Letter: Nuclear chicken

To the Editor:

“(He) rarely projects his intentions and is one of the most enigmatic leaders in the world. Unpredictability is his modus operandi. While he does this to keep his options open, he also never backs down from a fight or shows any weakness …”

Does this sound like someone we know in Washington, D.C.? It is actually a quote from the excellent book, “Red Notice” by David Browder. It describes Vladimir Putin after the author has suffered a horrible experience while living and working in Russia for several years.

“Why is this important,” you might say. If you re-read the quote, concentrating on “never backs down from a fight or shows any weakness,” you will conclude that the leaders of these two great countries seem to share many of the characteristics of a schoolyard bully.

Ladies and gentlemen — consider the danger in taunting another leader in the nuclear age. Is it just possible that public taunting could escalate a situation until it gets out of hand?

Could this be worse? Consider the leader of North Korea. How can anyone predict how a known psychopath will react when publicly challenged as is being done right now? Sadly, our leaders lack any of the intelligent subtlety expressed by President Theodore Roosevelt 117 years ago.

When advising someone who was facing a difficult situation, President Roosevelt advised: “Speak softly but carry a big stick.”

This quote has been a cornerstone of diplomatic relations until Jan. 20, 2017. Now our “diplomatic relations” seem to be push and taunt opponents who have sole control of their country’s nuclear arsenal.

I am worried; very worried.

Bob Lenz

Prospect Street, April 17