These are indeed bizarre and confusing times: a president reacts to a foreign
dictator's aggressive posturing with name-calling and trite "fire and
fury" threats. The dictator makes overtures for peace with its neighboring
country with which it's been embroiled in hostilities for decades. That country
rejoices and calls for the "fire and fury" president to receive the
Nobel Peace Prize, to which the "fire and fury" president's political
party and supporters see a chance to bestow a dignity on him that he has never
Restraint. Dignity. Integrity. Diplomacy. These words seem never to have been in Donald Trump's lexicon. He has not the thinnest veneer of sophistication. It would be elevating his social status to call him a petty bourgeois.
That this man is being linked to receiving a Nobel Prize for his bluster could be the most ironic insult to the memory of Alfred Nobel, the explosive and armaments inventor who sought to create a legacy of peace and learning: the braggart playing loose with the nuclear codes and quick to retaliate in a world crisis is now lauded as the world's peacemaker and penultimate diplomat. The mere mention of a Peace Prize created a WTF gasp throughout the world.
What Trump's ardent supporters fail to realize is that true diplomacy takes time, effort and intelligence, specifically with knowledge of the cultural mindsets involved. President Donald Trump thinks such diplomacy is ridiculous when all you have to do is to rattle your saber louder. In other words, coarse, hyperbolic bullshit trumps diplomacy (pun intended). It's George Bush's "cowboy diplomacy" with even less finesse, if that's possible.*
An Uphill Battle
From the start of his presidency, people have had to twist themselves into knots explaining away Trump's lack of dignity. "Refreshing" was a word that was often used, but with little effect. Crude humor can be "refreshing" when countering tragedy, but only for a while, until reality comes back into play and people become more disgusted than amused.
The nominating letter from congressmen was written in ridiculously glowing terms:
" We can think of no one more deserving of the Committee's recognition in 2019 than President Trump for his tireless work to bring peace to our world."
Much like Reince Priebus and the brazenly sycophantic televised cabinet
meeting, congressmen hoping to survive the mid-term elections are heaping
praise on a dubious personality.
Overcoming the Onslaught of the Undignified
Donald Trump's tenure as President has been plagued with more scandals, improprieties, crude gestures and irrational behavior than any other President in America's history:
- In the first year of his Presidency, over 2000 lies and misleading statments have been revealed.
- Over 2 million people in Great Britain signed a petition to keep Trump from a state visit because they felt he would embarrass the queen.
- He constantly contradicts himself, changes course, and shows signs of being unstable in decision-making.
So why are Trump supporters so eager to attach the Nobel Prize to him?
Vindication. Trump's core supporters have been dropping, especially since the attack on Syria. Pundits like Ann Coulter and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones did not conceal their disappointment and rage against a man who, by putting "America First", promised to feed their xenophobia. What's left may be looked upon as a group that hangs on to Trump by a mere thread of loyalty for no other reason than they hope he will some day seem "presidential" to America and the rest of the world.
They shouldn't hold their breath.
"A very wise thing to simulate madness".
That phrase was coined by Machiavelli. It could be a very apt strategy for Trump in North Korea - if he knew what he was doing. The strategy goes like this:
" ...the 'madman theory', a geopolitical strategy that is literally so crazy it just might work.
Basically, the idea is to let your enemies to think that you are so irrational, so unhinged, that you are capable of any act, no matter how destructive.
The term was coined by Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War and the concept dates back to Machiavelli, who observed in 1517, it could be "a very wise thing to simulate madness".
It's very possible, therefore, that Kim Jong-un was jolted by Trump simply because he is like Trump: erratic and capricious; capable of doing anything.
"It's the sanctions, stupid!"
So if Trump's cowboy diplomacy didn't shake Kim Jong-Un, who and what did? One strong theory is that the sanctions brought on North Korea have crippled its economy to the point of saying "uncle."
South China Morning Post:
And much of the credit for the delicate sanctions diplomacy that kept China and Russia on board goes to Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the UN. Also, the much-derided former secretary of state Rex Tillerson had a key role to play. China especially was persuaded once Tillerson articulated "the four no's", meaning that the US was not seeking regime change in Pyongyang, no collapse of the North Korean state, no premature reunification with the South and no American military attack.
There you have it: two people far more worthy than Trump to receive the Peace Prize by utilizing diplomacy rather than cheap bluster.
The Task of Dignifying Trump
Will Trump ever prove to be "presidential"? Will he ever exhibit restraint? Will he ever cease to be an embarrassment on the world stage? While his core doesn't mind his crude antics because they think that (with North Korea at least) he gets results, he's actually riding on the coattails of people like Haley and Tillerson.
No, Donald Trump will not change simply because he sees no reason to change. He's perfect. And the world will continue to laugh at him and the supporters who try vainly to bestow dignity upon him.
*It was maintained that Bush knew nothing about the countries he visited and thought that keeping "America! Freedom! Democracy!" as a public mantra was the only thing needed for diplomacy. He was, in fact, considered by some to be the world's greatest diplomatic dimwit. Trump, on the other hand, is a more dangerous buffoon.
(Article changed on May 8, 2018 at 20:49)