The news these days is anything but fun to read. From earthquakes and fires, to tsunamis, hurricanes and floods, just the weather can be enough to cause serious anxiety and sadness.
But there’s another natural disaster that’s wreaking havoc around the world that a lot of us have written off as a sideshow, a distraction, a joke when the truth is, it’s anything but: United States President, Donald Trump.
It might be easy to laugh when he tweets, or share Saturday Night Live’s latest Alec-Baldwin-helmed take down, but the truth is Trump is in charge of a nuclear superpower, and he seems to have little to no concern about what that really means.
Overnight Trump announced the American embassy in Israel would be moved to Jerusalem, effectively recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is a big deal. Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and it is highly significant to Jewish, Muslim and Christian people.
It’s also disputed territory, claimed by both Israel and Palestine since Israeli forces invaded East Jerusalem in 1967. In short, the politics of just deciding to recognise Israel’s claim to the entirety of Jerusalem are really fraught. Really complicated and really dangerous.
LISTEN: Explainer – what’s going on with Trump and Israel? (post continues after audio…)
As if the Middle East wasn’t already on edge, Trump just upends decades of diplomatic policy to please donors and supporters he promised things to during the election campaign. It’s easy to shrug this off, think the people and places involved are so far around the world it doesn’t matter. But of course it does.
Any decisions Trump makes that build instability in places like the Middle East affects the rest of the world. These decisions embolden terrorist organisations, they force powerful nations in the Middle East to take sides where before they may have stayed silent. When the US sneezes, the world pays attention.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room, North Korea, which Trump has mocked and ridiculed since taking the oath of office in a series of tweets that are both ridiculous and terrifying. Ridiculous because this is how the President of the United States conducts crucial international diplomacy and terrifying because this is how the President of the United States conducts crucial international diplomacy.
This is his response to an inflammatory comment by Kim Jong-un that made fun of Trump’s age:
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me “old,” when I would NEVER call him “short and fat?” Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017