"I don't know", as Teresa Norton used to say in her newspaper column some years ago, "maybe I'm nuts", but am I the only person in the world who has no real idea what is happening in this war of words between the USA and North Korea? Everyone has a "view", but I'm not sure on what such views are based.
I was always told that if you make threats, there comes a time when you have to carry them out or be seen as weak.
So, the USA is saying to the young, inexperienced despotic leader of a country that still believes it is at war "Do something like that again - and we will destroy you". Meanwhile, the young leader who either possibly believes he's finished anyway, or who is totally convinced of his infallibility and therefore can't lose, continues to push. He doesn't carry out precisely his earlier threat but comes somewhat close. What does the USA do then; send yet another warning, or act? Or, does he keep us waiting by saying - okay "I'm good to go - but not yet" - as he just seems to have done. Perhaps as a result of getting out of bed on the right side this morning - but then we have the next day.
This "game" of brinksmanship is becoming dangerous for the whole of mankind. I do not want to even think about who is going to blink first because unless there is a peaceful settlement I see this ending in tears all round. In the case of North Korea the deaths of many totally innocent but brainwashed, undernourished, ill-educated people who have no idea what truth looks like. Collateral damage may well spread to South Korea, given the proximity of the North Korea border to Seoul, or fallout could affect China and Japan. This will set wheels in motion that could be almost impossible to stop.
And the irritating thing about it all is that we - that is you and I - can do nothing about it. How comfortable does that make you feel?
It seems there will be many in America who applaud President Trump's "tough" stand, and say that anything the USA does is only in defence of its borders and safety. Okay, I get that - but how is it that the President is saying one thing, openly and publicly, thereby provoking an open challenge to someone who doesn't really care and who is clearly enjoying the attention, while the President's closest advisors seem to be saying "the best solution is a political one, and that is what we need to achieve". The rest of the world, it would appear, is in agreement with the sentiments expressed by the advisors. One man tweeting threats, versus a few billion people who think there is something wrong with that methodology. A President, let us not forget, who has only just and under pressure, read from a script a statement condemning the white supremacists in the USA.
There is no doubt a huge amount of complexity here - there always has been as far as North Korea is concerned. As I said, the North still believes it is at war and that while the Korean war ended for the rest of the world in 1953 this was not reflected by the North. A political or economic solution whereby the South absorbs the North (a la Germany - East/West) is not feasible - the South could not afford it for a start, but even if there was a cooperation agreement between the North and the South, Japan would become very nervous because if there is anything on which the "Koreas" agree it is a burning sense of ill-will towards the Japanese. (I was going to write hatred - I am not sure today if that is still so prevalent). But it has surely not gone unnoticed that Japan has significantly increased its defence spending. Then if the USA were to somehow take control of North Korea - not something would appeal to the Chinese at all - you would have a situation where US troops could be camped on China's border - which would not be tolerated.
There are no easy answers. Think for a moment about the psyche of North Korea's leader. A man who with no compunction has had his brother killed, his closest uncle killed - and who does not really bother about what the world thinks. In the opposite corner you have someone who - from a relatively safe distance, depending on whether the reports of North Korea's nuclear capability are accurate or not (remember, only one agency has so far reported this to be fact) who is prepared to make threats which, if not supported by actions, are going to indicate weakness.
If North Korea backs down fully - and at this stage it looks like a very big if - I suggest it will almost certainly be because China has done something positive. Of course President Trump will claim credit for "forcing China's hand" even though China has been concerned for a very long time about the behaviour of North Korea but have acted behind the scenes.
Call my bluff, a long running series on British radio, was described as a duel of words and wit. In this particular global version there's plenty of words and zero wit. This is a more ruthless version where rather than getting points you will be counting success by bodies.