It’s official: The President of the United States has the emotional maturity of a four year old. Donald Trump’s infantile, punitive and reckless behavior has long been a source of unnecessary risk to the nation. And on Thursday morning he demonstrated one of the reasons why he cannot be trusted to lead a marching band, much less a country.
The background: Vice-President Mike Pence was interviewed on Fox News by Martha MacCallum on Monday. During that softball suck-up Pence managed to start an international incident. He told MacCallum that the U.S. could end up pursuing the “Libya model” in North Korea. By which he was inferring, deliberately or otherwise, that if Kim Jong Un gave up his nuclear weapons program he might still be assassinated like Muammar Gaddafi. Choe Son Hui, a vice minister in North Korea’s foreign ministry, responded by calling Pence a “political dummy” and, elaborating, said that:
“As a person involved in the U.S. affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the U.S. vice president.”
The most peculiar part of that statement is that Choe was surprised by Pence’s ignorance and stupidity. A seasoned diplomat ought to have been aware that this is the standard state of affairs in the Trump administration. Nevertheless, this exchange resulted in Trump throwing another of his juvenile tantrums and taking the extraordinary step of canceling his much anticipated summit with Kim.
This was the summit meeting that Trump has been bragging about for weeks. He considered it a monumental achievement that his predecessors were incapable of pulling off. In reality, every previous American president knew that North Korea was trying to manipulate the U.S. into granting them recognition and legitimacy they did not deserve. While past presidents were strong enough to avoid that trap, Trump caved.
It was also the summit meeting that Trump’s sycophants in Congress and the media praised as so historically profound that Trump should be given the Nobel Peace Prize. Members of the Republican Freedom Caucus in the House officially sent a letter to the Nobel nominating committee seeking to place Trump’s name into consideration. Under the circumstances, they must be pretty embarrassed now.
But even more embarrassing is Trump’s letter Kim Jong Un. He began by expressing his appreciation for Kim’s cooperation in setting up the June 12, meeting in Singapore. And as an attempt to imply that it was North Korea’s weakness that initiated the discussions, Trump added “We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant.” If it was totally irrelevant then why did he mention it this letter? To normal, non-narcissists the measure of something’s irrelevance is that it doesn’t get mentioned. But that wasn’t even the worst part of Trump’s painfully self-serving letter. He also wrote that:
“Based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”
Trump failed to note that it was the “anger and open hostility” of Pence that generated the response from North Korea. But more to the point, Trump is virtually admitting that he is retaliating out of spite by saying that this cancellation would come at “the detriment of the world.” No responsible leader would take such an action if he believed that the whole world would suffer. He would set aside his personal animus for the sake of the greater good. The intelligent, diplomatic response would be to take up whatever differences he had when the two leaders met. But that would require Trump to have some intelligence and diplomacy.
Additionally, Trump’s letter escalated the tensions between the U.S. and North Korea with a thinly veiled threat of war:
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
And this is the man that Republicans (and Trump himself) think is worthy of consideration for a Nobel Peace Prize? Trump later spoke at the White to explain his his decision to cancel the meeting. In that address he provided no new details or rational justification for his decision. However he did add a bizarre comment asserting that South Korea and Japan…
“…are willing to shoulder much of the costs of any financial burden – any of the costs associated – by the United States in operations if such an unfortunate situation is forced upon us.”
Really? Will that come before or after Mexico pays for his idiotic border wall? These are precisely the sort of comments and actions that should prevent North Korea (or any other country) from being surprised by Trump’s ignorance and stupidity. He is an egocentric imbecile who puts his own interests before those of the country, or even the world. Hopefully the foreign diplomats who have to deal with this nonsense are prepared to be bigger than Trump and act accordingly. Otherwise we are all in big trouble.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.