Trump-style diplomacy

Donald Trump declared the national emergency under a 1976 law after Congress declined to give him...
US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
It is all too easy to dismiss everything the vainglorious United States President, Donald Trump, says and does.

When someone is erratic, egotistical and eager for grand gestures, observers wonder if there is ever any sense or substance.

Mr Trump blunders onwards complete with his customary blizzard of lies, obfuscations and exaggerations - somehow, immune to scandals that would fell anyone else.

He continues to appeal to a solid core of supporters, and the US economy maintains its momentum.

What then to make of the superpower's relationship with North Korea, the future of denuclearisation and the Korean Peninsula as well as the broader picture in northeast Asia?

Narcissistic Mr Trump flourishes on being the centre of attention, and both American Independence Day, July 4, and his meeting with North Korean president Kim Jong-un last week provided him the chance to strut and preen.

Both occasions were more than cringe-worthy.

They displayed a figure who, given the opportunity, would embrace a dictatorial role and cult-like following.

The media, opposition politicians and proper process and conduct are pesky irritants. No wonder he waxes so effusively about Mr Kim and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Mr Trump greeted Mr Kim - a despot of the worst order - like a best mate. In echoes of prominent Europeans meeting Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, evil is ignored and the leader of a brutal, murderous regime praised. As Mr Trump put it, "I was really being tough and so was he. And we would go back and forth. And then we fell in love. No really. He wrote me beautiful letters."

This is the man who first threatened "fire and fury".

They then made up in an orgy of admiration, before falling out at the February Hanoi summit.

Mr Trump's trip to the demilitarised zone between the Koreas was dramatic - "a historic moment", as he put it. It was, indeed, quite some spectacle.

Sceptics, however, saw it as all show and no go.

All Mr Trump did was to legitimise Mr Kim and his power and prestige. Sure, the leaders agreed talks at diplomatic level could resume.

But so what. Mr Kim will never give up his protective nuclear weapons umbrella. Why should he discard the one powerful trump he holds?

Yet, there are pressures on both these apparent best friends forever.

Mr Kim needs economic development to buttress his rule and the international sanctions hurt an already impoverished land. Mr Kim and especially Mr Trump also have personal reputations that will be dented if the latest rapprochement proves to be another chimaera.

They are creating expectations and softening their domestic audiences for a possible, if unlikely, agreement at some stage.

Mr Trump's hints of some easing of some sanctions in exchange for some denuclearisation hardly matches the policy of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" that Washington has been so insistent on.

Nevertheless, that might be the only way forward. It is just possible, albeit remotely, that Mr Trump's spectacular making up with Mr Kim allows actual progress to be made.

Just do not expect Mr Kim to ever kowtow to the United States on its version of denuclearisation. If Mr Trump can stay out of matters and let the professionals do their job until another photo opportunity can be created, then just maybe the chill on the Korean Peninsula can thaw a little.

Just maybe Mr Trump's unconventional and crass conduct can occasionally break new ground.

Comments

View all

Despite his faults, he has so far been less of a war monger President than many of his recent predecessors and has yet to live up to the "2nd coming of Hitler" type headlines at the start of his Presidency.

President Trump seems to defer to World Leaders, if they're not Iranian.

Bullying was seen in campaigning, his attempt to intimidate Hilary Clinton onstage, and provoking a crowd against reporters.

bottom line is this the united states economy is in boom . more jobs / strong military New Zealand economy is going back. / trump can be blunt etc but he has run his country well and still does..... many things have been said in the media on trump and so far not one horrible left snowflake comment has been proven.

They may have been proven, it's just that his acolyte right wing followers, who call other opinion 'snowflake', and factual news 'fake', don't believe it. The power of authoritarianism.

So Trump just keeps succeeding, and his whiny detractors keep whining. When he gets re-elected, and the right in general start winning election after election around the world, will the detractors retract, or double down? Don't know. If you haven't noticed the earth has stopped rotating left and is spinning right and picking up momentum. We are all deplorables now.

I found the potential end of the Korean war, which has continued since the 1950's, quite an inspiring proposition. Finally North Korea gets to escape the Chinese gulag. And the image of strolling over the border, wondering if a bullet was going to zing out of the bushes, pretty cool. Surely the end of war is a good thing. Why would people want war to continue, and to start new ones? What sort of sickness wants war, just to spite Trump?

Correct things are turning right around the world as when your left / your left behind.

View all

640x20.png

Advertising Feature

1_mega-carousel_header_091219.jpg

1_mega-carousel_footer_091219.jpg

 

xmas_guide_640x95.jpg

christmas-2019-300px-her.jpgchristmas-2019-300px-him.jpgchristmas-2019-300px-family.jpgchristmas-2019-300px-kids.jpg