Donald Trump is in the early days of a tour through Asia. He is visiting South Korea, Japan and China. Everywhere Trump goes in Asia he is met with genuine warmth and welcome by the Asian Chiefs of State.
It is ironic, but Donald Trump may be more popular in Asia than he is in the United States. This strange state of affairs is largely due to the outpouring of invective from the liberal press. The stock market is setting a new high every day. The liberal press ignores this, preferring to fill their pages with the soap opera like accounts of the financial manipulations of members of his staff.
Unemployment is at the lowest level in recent times but the liberal press ignores this while treating every utterance of a special prosecutor wandering through Washington on a witch hunt as something important. The liberal press ignores the fact that the special prosecutor has been unable to find a scintilla of evidence of wrong-doing on the part of Donald Trump. This inconvenient fact has not even slowed them down.
The heads of state of South Korea, Japan and China live in the real world. They recognize that the military might of the United States is an important part of their defense against aggression. Since North Korea is led by an unstable hot-head, their fears are very real. The American counter-force to North Korea is even important to China as it assures stability in their region. North Korea lies just over the Yalu River from them. China has well over a million troops stationed along that border.
The Asian leaders like what they see in Donald Trump. Back in the day, President Teddy Roosevelt said, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Donald Trump is walking brashly and carrying two big sticks. He has ordered two carrier forces into the North Pacific. A modern aircraft carrier force contains immense fire power.
When the Asian leaders look at Donald Trump they see a strong leader, a really tough guy. He sends a message to friend and foe alike, “No more Mr. Nice Guy.” Donald freely tells his allies that the day of the United States entering into trade agreement ruinous to the American workingmen is over. New agreements will be more aggressively bargained.
To North Korea, Donald is a formidable adversary.He is tough and unpredictable. These are two attributes you do not want to see on the other side of the table. North Korea is still making noises but it appears that Donald Trump has caused them to back away from the edge of war.
Donald Trump’s diplomatic style follows his successful business strategy. He uses his own personality. He has become personal friends with the leaders of our allied nations. He dines with them. He plays golf with them. They get to know him as a person and they like what they see.
Donald Trump has formed a personal friendship with Xi Jin Ping, the leader of China. Xi Jin Ping visited Trump’s mansion in Florida and enjoyed an elaborate dinner. They have established a personal relationship which promises to flower into better relations between their nations.
Donald Trump played golf with Shinzo Abe, the leader of Japan on this recent trip. The leaders have become personal friends and are on a first name basis. They call each other Donald and Shinzo which can only lead to better relations with this most important ally.
Donald Trump is just getting to know Moon Jae In, the leader of South Korea but their personal relationship is moving toward friendship. Donald has assured Moon that we have his back in the event of aggression from North Korea.
There are signs that Kim Jong Un is becoming uneasy with respect to Donald Trump as an adversary. In game theory, the most difficult opponent is a brash one whose next move cannot be predicted. Donald Trump’s mercurial statements and actions make his next move impossible to forecast. One gets the feeling that no one can discern what Donald Trump is going to do next because we are not entirely certain that Donald knows what he is going to do next. That makes him a most baffling opponent at game theory.
I have never met Donald Trump but many years ago I was a crew member on a racing sailboat in a National Championship Regatta. Ted Turner skippered one of the opposing boats. The post regatta party had a room full of a couple of hundred people. Ted Turner dominated that room by just walking in the door. You could feel the power of his personality across the room. I suspect that Donald Trump has a similar effect. He is larger than life and a magnet for all eyes. His style horrifies the traditional diplomats but it works.
Professor Joe Launie is a Professor Emeritus at California State University, Northridge. His latest book is “The Road to the Ox Carts”, where he warns that continued abuse of the middle class by the government may lead to an insurrection.