The cancellation of the “two madmen for the price of one” summit was the least surprising development ever. The summit was conceived on an impulse and cancelled on one as well:
Early Thursday morning, after a flurry of calls with a handful of senior advisers, an angry President Donald Trump personally dictated the three-paragraph letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that canceled the scheduled summit between their two nations.
It had been less than 12 hours since Trump and his team began grappling intensely with the prospects for shelving what would have been a historic meeting between the two heads of state.
But the president, fearing that the North Koreans might beat him to the punch, wanted to be the one to cancel first, multiple officials told NBC News.
The president’s* fatal lack of impulse control has bitten him in the ass again. After weeks, of fulsome flattery, the two sides started trading barbs. I kept waiting for the D-word: DOTARD. Instead, the North Korean side used a different D-word, calling Vice President* Pence a political DUMMY. It’s an apt analogy: he *is* a dummy and his ventriloquist is an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head. It reminds me of the venerable ad:
Infighting between Mike Pompeo and John Bolton also doomed this misbegotten venture. Once Bolton used the phrase “Libyan solution,” the ill-conceived summit was bound to be flushed. The kid with the bad haircut wants *his* family business to survive unlike that of Colonel Gaddafi. Knowing Bolton and his mustache as I do, it was a deliberate act of sabotage. Is there anything Trumpier than self-sabotage?
I almost called this post “Trump’s Dear Jong-Un Letter” as a pun on a Dear John letter. The missive he dictated to the dictator sounded like a spurned lover. He may have wept bitter orange tears for all we know. I dig Josh Marshall’s take on the break up letter:
The words resonate with a genuine hurt and anguish, mixed with moments of menace and still hope for the future. It reads needy. It’s like a letter you write to a romantic partner who has abandoned you without saying so. You write, hurt, finalizing what is already clear.
There’s one other point worth noting. We often discuss how President Trump seems to see diplomacy in highly personal terms. Things depend on how he and the other man or woman get along personally. There’s his military, his diplomats, his cabinet secretaries. He has little sense that the US and other states may have foundational interests that trump any personal chemistry between the leaders. This letters suggests (unsurprisingly) that this feeling of personal investment is quite real, not only on the ‘positive’ side but on the negative side as well. He seems truly hurt and angry. “A wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me” … “that was a beautiful gesture” … “please do not hesitate to call me or write” … “We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant.” It’s not good to have a President who is this emotionally needy or one that conducts dangerous foreign policy on whims and ignorance. The entire thing is a ridiculous and embarrassing chapter in our history.
Another striking thing about the demise of the “two madmen for the price of one” summit is that the White House made the decision without consulting anyone. Not only were the Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese governments not informed in advance neither was Mike Pompeo. This is no way to run a railroad or a foreign policy. It reminds me of the Kissinger-Rogers, Brzezinski-Vance, Rice-Powell duels between the NSC and State Department. Hell, at least McMaster neither baited Tillerson nor served him poison tea.
Back to the post title. Despite the fervent wishes of Trump’s sycophants in the House of Representatives, the Kaiser of Chaos was never going to win a Nobel Peace Prize. The Swedes are not zany enough to do such a thing.
A different administration would learn from this mistake. It’s no fun wiping egg off your face and pretending it’s an omelette. But they won’t learn a damn thing. Trump will continue to think that foreign policy negotiations are akin to real estate deals and that winging it is okay. Past presidents have learned from their mistakes, this one won’t even admit to making one.