Picking a fight with Justin Trudeau on the eve of the North Korea talks sent the wrong message to America’s enemies.
.. White House trade adviser and apparent theologian Peter Navarro said on Fox News Sunday that “there’s a special place in Hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.”
Navarro was talking about Trudeau’s decision to hold a press conference in which he calmly, quietly, and politely — which is to say, Canadianly — explained that America’s neighbors to the north would be responding to the White House’s imposition of aluminum and steel tariffs with tariffs of their own, something the Canadian government had said it would do all along.
.. Kudlow, a friend of mine (who suffered a thankfully mild heart attack Monday night), went on to claim that the real reason Trump attacked our ally was to offer a show of strength before the Singapore summit.
.. “POTUS is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around,” Kudlow told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “He is not going to permit any show of weakness on the trip to negotiate with North Korea. . . . Kim must not see American weakness.”
.. Traditionally, the president of the United States is considered the leader of the free world. Well, being the leader of a coalition of powerful and rich countries is a stronger position than leader of America alone.
Sucking up to Russian president Vladimir Putin while hippie-punching Trudeau doesn’t make Trump himself look stronger, either.
.. One unnamed senior Trump adviser told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that the Trump Doctrine could be summarized as “We’re America, Bi***.” That may not be an official policy statement, but that is the impression our allies are getting.
.. Trump is profoundly unpopular and distrusted among the electorates of many of our allies. When Pew asked about public confidence in Trump’s ability to handle world affairs, 22 percent of Canadians expressed confidence in the president (compared with 83 percent for Obama). In Germany, only 11 percent trust Trump.
That’s not a problem if you think we don’t need allies, because they’re all going to Hell anyway. But don’t be surprised if other world leaders decide it’s in their interest to behave antagonistically toward America now that Trump has decided it’s in his interest to do so to them.
He lacks a sense of American history and its presence with us today. It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about Donald Trump’s inability to do either. This seems to be not a mere disinclination but a disability. It is not merely the result of intellectual sloth but of an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence.
.. he has instructed us that Andrew Jackson was angry about the Civil War that began 16 years after Jackson’s death.
.. North Korea should reciprocate this worry. Yes, a 70-year-old can be callow if he speaks as sophomorically as Trump did when explaining his solution to Middle Eastern terrorism: “I would bomb the s*** out of them. . . . I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left.”
.. As a candidate, Trump did not know what the nuclear triad is. Asked about it, he said: “We have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ballgame.” Invited to elaborate, he said: “I think — I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”
.. it is up to the public to quarantine this presidency by insistently communicating to its elected representatives a steady, rational fear of this man whose combination of impulsivity and credulity render him uniquely unfit to take the nation into a military conflict.