Wednesday, June 13, 2018
My kingdom for a pair of stacks
You really have to wonder about the scheduling at the White House to plan a summit with North Korea so closely on the heels of the G-7 summit that Trump had to leave Quebec early to make it to Singapore on time. But, one appears to have served the other. Trump used the G-7 to display his "toughness" as a prelude to what was billed as his hardball summit with Kim Jong-un.
The interesting part is that "toughness" didn't appear until he was back on Air Force One, tweeting his ornery texts that he would not sign the G-7 joint statement because he didn't get the concessions he wanted from the other members. He took most of his venom out on Canadian Pres. Trudeau, who days before had vowed retaliatory tariffs on the US. His Trumpness made it sound like he was responding to Trudeau, an odd habit that has emerged in which Trump tries to turn the tables hoping that no one sees him do it.
It seems to work among his faithful, who have now unleashed their vile anger on Canada, as if this whole tariff idea began in Ottawa, and they will be made to suffer at the hands of that dastardly villain, Justin Trudeau. One of Trump's advisors went so far as to say that there will be "a special place in hell" for Trudeau, albeit retracting his words a short while later.
There was also the amusing question of Trump's height, which has once again been called into question following a group photo in which Trudeau was clearly taller than Trump. Justin is officially listed as 6'-2" (188 cm), whereas Trump claims to be 6'-3" (190 cm). Little wonder he was so happy to be standing next to the diminutive and rotund Kim. Maybe the North Korean leader can put Trump in contact with a good cobbler.
So, how does Canada become the bad guy and North Korea the good guy in this topsy-turvy world? I'm still shaking my head because I would never have expected such a turn of events in a matter of days. The mainstream media appears equally befuddled, not sure which direction to turn, but for the most part pushed the Canada story aside to focus on the historic summit between Trump and Kim.
The on again-off again-on again summit played out pretty much as you would expect, with Trump trying to bask in the limelight of this historic meeting, claiming he has formed a "very special bond" with the young tyrant, and expects to see great things come from it, maybe even "great condos" on North Korea's beautiful beaches. He'll put Dennis Rodman right on it.
It all has the sleazy quality of one of his Celebrity Apprentice episodes, which Rodman appeared on twice. Trump prefers fringe figures like Kim to our traditional allies, giving him a special place at the table. For the Rocket Man, this was a dream come true. No doubt he was a fan of Trump's reality show and longed for the day he could meet the great showman. It finally came to pass, and to a large degree he can thank Rodman, who helped create this opening.
No one knows what the US will get out of this historic deal. There seems very little in the joint statement they signed to suggest any binding commitments, but we assume Mike Pompeo will work out the details. I have to think ending "war games" off the Korean peninsula is something Trump threw in at the last moment and will soon retract once his advisors have had a chance to talk to him. It sent Lindsey Antebellum into a tizzy fit, vowing to push through a blanket war resolution in Congress if Kim doesn't begin denuclearization immediately.
Yet, Trump couldn't bring himself to sign a joint statement with traditional American allies after cutting short his time at the G-7, claiming that the EU and Canada have treated us like a "piggy bank that everybody's robbing." He's great at these bogus analogies, leaving it to the media to parse out his incredulous statements. However, it seems Merkel, Trudeau and other G-7 members have had their fill of his antics and plan to get tough in the weeks ahead, putting His Trumpness in the uncomfortable position of actually having to respond, not just spouting bellicose grunts like a beached whale.
Most likely, the remaining members of the G-7 will treat the US as they do Russia, someone they have to do business with, but will keep at arm's length. Macron even went so far as to say the other six members can get along just fine without the US, as they have Russia since disinviting the country to G-7 conferences following the annexation of Crimea. Macron noted that together, the "G-6" has a far bigger market than the US.
So, will Trump now align the US with China and Russia, becoming a part of their "BRIC?" This would be really something, as BRIC was formed to counteract the influence of the G-7 in the wake of Russia's summary dismissal. Brazil and India are also major partners.
Like everything else about this administration, his advisors haven't thought out the consequences to Trump's rash actions that stem from his reality show mentality. They just respond in turn, like good sycophants, lashing out at Trudeau, Merkel, Macron and everyone else that questions His Trumpness's dictates. This as he cozies up to dictators and autocrats, with whom he has a special affinity. Democracy has no place at Trump's boardroom.