Your first leader (“A foreign policy doctrine cannot be just bluster and belligerence, “ 20 September; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/19/the-guardian-view-on-trump-at-the-un-bluster-and-belligerence) on President Trump’s bellicose first address to the United Nations argues that “ threats and grandstanding are just bluster, not policy.”
Your world affairs editor, Julian Borger, elsewhere in the paper (“Dark Rhetoric leaves menace hanging in the air,” Analysis; https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/19/donald-trump-un-speech-analysis-north-korea) reports North Korean president Kim Jong-un and his regime “expect to be targeted by a ‘decapitation strike’.”
Nearly 67 years ago, an earlier US President made similarly menacing threats of atomic annihilation over the long diplomatic dispute in the Korean peninsula.
"On 30 November 1950, five months after the Korean War broke out, US President Harry S. Truman presided over a chilling press conference in the Indian Treaty Room in the Executive Office Building at the White House, in which he nakedly threatened to use nuclear weapons against the advancing Chinese troops in North Korea.
Truman told the press corps "We will take whatever steps are necessary to meet the military situation, just as we always have." Asked to clarify whether that would "include the atomic bomb?" he responded bluntly "That includes every weapon that we have. ..There has always been active consideration of its use." (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=13673
A White House statement later that day added "Consideration of the use of any weapon is always implicit in the very possession of that weapon." (ibid)
When will the world learn nuclear weapons are not playthings with which to pay games of “atomic chicken”?
Caroline Lucas MP and others (letter, 20 September; www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/19/sign-up-to-the-un-ban-on-nuclear-weapons) who argue the importance of the Nuclear Weapons Ban multilateral treaty – backed by 122 states - opened for signature on 20 September are absolutely right.
In an international twitter webinar last week ( how the foreign office has modernized under Boris!) , the UK ambassador to the United Nations, Matthew Rycroft, said in response to a questions asking about the UK’s approach to the treaty, said Britain backed nuclear disarmament, but not yet.
Just as successive British governments have said since the UK became one of three depositary states for the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT) - whose article 6 requires all signatory states to negotiate nuclear disarmament in good faith and at an early date – nearly fifty years ago in 1968!