Too bad international diplomacy isn’t as simple as signing a presidential pardon. If that were true, Donald Trump could be hailed in Singapore today as the 21st century’s Dag Hammarskjöld. The Art of the Dealmight even be taken off the fiction shelf.
In signing pardons, Trump has finally identified the presidential duty he was born for. No rules. No limits. No pesky court rulings or Congressional oversight. And no ungrateful allies like that sniveling Trudeau kid or turncoat former bestie Emmanuel Macron, making the U.S. president look like a world-stage amateur and letting Little Rocket Man seem sane by comparison.
Sorry, Nobel! No prizes around here!
Looking back in history, it’s hard to find another summit botched as badly as Trump just botched Quebec City, where he turned the G-7 into the Gee-I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing here. When Trump decided to impose heavy tariffson aluminum and steel from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, he enflamed our closest allies. Canada’s Justin Trudeau called the move “kind of insulting” and threatened his own revenge tariffs, saying his country will not be “pushed around.”
Trump reacted on the Twitter machine, as he usually does, slamming Trudeau’s “false statement” and calling the young Canadian “very dishonest & weak.” Trump’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, reserved a “special place in hell” for weaklings like Justin who dare confront the great and powerful American leader.
Here’s the problem with sliming good friends while cozying up to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the world’s other outsized villains: Your best friends start to hate you, and the villains are still villains.
Trump stubbornly refused to prepare for his nuclear summit with Kim in Singapore, just as he refused to prepare for the G-7. The hugely complex nuclear issue is just a matter of “attitude,” Trump believes. Now, that he’s lowering expectations so furiously, what started as a promise to completely denuclearize the Korean peninsula is just a little getting-to-know-you time.
When the bar’s that low, a handshake and a couple of grip-and-grin photos can be hailed as proof of a smashing success. Then again, given what just happened in Quebec, even that could get messed up.
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is the author of a dozen books including “TRUMPITUDE: The Secret Confessions of Donald’s Brain.” Join Ellis on Twitter @henican.