By Dr David Laing Dawson
As every parent knows for a threat to be effective the child must believe his father or mother will make good the threat if he does not comply. The child also knows that when the threat is outrageous (“you will be banned from all electronics for life.”) it is also hollow. Still, some children do not listen to threats even when they are consistently followed by reasonable consequences. This is often true of ADHD children, and those for whom the compulsion is too great (OCD) or the aversion to change too strong (ASD).
By the time children are teens the plot thickens. Now they are watching themselves through the eyes of their peers, not just their parents. Now they are clinging to new visions of themselves as capable, independent sentient beings with newly formed logical thinking processes. They are more apt to defy the threat if to comply would undermine this developing sense of self.
And then we have adults. And now for a threat to work it must overcome all the above plus pride if this all occurs privately and secretly, and much more if the threat occurs publicly (shame and loss of face), and more so still if the threatened figure is a man or woman whose sense of self, if not his very existence, depends on the adulation of the crowd.
There are public figures in this world whose behaviour we would like to change. Perhaps there are some of these whose sanity, whose internal stability and strength is sufficient to bring about a good response to threat.
Kim Jong Un is not one of them.
Please do not threaten this man. Never publicly threaten him. He will not respond as you wish him to.
Actually, Donald Trump may just be the right President for the task of soothing North Korea. He could invite Kim to Mar a Lago for a Korean BBQ and treat him like royalty. Let him expound. Set up a private communication system. Help him be more of a hero to his people by feeding and housing them better. Then privately discuss reducing his nuclear arsenal for something in return.
Of course this would require Donald to keep his own ego in check. Vain hope.
Could it be time for Canada to step in here. Are you listening Justin? Making Kim look weak and foolish before his own people could get millions killed. We need a Mike Pearson way of intervening now.
And all of you, including Pence and others saying that your patience is at an end, pay heed to the words of a much smarter man than yourself:
“Talk, talk, talk is better than war, war, war.” – Winston Churchill.