U.S. President Donald Trump seems to many to have been played, but he’s unwilling to admit it. He met earlier this year with the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, and towards the conclusion of their brief interactions, the two world leaders signed a document affirming a broad commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. In the time since, satellite images have suggested continued North Korean work on their national missile program, and talks involving U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials have broken down. Trump, however, seems as determined as ever to stick to the line that everything is getting along just fine.
Early Monday, he tweeted a message reading:
‘I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!’
Does he really think that a simple handshake between two world leaders is enough to change the course of history? That’s an impressive level of willful ignorance. The agreement signed by Trump and Kim was already scrutinized for being vague, and now, Trump is offering the idea that it doesn’t even matter and only the leaders’ handshake does. That is, quite simply, not how the world works.
He goes from the idea that his handshake is the most important binding force to come out of his recent summit with Kim to trying to offload blame for the U.S./North Korea relationship breaking down onto the Chinese. The country is a convenient scapegoat, but no amount of posturing and finger pointing can do away with the fact that it was DONALD TRUMP, the president of the United States, who touted a “special bond” that he’d formed with a foreign dictator and now faces challenges to the legitimacy of that bond.
Trump has used the “attack China” cop-out in the past, whining for that country to do something more in the struggle with the threat of North Korea’s arsenal throughout 2017. In the time since, he has ramped up his own aggression towards the country, imposing rounds of tariffs that have — along with other new Trump administration tariffs — got global interests hunkering down for a trade war.
The aggressive trade actions and his incessant, reality disconnected optimism towards North Korea are a part of the broader way in which Trump continues to resolutely push ahead with his ramshackle excuse for a foreign policy no matter the consequences. His determination to prove himself right might have little global consequence when he was in the private sector — court cases against him are self-contained; once they’re over, they’re over — but now, he’s the president of the United States.
He will be embarking this week on a trip to Europe, where he will attend a NATO summit, will visit the United Kingdom after having put that off for months, and will meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin. How his blind ambition when it comes to world affairs will affect those meetings remains to be seen.
Check out Twitter’s response below.
Featured Image via OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images