The Trump doctrine isn’t ‘We’re America, Bitch.’ It’s ‘I’m Trump, Bitch.’


Peace is better than war, obviously. So everyone should breathe a sigh of relief that President Trump ended months of brinksmanship and shook hands this week with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, at least temporarily dampening the risk of potential nuclear catastrophe.

But does anyone doubt that if President Obama had negotiated this exact same deal with the Hermit Kingdom, Trump would have berated it as “weak” and “terrible”?

This gets to the heart of Trump’s approach not just to foreign policy, but all politics: It’s all about him. There is no guiding ideology beyond Trump. If he does it, it’s great, the best. If his opponents do it, it’s weak, foolish.

Indeed, the Trump foreign policy doctrine is not, as a senior White House official recently put it to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, “We’re America, Bitch.”

It’s “I’m Trump, Bitch.”

This president doesn’t care what’s in the deal — only that he’s the one striking it. There is no good or bad, right or wrong. There is only Trump.

With or without Trump, the North Korea thaw ought to be received positively. Shunning murderous dictatorships isn’t a good way to curb their human rights abuses at home or their provocations abroad. That only isolates them from the broader world, cutting them off from global norms of good behavior. It also diminishes the international community’s leverage to influence them. Indeed, it would be an advance for good sense and humanity if the United States were to end all sanctions against bad regimes and open embassies in their countries, including North Korea. However, dealing with tyrannical regimes is one thing. Feting and flattering them as Trump did with Kim is quite another.

This was a stunning — and swift — legitimization of a rogue regime that has no parallel in living memory (or perhaps ever). President Barack Obama traveled to Cuba when he ended America’s half-century embargo on the country and opened an embassy there, but he didn’t heap fulsome praise on the Castro brothers’ communist dictatorship. Nor did he hold hands with the Iranian mullahs against the backdrop of fluttering Iranian and U.S. flags and issue a joint communiqué. You can imagine what citizen Trump would have tweeted had President Obama acted this way.

This is about more than hypocrisy, though. It’s the way Trump views life and the world. The most unlikely president in American history can do no wrong, and nothing is more paramount than dominating and belittling his opponents. Trump looks out upon all the people of the world, the “haters and losers” chief among them, the people who say he can’t succeed, that he will fail in doing things his own way, and says, with a sort of swollen bravado, “I’m Trump, bitch.”

But in the end, Trump’s deal with Kim will very likely be a weaker, vaguer, and less-binding version of the Obama-era Iran deal that Trump tore up in May after mercilessly berating it as “too weak.” Indeed, Obama’s Iran deal forced the mullahs to give up 98 percent of …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics

      

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