Back in 1999, Pat Robertson, TV preacher, former Republican presidential candidate and all around fan of the apocalypse, raised the possibility that rather than fight, it might be better just to “take out” Kim Jong-il rather than to “spend billions of dollars on a war that harms innocent civilians and destroys the infrastructure?”
Everyone laughed at Pat because he was a kook, but then the question, which had been around at least since the time of Thomas More, was raised again in Foreign Affairs by the much more respectable Anne-Marie Slaughter who would go on to head policy planning in the State Department under Hillary Clinton.
So when Donald Trump recommended making Kim Jong-un “disappear” the other morning he was working within a venerable bipartisan tradition. Being The Donald he couldn’t just advocate assassinating Kim though, he wants to subcontract the hit to China, like some aging mafia don hiring a biker gang to do the heavy lifting.
But then again The Donald has been a bit of a disappointment lately: after his truly momentous victory in the New Hampshire primary I was really hoping that he would arrive in a chariot dressed like a Roman emperor to the window rattling strains of “Kashimir,” doing his best Il Duce. Instead, he just wore a business suit and talked about building a great wall. Maybe he can hire the Chinese for that. They have experience, after all.