The Return of the Madman Theory

A little trip into the past…the recent past….an interesting look unto what could possibly happen with all the chaos boil up around the president.

Is Donald Trump reviving the “madman theory” of diplomacy, introduced by Richard Nixon to instill fear in America’s adversaries? North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s description of Trump as “mentally deranged” suggests that such a ploy might be working – or else Kim is more right than he, or the rest of us, would like.

In the 1970s, US President Richard Nixon instructed Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to convince the leaders of hostile communist countries that he could be erratic and volatile, particularly when under pressure. Kissinger, a shrewd practitioner of Realpolitik, saw the potential in this approach, which he readily implemented. With that, the “madman theory” of diplomacy was born.

In the 1970s, US President Richard Nixon instructed Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to convince the leaders of hostile communist countries that he could be erratic and volatile, particularly when under pressure. Kissinger, a shrewd practitioner of Realpolitik, saw the potential in this approach, which he readily implemented. With that, the “madman theory” of diplomacy was born.Nixon was far from mad, though his heavy drinking at the height of the Watergate scandal prompted Kissinger and Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger to establish a way to monitor his control of the nuclear codes. Nixon’s goal in trumpeting his supposed erratic nature was to stoke fear among his foreign adversaries that making him angry or stressed could result in an irrational – even nuclear – response, thereby impelling them to check their own behavior.

Source: The Return of the Madman Theory by Nina L. Khrushcheva – Project Syndicate

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The Return of the Madman Theory

  1. I recall a tightening of my anal sphincter muscle when Ronald Reagan told Gorbachev to “tear down this wall”, but (no pun intended) nothing compares with how tight it became when Trump started taunting “Rocketman”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s