Now it’s Trump’s turn to shine on the foreign policy stage. His early overtures to Russia were frustrated by the Democrats’ as-yet-unproven “collusion” charge, but his brand of personal diplomacy with other adversaries has paid off via his carrot-and-stick treatment of China’s Xi Jinping and, most spectacularly, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Trump had the former Little Rocket Man eating out of his hand at the summit last week in Singapore, where the pair signed a four-point document including a pledge to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
How does he do it? Simple: the Big Dog takes what he wants. Trump puts his best offer on the table first, and then snatches it away at the first sign of hesitation — as he did with Kim in the run-up to the summit. He has no interest in acceding to diplomatic niceties unless (as in his flattery of Kim in Singapore) they further American national interests. Best of all, he doesn’t care who knows it or what they think about it.
Let the sniping begin! “Shockingly weak,” “reality TV,” “a joke,” nattered the usual nabobs of negativism of the Trump-Kim agreement. What had been unthinkable for more than half a century — the American president shaking hands with the leader of the Hermit Kingdom — was suddenly deemed both unremarkable and insufficient. And then, the dogs having barked, and the president’s accomplishment dismissed, the caravan moved on to carp another day.