The father of one of the three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting in China did something dumb. He questioned whether Trump did anything to get his son out of a Chinese jail. LaVar Ball is a nitwit, and has been for quite a while. All three of the players thanked the president when they apologized on TV the other day.
Meanwhile, the president of our whole country, Donald J. Trump, responded to LaVar Ball today by saying “I should have left them in jail.” No, you shouldn’t have done that. And you shouldn’t stoop to the level you did, but you apparently can’t help yourself.
The bigger issue is that we have a president who can be played by foreign adversaries. Maybe that is not completely new. Maybe previous presidents were also taken advantage of. But this one is so transparently hungering for flattery all day every day that he makes China’s job and Russia’s job and Iran’s job and pretty much every foreign leader’s job much too easy. They ought to at least have to work a little in order to manipulate the United States government. Well, actually Russia seems to have done just that, over years if not decades, with Trump. And if and when Donald Trump and/or his family members are incarcerated, should we leave them in jail? Should we forgive and pardon them? Will they ever ask for our forgiveness?
Babyface Kim seems to have long-term strategic goals. Babyface Trump, well, “long-term” isn’t a word I would associate with him but I hope I’m wrong about that. In fairness to Babyface #2, he did inherit a problem. North Korea has been working to become a nuclear-armed state since the 1950s, and tested a nuclear weapon over ten years ago (2006). Babyface #2 is acting as if Babyface Kim is the one with more to lose. Does Babyface #1 recognize this as bluster and bluff? When you have to hope that the leader of North Korea has a better sense of humor than the American president does and a clearer sense of the real incentives in the “game” being played than Trump does, it’s not a happy day.
Newt Gingrich, bless his heart, defended Mitch McConnell vis-a-vis Trump by observing that the president is a player on the field, who ought to be playing with the Republican team, not acting as if he is the owner in a skybox. Trump will do his very best to stay in the skybox and avoid blame for anything and everything that happens on the field. Not a great approach if you actually wish to achieve political and domestic policy goals, even misguided and harsh ones. I think it’s an even worse strategy to climb down out of the “leader of the free world” foreign affairs skybox and recklessly intensifying a mudwrestling match with a truly world-class piglet. He seems likely to enjoy it more than we will. Hope I am wrong about that, and that Babyface #2 is making the best of a very tricky situation.
P.S. Maybe a North Korean missile will misfire, come down in Manchurian countryside, and China will decide to put an end to Kim’s regime?
For example, let us consider the unplanned non-obsolescence of NATO. In the same breath, the president reminded us that he had said NATO was obsolete and informed us that NATO was no longer obsolete. Don’t even get me started on trying to figure out where the United States as such stands on Russia, let alone Syria, China, North Korea… I believe I grasp that the important point to remember is this: my president is the big strong man who tells me what is true and what is fake, and when he decides that there is a new, different, and probably opposite truth it is on me to avoid whiplash.
settle down mr. president. a lot of the indivisible folks are even older than you, and you seem super energetic now, but pace yourself. i hope you read the financial times article by david allen green today that explained why “see you in court” made lots of sense in your old world of commercial litigation in which your “aggressive shout of ‘see you in court’ would…be a standard prelude to cutting some sort of a deal….the problem with this approach is that public law litigation–legal disputes over whether a public body has the power to do a thing or not–is not like commercial litigation. going to court is the very point of public law litigation….only a court can hold an act or a decision…to be lawful or not….public law litigation is about decision-making, not deal-making.”
likewise with china. the one china policy, as paul haenle, a former national security council china specialist, explained, “is not a card on the bargaining table–it is the table itself.” you reversed your previous position, which some say you never do. but china is special. with special prices on all the cheap stuff with which we like to fill our homes. time to move on to the next distraction.
going to all lower case does not come naturally to you, mr. president, but maybe a golfing weekend with the japanese prime minister will help you settle yourself. if not, maybe he will explain to you a very amazing and noble and beautiful japanese exit strategy you can achieve all by yourself, with no court or congress or anybody getting in your way.