Fair warning: this post may end up being complimentary to President Trump. For those of you who are allergic to anything positive about the current POTUS, you may want to just skip this.
So, North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is once again threatening to turn Seoul, Korea into a “sea of fire” by means of “thermonuclear war.” If you are the POTUS, what do you do when faced with such over-the-top rhetoric? You respond in kind, which is to say, you don’t act responsibly. For starters, you tell the world that you’re sending a US Navy strike force to hover off North Korea’s coast, and then you don’t really send them. You drop the biggest bomb in your arsenal on another enemy for the world to watch, something that may be taken from an old Chinese proverb (kill the chickens to scare the monkeys). You act unpredictably. You get all the people around you saying something different. In short, you play a game. Will there be war, or won’t there be? Try to keep them guessing.
The thing is, this may actually be the best strategy for dealing with North Korea.
Aspiring speculative novelists, please take note. Any stories about future wars should take this approach into account. War is no longer a straightforward enterprise. War is now just a branch of public relations.