This morning as tensions heat up on the Korean peninsula, Donald Trump is airing out his grievances against North Korea via Twitter.
In what American foreign policy expert Jonathan Beeley calls “TWITTER gunboat diplomacy,” Trump also warning China that it would “be better for them” if they played along:
I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2017(Continued Below)
North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2017
Trump’s tweets sound more than a bit like a cautionary head’s up from a Mafia don. It is difficult to know what his tweets actually mean because probably, Trump himself doesn’t know.
As for how effective they will be, national security expert John Schindler not only reminded Trump that China remembers the start of the Korean War in 1950, but reminded him that American success against North Korea triggered China’s intervention in December of that year:
For Beijing, almost any North Korean misconduct is preferable to a unified and US-allied ROK on the Yalu again. This isn't complicated.
— John Schindler (@20committee) April 11, 2017
Trump’s tweets are unusual in that just this weekend Trump bragged of his meeting with Chinese President Xi, tweeting an upbeat,
“I just want to say that President Xi and all of his representatives have been really interesting to be with. I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away.”
This was the same Trump, mind you, who said during the campaign that China was “raping” the United States. It is perhaps no surprise then that as The New York Times reports, as soon as Xi had left the U.S.,
“Xinhua, the state news agency, on Saturday called the strike the act of a weakened politician who needed to flex his muscles. In an analysis, Xinhua also said Mr. Trump had ordered the strike to distance himself from Syria’s backers in Moscow, to overcome accusations that he was ‘pro-Russia.’”
According to Xinhau on April 8, Xi and Trump “pledge to expand mutually beneficial cooperation, manage differences,” but apparently Trump has now decided to do this via Twitter rather than through the normal diplomatic channels.
And his decision inexplicable if he told the truth that he and Xi had a tremendous meeting, only a couple of days later to turn around and announce to the whole world that if China doesn’t play ball on North Korea, the U.S. will unilaterally resolve the problem to its own satisfaction.
With his Syrian missile strike behind him, Donald Trump seems to be in search of another “easy win,” a public-relations stunt that will make him look strong and decisive and oh, by the way, make people forget his collusion with Russia.
If that is Donald Trump’s idea of diplomacy, we’re all in a lot of trouble.
Photo: Screen grab Xinhua, Twitter @XHNews