebrate some anniversary of importance to the regime. If successful such an attack would kill other people too but the ones physically closest to Kim at the time might well include the most important members of the regime.

    • CliveM

      Problem with your cruise missile, is its relatively slow and would be picked up by radar. The North Koreans wouldn’t know if it was nuclear or not and would probably respond in a desperate non proportionate way which could lead to a lot of deaths.

      And Fat boy would still be alive.

  • David

    I have read that N. Korea loans cheap workers to Russian factories. But whether this is true I don’t know. A ferry links the two countries. Also that some goods, marked as “Made in China” are made in N. Korea, by workers paid less than their Chinese equivalents. Again I am unsure. But if this is true then the attitudes of the powerful countries neighbouring N. Korea may be easier to understand.

    • Anton

      I hope it is true. It would be good for the hungry of NK and it would increase interaction with the outside world. There’s a lot of Christianity in China and Russia. The attitude of those superpowers is that the NK is a handy proxy against the other superpower, the USA. That is exactly what the Korean War was about a lifetime ago, for in 1950 Kim’s grandfather Kim Il-Sung in the north (occupied by Russia who kicked out the Japs in 1945) received backing from Stalin to invade the south (occupied by the USA who kicked out the Japs there). Mao agreed to send Chinese reinforcements, and the weaponry was Russian. The south was nearly overrun by NK’s army before US troops reversed the communist gains, but then Chinese troops went in and three years of superpower struggle ensued. Mao cared little for his own people and was willing to use human wave tactics to exhaust the Americans’ will. Kim Il-Sung found that he had become a pawn in a game of chess between Moscow and Beijing, for Mao wanted to use the confrontation with America to squeeze an arms industry out of Stalin. By the time Stalin died in 1953, and his successors in Moscow opted for peace and negotiated with the USA a border close to the 1950 one – the futility of war! – the infrastructure of the north scarcely existed.

      About 10% of NK’s population are believed have starved to death since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990 and ceased to subsidise it. China now props up the regime. As Clive has said here, China would do well to arrange Kim’s removal for a military regime.

  • Inspector General

    For those who’ve ever imagined what Rome would have been like if its emperor had a large store of hydrogen bombs to throw around, imagine no more. Step forward, imperial President Trump.

    Perhaps it is time for the world to see the devastation of a hydrogen bomb used in anger. Those grainy black and white images of Hiroshima just doesn’t seem to do it any more for some. Like North Korean dictators.

    Hiroshima’s bomb was equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT. It was what is classed as an atomic bomb. The hydrogen bomb of today is really something else. In simple terms, it actually uses an ‘atomic bomb’ for a detonator. Their destructive force – these hydrogen bombs, let’s say 300 to 500 kilotons of TNT each – is what Trump talks about. The end of the world then, in microcosm. The reason Hiroshima looks completely devastated by a fraction of what is on offer today is because then Hiroshima was mostly comprised of easily blown over wooden buildings (cf ‘The Three Pigs story’).

    A single hydrogen bomb then, aimed at the centre of North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, would kill the country. If that fat idiot in charge of North Korea, whose name one can’t even be bothered to look up, thinks he can threaten the USA with the same Armageddon – well there you go…

    You can see where President Trump is coming from now. Can’t you! What would you have him do instead. Just accept the USA’s fate as inevitable?

    • Anton

      Cool down, Inspector. This is about China as much as NK.

      • Inspector General

        Of course, Anton. While we communicate, intense diplomatic whatever is taking place between NK and USA directly. Perhaps more important than that, between USA and China.

        All kept from public view right now and a good thing too!

        We might even see the feared Red Army go in to take control from the Starving Peoples Militia of North Korea.. .

        • Manfarang

          Red Army Choir maybe. The Red Army ended with the Soviet Union

    • Hi Inspector

      Are you aiming to be The Major T. J. Kong of 2017?

      • Anton

        Did you know that Peter Sellers was going to play him as well as Mandrake, the President and Dr Strangelove, but was recovering from a leg injury and couldn’t fit into Kubrick’s replica cockpit? And that Kubrick told Slim Pickens it was a serious film in order to get Pickens’ performance out of him?

        • Hi

          No I didn’t. Another fact to add to my eventual winning of the local pub quiz!

  • John Moore.

    It seems to have escaped the thoughts of the many contributors on the subject the awkward fact that South Korea is next to North Korea, indeed Seoul is less than fifty miles from Pyongyang making any form of retaliation…. difficult.

    • Inspector General

      Poor show, that man! The USA today is about military precision. Thankfully, a big improvement on their aiming abilities during the 39 45 war.

      • Anton

        You think German, Russian, Japanese or British bombers were significantly more accurate against a localised target in WW2?

      • John Moore.

        Known to the inhabitants of the USA as the December1941 to 1945 war…. or should be.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Excellent. Great read. Focused on God and the uncomfortable truths of divine retribution against the ungodly. Needs saying.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    If Trump does launch a nuclear strike against NK it is likely to be in response to the imminent threat of attack from Mr Psycho – Blobby himself. Trump is more likely to take out military and nuclear facilities with a first strike than go for the capital with its large civilian population and proximity to South Korea. He could also use low-yield battlefield nuclear weapons which would leave less devastation than strategic nuclear weapons. North Korea has been ignored for too long as a cancer on the face of the planet. We could just sit back and wait for fatso to die of obesity, but I think even that short time is too long to wait.

  • Anton

    Daft comment by Trump, because he is not going to fire first following a war of words and nothing else; it was wholly predictable that Kim would respond by escalating the rhetoric, as he has done since. Trump would have done better to comment as His Grace has done, by publicly highlighting the appalling abuse of the people of North Korea by their leadership. Then Kim would have been embarrassed rather than Trump.

    • IanCad

      Nonsense Anton. For far too long have the USA And the West backed down to this deluded bully. About time the people of N.Korea were made aware that their lives may be in danger. Perhaps it will spur them on to overthrow the wretched tyrant.
      How many lessons does it take to learn that appeasement doesn’t work? At least, against a bully.

      • Anton

        The lives of the people of North Korea are in danger every day from paranoid informers.

        What part of my comment do you consider nonsense? I am asking because I genuinely don’t know the answer to this question.

        • IanCad

          Your first clause.

          • Anton

            It’s a daft comment because it invites a psychotic like Kim to do exactly as he has done: reply with a verbal threat and so escalate it. Is that what you want? Trump could instead have pointed to Kim’s appalling civil rights record and kept the moral high ground instead of being forced either to back off or start a hot war. That’s a poor choice, and it came about because Trump failed to look one move ahead.

            If you really want to unlock this wretched situation, China has to be involved. Trump was right about that, although not necessarily right to say so loudly in public. But then he’s a businessman who is learning politics in real time.

          • IanCad

            Anton,
            Korean and Western policy towards N. Korea has been consistent, abject and useless. Surely we have all had experience with rogues who attempt to deceive us, and, if we do not challenge them, they assume they have put one over on us. Same in diplomacy. Partially because of the temporary nature of democratic administrations, the temptation to patch over chronic dilemmas and pass the problem on to the next rulers is generally the adopted path.
            The rubber must hit the road one day. Sometimes it may be best to endure a problem in the hope that it will disappear – and quite often it does.
            The Korean impasse has been festering for sixty years; it is only of late the problem has escalated to the level of an existential threat.
            I believe President Trump is handling the situation as well as can be hoped for.

  • Having boasted about the American arsenal Trump went on to tweet: ‘Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!’ This is naked hubris. It is ugly and tempts God.

  • Hi

    Will Trump be the first world leader to declare nuclear war via Twitter?

    • bluedog

      One has the same fear. The First Family will be in a bunker deep in the Rockies before the nuclear-tipped tweet is launched.

      • Hi

        I can see it now. ” nuke missile: you’re fired! “

        • bluedog

          #ourbunkerscalledArchie

    • Merchantman

      Probably no actual need to declare war, this is all covered by existing UN resolutions.

  • Hi

    Also there’s usually a lot of criticism on this forum of Blair and Bush over Iraq. What’s the difference here? Even if you defeat North Korea via conventional means and if they don’t use their chemical or biological weapons, north Korea could well become another failed state with numerous warlords in control, which as there’s no guarantee of ever completely destroying all the WMD, would make the situation even worse. I recall many people pining for Saddam and Gadaffi as the strong men brutal dictators who kept their countries in check…

    ok this isn’t the middle east so people can’t blame the “ZOG….”

    • CliveM

      It’s what China fears. What needs to happen is for fat boy to be replaced by a leading General with Chinese support, who can be brutal but less vicious, unstable and paranoid.

      • Anton

        Yes, well said.

        • CliveM

          IT would also help if the US signalled their support for this and their absolute commitment not to interfere in NK or try to unify North and South.

          As long as fat boy is got rid of.

      • Manfarang

        That’s the problem. East Germany was so much reunited as taken over by the West Germans. The officials in North Korea fear complete loss of their positions.

      • dannybhoy

        But how will we find him?
        Regime destabilisation is a dangerous business, and it may be far better to just let things cool down a bit whilst working with the South Koreans and elements in North Korea to find a way of removing the Kim dynasty. It may even involve some military occupation by the South Koreans who are best placed to understand North Korea’s needs. After all these are a people who have been too terrified to think for themselves..

        • CliveM

          Actually I’m arguing that we don’t find him and that we leave it to the Chinese and senior members of his own regime. The west getting directly involved would be disastrous.

          It’s important that China is reassured that the west has no desire to intervene unless forced to and its in their best interests to avoid that situation arising.

          • Merchantman

            I am inclined to agree that there should be no Western incursion into NK although technically we are still at war with them which is something we forget. In fact any operation may be covered by existing UN resolutions, although decades old. I feel for the NK people esp those Christians surely the Chinese could offer the NK some alternative to Kim Jun Ill.

    • The difference surely is that a North Korea sans Kim Jon Un and his cronies could be united with the South in the same way (DV) that Germany has reunited.

  • Hi

    And if nukes, chemical and biological weapons are used God help us all.

  • Martin

    I suspect any response to North Korea would be the wrong one.

    • CliveM

      Wise comment.

  • bluedog

    One has to consider the possibility, You Grace, that the crisis in North Korea is the start of a Chinese sponsored and co-ordinated anti-Western Intifada. Despite being a signatory to the NPT, it is quite clear that for years China has been seeding nuclear weapons programs in nations that threaten its strategic rivals, NK and Pakistan being the principal beneficiaries. Iran too has made remarkable gains in both weapons and delivery systems, and who really believes the recent Iran deal ends that threat? In short if things boil over in NK, and if Trump is foolish enough to use tactical nukes, we could see similar weaponry deployed in the Gulf and against Israel. Something one has yet to see is a public record assessment of whether Pakistan could hit London with nukes. Perhaps there is a sunny side to Sadiq Khan after all. What ever happens, one is confident that China will leave the fighting to its satellites unless directly threatened, letting the US bleed itself so that China emerges the victor by default.

    • not a machine

      possibly , cant rule it out , If president Trump can get consensus ,Mr Jong becomes ranting narcisuss , I mean we have seen this sort of thing before .
      Almost forgot trying to help save planet , to help my climate change non believers across the Atlantic , yesterdays question had you calculating how much confier should be planted for each coal fired power station , the resultant thought , must be ahh we haven’t planted new area confier , so where is all the CO2 going , as gaseous balance must have been in operation before industrial revolution , and burning fossil fuels adds from photosynthetic balance from another era.
      So tonights bio chemistry question ,is at what temperature range does photosynthesis make sugars and converts them to starches , and at what temperature range are proteins synthesized at in plants , and why do some plants suffer in heat ? other than transpiration , and do plants photosynthesize when not in daylight …..and if not doesn’t that make the gaseous balance more finely balanced , let alone if we have been not really saying accurately what we have been putting into the atmosphere and what phtosysnthesis has fixed ….. as far as I know if the plants arnt absorbing it , the oceans must be …..ah but the you have to consider what marine life absorbs CO2 or tolerate any surface acid conditions …..
      Any how many biologists will have the equivalent of tweet of the day , photosynthesis in 6 easy pieces ,how do large plant structures beyond single cell organisms exist ??? and here’s a clue its in finite ranges , as molecular cogs are bio chemical …..

    • Manfarang

      “China will leave the fighting to its satellites ”
      What about the current Doklam standoff?

      • bluedog

        ‘Ich bin ein Doklammer’. Leaked preview from proposed speech by Donald J Trump, POTUS, as he stares down the Commie hordes from an Indian command post, following talks in New Delhi. But then there is always Pakistan, which validates the point being made.

        • Manfarang

          Its all a bit up the Khunjerab Pass

  • Theodore Roosevelt (I think) said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
    Trump says, “Speak loudly and carry a feather duster.” Almost as soon as he spoke about ‘fire and fury’ NK called his bluff by making another threat, and of course, nothing happened.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Remember Obama’s “red lines” in Syria? When Assad crossed them by using chemical weapons Obama suddenly forgot all about the subject. In marked contrast when the Syrian government used chemical weapons again shortly after Trump became president the United States responded with cruise missiles.

      Actually I think that while Obama was undoubtedly wrong to make idle threats Trump was also wrong because Assad is probably the lesser evil in Syria.

      • Anna

        According to Peter Hitchens there is no evidence that Assad used chemical weapons – that information came from unreliable sources. I agree he is probably the lesser evil in Syria.

  • not a machine

    well ok then I take it president Trump is getting good advice on dkpr ,I suppose it is a matter of time ,I was just looking forward to Mr jong visiting the UN to sign nuclear decommission and be a great leader , but not really sure where democratic bit of countries name fits in .Your grace offers little sentimentality or ease ,but Mr Jong has managed unamimous UN sanctions , so everyones tired of him and he must realise he cant win and his own people suffer .

  • petej

    The Christians of North Korea won’t be liberated by having a nuclear bomb dropped on them.

    I’m appaulled that (some) Christians are calling for nuclear war.

    • Anton

      I’d be appalled by such a call in this situation too, but do you mean in the USA or on this blog?

      • petej

        Specifically Robert Jeffress, who has said that God has given Trump the authority to ‘take out’ the N Korean regime. But this foolish bellicose attitude has bewitched evangelicals on both sides of the Atlantic. We are sadly back to seeing war as a good and almost sacred thing.

        • Anton

          It’s fairly typical of what people on both sides were prone to say in the European wars of religion of the 16th and 17th century. It was nonsense then and it is nonsense now – and even more dangerous, given WMDs.

    • Inspector General

      You really don’t know how the world works, do you…

      You prevent nuclear war by threatening it. It maintained the peace during the Cold War.

      • Anton

        That doesn’t work when one side is led by the suicide bomber mentality…

        • Inspector General

          When destruction is imminent, you’re a NK general, and you’ve nothing more to lose, you kill the piece of fat responsible…

          • Anton

            I didn’t mean NK…

    • Linus

      You’re appaulled (sic)?

      I’m appetered. The fake archbishop is ammatthewed. And Crappy Jack is ajudassed…

      • IanCad

        You’re a pain in the ass.

        • Linus

          If you would relax a bit, you might start to enjoy it. But then some people are born masochists, I suppose.

  • CliveM

    Is this reassuring?☹️

    https://inews.co.uk/opinion/nuclear-weapons-arent-destructive-youve-told/

    Let’s hope we never find out.

    • IanCad

      Terrible how those poor H-bombs have been so maligned! Such ignorance and prejudice needs to be countered. Sure they can be beastly, but at heart, they are not so bad. Bombism is as bad as racism and only the ignorant deplorables embrace such divisive primitivism.

      • CliveM

        I must admit I found his assumption that the use of such a weapon would not lead to a significant impact on the way of life in the west at best naive and chillingly complacent.

        • IanCad

          Seriously though Clive, the effects of nuclear weapons may have been grossly exaggerated. The “Nuclear Winter’ theory has largely been put to bed.

          • Anton

            …by global warming.

          • CliveM

            Maybe they have, I still hope never to find out for sure.

          • IanCad

            Even in the event of a massive attack on our country, far more people would likely die of starvation and disease than from the effects of blast, fallout and radiation.
            Cheer up!!
            A little over thirty years ago – before the internet age – I was asked to design a nuclear bunker. I can assure you survivability is not a problem for the well prepared. I wouldn’t go so far though, as to refer to radiation poisoning in terms of “Sunshine Units,” as the rosier literature of those early days so described them.

          • CliveM

            Yes but does it matter? Because according to the article life would continue as usual and we’d still be queuing up for our holidays in the sun!!

          • IanCad

            To ignore the societal impacts of major nuclear conflicts, as the article did, is to promote the false hope that survival merely means avoiding the direct impacts of the bomb itself. That’s the easy part; with our ever more dependency on the electric grid, just in time food distribution and the vulnerability of essential services, we would be in a world of hurt, and I shall clearly state; the article was wholly irresponsible. That said; I will repeat my assertion that survivability will not be a problem for the prepared.
            We’re not.

          • CliveM

            Yes I agree with your whole post.

          • The prepared would have to live underground with artificial daylight not to get contaminated with fallout. For an idea of how things might be look at Chernobyl. The accident happened in 1986 the people from surrounding countries are still suffering disabilities and cancers. Also Fukushima. A nuclear bomb would be a lot worse, do we really want to destroy our beautiful planet?

          • IanCad

            Any nuclear conflict would be an absolute disaster Marie. However, the comparison between Chernobyl and bombs is not entirely valid. The amount of radiation and fallout from the former is estimated to be more than 300 times that of Hiroshima.
            Given today’s bombs are bigger, better and badder the prevention of their use should be a priority of all sane administrations. N. Korea has threatened Uncle Sam. He is a kindly, jolly sort, and if he has a fault, it is giving the impression that he is not the most meanest, viscous SOB under the sun when he gets his dander up.

          • Ray Spring

            I am so pleased that John Bull has not been threatened.
            Is there some special arrangement for John Bull, or has he emigrated? Could it be that he is now just one of the millions of Refugees? Anyway, threatening John Bull must be a waste of time. I do not think he even has an internet address. Although I did have a John Bull Printing Set years ago.

  • Anton

    I will do such things—What they are yet I know not, but they shall be the terrors of the earth – King Lear.

  • Anna

    It is pointless to attack N Korea and anything could happen if America tries. China is responsible for arming dangerous and unstable nations like Pakistan and N Korea with nuclear weapons. Both are fully aware of America’s weaknesses; they fear only China and it does not suit China’s interests to restrain them. And who will stand up to China? Or Russia or Saudi Arabia? The sun has already set on the American empire.

  • Dreadnaught

    If there’s one thing guaranteed to cause a nuclear holocaust it’s the belief that one side or the other has a GOD on their side.

    • Anna

      ‘Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come…”’
      Joshua 5:13-14 NIV

      • Mike Stallard

        “Nothing brings a Prince more prestige than great campaigns and striking demonstarations of his personal abilities…”
        Machiavelli, the Prince.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Well then, there is absolutely no danger of North Korea starting a nuclear war is there?

      • Dreadnaught
        • IanCad

          Unfortunately the rather creative Dispensationalists, of whom Pastor Jeffress is a chief booster have a great interest in conflict. Primarily, and briefly, they believe “The Rapture” will transport them to the gates of Heaven, while we sorry suckers down here will face the music.
          It has been said they have had an influence on US foreign policy.

          • Dispensationallists have had a significant influence on American foreign policy throughout the 20th century. They are as bad as ISIS. Pushing for a conflagration in which they will be rescued by the “rapture”. Why do silly, arrogant men believe they can detect the timing and details of the End Times in scripture, predict future events and then attempt to force the Hand of God? It’s blasphemy of the highest order.

          • prompteetsincere

            ‘Dispensationalism’, Charles C. Ryrie, so as not to be ‘left/Left behind’ in the still contradictory (Allegorical vs. Historical) exercise of Biblical Prophetic interpretation: that is, Premillennialism was the first major Millennial belief of the Church of orthodox Christians from the 1st tot he 3rd centuries – from Papias to Lactantius; most notably, Augustine until Roman Imperial persecutions ceased as the Empire fell and the Church institutional gained ascendancy.

        • mollysdad

          He’s absolutely right. North Korea is the equivalent of an idolatrous city which the Israelites were commanded to destroy with fire.

          God’s justice does not sleep forever.

          • Dreadnaught

            You want Israel to Nuke and pass it off as the hand of God? Ok then if not Israel you would still be happy to trigger a first strike nuclear war because you think your god would like it. You are as deluded as ISIS.

  • Thoughtful meditation ….
    No more needs to be said.

    • Mike Stallard

      Nice words. Mr Trump? Mr Kim? I don’t think so…

  • David

    The Daily Wail, referring to an article in The Global Times, claims that if the US or S.Korea act to bring about regime change in N.Korea then it will oppose that. However if N.Korea attacks US territory first, and America retaliates, then China will not intervene. This sounds as if it may be credible.
    I remain of the view that China should “rearrange” the leadership of N.Korea ensuring that, as a minimum, a more stable, less neurotic and more mature leadership comes into being. That would make us all safer and hopefully at least ease the appalling suffering of the North Koreans.

    • bluedog

      And yet, the Global Times also says China will “firmly resist any side which wants to change the status quo of the areas where China’s interests are concerned”.

      “The Korean Peninsula is where the strategic interests of all sides converge, and no side should try to be the absolute dominator of the region.”

      This proves two things, firstly NK is a Chinese proxy in maintaining the status quo, secondly, even if NK attacks the US, China reserves the right to intervene when it decides that its interests are threatened. Those interests are defined as the current balance of power. In short, if the GT reflects official Chinese thinking, China has now shown its hand and this crisis has become US vs China. Will either party back down?

  • bockerglory

    North Korea is doomed. With or without war.

    USA wants China to contain NK.

    China thinks it can.

    South Korea needs to start drawing up plans.

    But sadly, China who persecutes its own people is a lesser example of the NK regime.

    China hopes that authoritarian capitalism will slowly emerge as a stabilising factor for NK – they see NK as permanently stuck in the cultural Revolution of China’s 1960s.

    China is of course as stupid as stupid as is. It is a godless regime and arrogant.

    So perhaps we are due another “flood” …

    God’s not happy.

    As zero hedge says, the outcome for everybody is death. Whether right now or decades hence.

    So be it.

    Let’s pray that God snuffs out this Evil as quickly as possible.

    And pray that millions recognise Christ as there Saviour.

  • Mike Stallard

    It is often best not to mix religion with politics which, after all, is just the interaction of sinful men.
    We are actually facing a very great danger. I spoke to a lady from South Korea yesterday. She told me she had not slept she was so worried. She was right: here’s why:
    1. The world is on holiday at the moment. That means that nobody is paying attention. The News is a good example. So are the papers. LBC was – for a bit. Guess when World War One started? Or World War Two?
    2. Mr Trump is a man who has a big gob. Apparently (Radio 4 yesterday “From our Special Correspondent) our own Foreign Office has trouble connecting with the USA opposite number because it is in total disarray. Mr Trump phones Mrs May up every two weeks or so. Which means that, as with Mr Kim, there are few people there to tell the truth unto power.

    There is terrible danger that the world will get sucked into World War III by mistake. China has to support its ally. Russia is opportunist. The EU is a figment of dead Frenchmen’s imagination. Who else is there to tell Mr Trump what he has to do?
    The parallels with August 1914 are overwhelming. Let’s hope this is just the Agadir crisis…

  • SingleCut

    Reports indicate that Kim Jong has backed down. After 25 years of fruitless diplomacy President Trump put his foot down as a result Trump wins again!