The president has been touring Asia throughout recent days, having gone there for the two purposes of promoting U.S. economic interests and bolstering the West’s defense against North Korea, which has lately picked up the pace of their nuclear weapons development program.
According to a striking new report from Bloomberg, the way in which Trump tried to promote U.S. economic interests while touring Asia is notable, to say the least.
Rather than joining in with other countries in their efforts to enact greater economic cooperation, Trump reportedly desperately pushed for Asian leaders to buy U.S. weapons. His reported efforts mirror what took place on his trip earlier this year to Saudi Arabia when he signed a large defense deal with the country.
That deal reportedly was toothless, to say the least, with components of it reportedly having been worked out years before. The Saudi Arabians have been state sponsors of terror for decades, but that didn’t stop Trump from suckering up to them to the point of pursuing that deal with them.
According to Bloomberg, in the case of Trump’s trip through Asia, while meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, he implored him to buy American defense machinery, taking the Vietnamese’s recent decision to buy weapons from Russia as “almost insulting.” As Bloomberg notes, U.S. law “prevented such sales until last year.”
Trump wanted sales to go through to bolster his re-election chances, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg.
As Bloomberg put it:
‘He needed quick wins, he told his team in the room, because he’d be running for re-election before anyone realized. And weapons sales, in Trump’s view, are good for his approval ratings.’
Trump has very good reason to worry about his approval ratings — he has the lowest approval rating of any modern U.S. president at this point in their tenure.
His low approval rating is clearly getting to him — just recently, he tweeted a poll from Rasmussen that is a long noted statistical outlier. Trump, however, claimed that the poll is “one of the most accurate.”
His push for the Vietnamese leadership to buy American defense technology wasn’t unique. On his Asian tour, the president reportedly “rarely set down in a country without pointing out that buying a few F-18s would go a long way toward winning his heart.”
Him desperately pushing for Asian leaders to buy U.S. defense technology was a part of a trip that overall proved to be a disappointment for Asian leaders. The leaders “were looking for signs Trump hadn’t abandoned the region when he pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in January” — but they did not get any such signs.
Instead, they just got our self-absorbed president, focusing on ways to get political wins under the guise of “protecting American jobs.” Regional policy expert Scott Snyder described Trump’s attendance at economic summits in South Korea and the Philippines as “the minimum prerequisite,” adding that “in the absence of a more specific and clearly articulated regional strategy toward Southeast Asia, it will likely be seen as falling short of expectations.”
As for the other stated goal of Trump’s trip — bolstering the West’s defense against North Korea — Trump isn’t coming back from his Asia trip having made any significant progress.
For some time, he’s pushed for military action being the way to go in dealing with North Korea’s ever-growing nuclear capabilities, but essentially every other interest is opposed to that.
He’s tweeted what amount to threats against North Korea time and time again.
Featured Image via BULLIT MARQUEZ/ AFP/Getty Images