Trump’s Bizarre Foreign Trip Will Likely Be a Win For Him, And a Loss For the Rest of the World

While obviously much is yet to be known about how President Donald Trump’s far-too-hyped summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will go, it seems pretty obvious what the conclusion of his two current foreign trips will be. Trump will get a win for him and his most rabid fans, while almost everyone else will lose. There are two incontrovertible realities about the extraordinary events surrounding these two trips. One, if Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton were engaging in anything remotely similar to Trump’s inexplicable pro-Russia, pro-North Korea “diplomacy,” “conservatives,” especially those in the media, would be totally apoplectic. Two, there is absolutely no reason to trust that Trump either knows what he is doing, or even has the nation’s best interests at heart, at least compared with his own. Trump’s declaration that Russia should be allowed back into the G-7 after being kicked out for extremely good is, without a doubt, the most stunningly awful foreign policy statement made by a president in at least a generation. Even if you somehow forget that Trump himself is under investigation for having colluded with Russia to win the election, Russia’s meddling in our 2016 campaign alone—which they have never even admitted to and are likely to do again—should prevent any thought of restoring their status within that group of allies. That absurdity alone, in a rational world, would have completely tarnished Trump’s entire trip and greatly overshadowed everything else, even if it all went perfectly well. But Trump being Trump, that’s not at all what happened. Trump, who arrived to the G-7 late and left early, stirred up all sorts of discord with our strongest allies by picking fights with nearly everyone, especially Canada. Even one of Trump’s best pals, the president of France, ripped him for creating conflict out of anger, and an amazing photo capturing the tense atmosphere, released Germany’s Angela Merkel, went viral. All of this was declared a clear failure on Trump’s part both by credible media members, and even prominent Republican leaders. Perhaps worst of all, it also increased the chances that Trump will get taken advantage of in Singapore. Now that the narrative has been set that the first leg of the president’s foreign trip was a disaster, Trump, ever the master manipulator of the media, will need to be able to declare some sort of victory with regard to North Korea. This means that, like a virgin teenage boy on a prom date, he will be far too eager to give up things that are important down the road — in order to get at least a decent headline to salvage him today. From a practical standpoint, this means that Trump will not even raise the issue of North Korea’s massive human rights violations because it would create too much of a risk to his dreams of a “history-making” deal. Just the fact that Trump is meeting with Kim, without Kim having agreed to any nuclear concessions at all in order to secure his status-elevating summit, is a massive win for Un and a loss for how America can deal with similar situations in the future (what exactly is the disincentive in all of this for any other third-world dictator to act in the same abhorrent fashion Kim has?). But now Trump, like a incompetent gambler who is down for night, will throw good money after bad, thinking that any sort of deal will be better for him than nothing at all. This has always been my greatest concern about the Trump presidency. He is an extremely narcissistic person who neither understands how actions have future, often unforeseen, consequences, nor even seems to care. His primary focus is about what seems good today, usually for him and not for rest of the world. A good president should have the exact opposite perspective, especially when it comes to foreign affairs where events often have impact far beyond one man’s time in office. Trump, a guy who has always seen debt as the key to him appearing to be rich, effectively has the Western World’s credit card and is making silly and selfish charges on it for which he will never be around to pay off when the bill comes due. Frankly, our best hope for the meeting with Kim is that he is (also?) so crazy that he fails to take advantage of the easy mark in front of him, and that even Trump becomes convinced that the best outcome for him personally is look strong by blowing it all up. In a world that is now so often upside-down, it shouldn’t be a surprise when perceived “failure” is a far better outcome than apparent “success.” John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud  or email him at johnz@mediaite.com [Photo via Chip Somodevilla/Getty-Images]

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