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Ed Smith: Dire times and trigger-happy tyrants

I have said it before and I will say it again. This world is in one hell of a mess. Actually, like never before.

Ed Smith column head

I know, it’s not exactly a newsflash. So I will say it again: this world is in one hell of a mess. Like never before.

You see, this column never lies. It may exaggerate slightly from time to time, especially when it talks about the sitting president of the United States, but out-and-out lie? Never. Well, hardly ever.

I have a marvellous example to follow.

With North Korea being the head of the match for the Trump brimstone, it’s hard to see how that very bad situation can get any worse. The most respected and experienced of analysts and commentators have stated strongly that no one is in any position to make the situation look less worse than what it is, or the potential for suffering and death more horrible in terms of numbers or degree. And we’re not just talking about South East Asia becoming a charnel pot in less time than it takes to say Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The security of the whole world can be affected and threatened by this one area of the globe.

North Korea has its tens of millions of fighters with conventional, short-range weapons amassed on their side of the border, and enough firepower to wipe out more millions in less time than it takes to talk about it. That would include the six million inhabitants of Seoul, the capital of South Korea, with several millions more in what country, and the many millions more in Japan, which lies well within range of Korean weapons.

By the time you get to read this a few days down the road, these things might very well have all been decided one way or the other. My hope is that everyone will still be sitting around wondering what to do next. That will mean no one has jumped the gun, pushed the buttons or in any way panicked and brought about a catastrophe.

Don’t know if they’ve given any thought to bombing Fogo Island or not. It would be a good idea if they first talk to the powers that attempted to resettle that beautiful place back in the ’60s. Not a good idea to get those people riled up.         

The U.S.-led forces have more missiles trained on North Korea than Danny Williams has dollars. Sure, we could blow them into the stratosphere with a pre-emptive strike, but at what cost to millions of innocent lives on both sides?

Is it possible that Pudge the Infantile Tyrant could see the missiles from the other side coming in time to say to himself, if I have to go, might as well take a few with me, and unleash a few nuclear warheads in the general direction of the western United States.

I really don’t know if the Koreans have given any thought to dropping some of the nasty IBCM thingies on Canada, Newfoundland in particular, and Fogo Island specifically. If so, they might be well advised to check with the political power that attempted to resettle that lovely island back in the ’60s. It does not pay to get those people — Newfoundlanders generally — riled up.

I don’t know the answers to any of those questions, of course, but it troubles me no end to hear political leaders and commentators discussing the situation without even suggesting that there could be some horrible human consequences to such a conflict, if it is — as many of them suggest — inevitable and imminent. These people influence public opinion which, in turn shapes, the decisions of prime ministers and presidents.

And even tyrants.


Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is

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