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Since the blow-up between President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at last week’s G-7 summit in Canada, the default position of the anti-Trump commentariat has been to compare Trump’s angry response to Trudeau, the leader of the U.S.’s closest ally, on the one hand, to his gracious treatment of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, on the other hand.
The comparison, in and of itself, is ridiculous.
Kim - Leader - US - Enemy - Just
Kim is the leader of a longtime U.S. enemy. Just last summer, fear of war with North Korea surged as “Little Rocket Man” tested intercontinental ballistic missiles presumably capable of reaching the U.S. As Vanity Fair’s T.A. Franks noted, flattering mass murdering enemy leaders is something U.S. leaders have often felt compelled to do to advance U.S. interests.
Comparing the way Trump treats the two men, then, is just as pointless as comparing apples and oranges.
Analysis - Trump - Disparate - Treatment - Allies
A much more apt, and enlightening, analysis would be to consider Trump’s disparate treatment of two allies — for instance, Trudeau and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Both Trudeau and Netanyahu lead U.S. allies. But whereas Trump and his advisors sharply rebuked Trudeau for his angry assault following the G-7 summit last week, Netanyahu and Trump enjoy close, intense, and mutually supportive ties. Far from attacking one another, Trump and Netanyahu consistently back one another up in their public statements.
Disparity - Disparity - Treatment - Trump - Expectations
What accounts for the disparity? More broadly, what does the disparity in treatment tell us about Trump’s expectations from foreign leaders? What does it teach us about his foreign policy outlook more generally?
Earlier this week, the New Yorker published a 5,000-word article by Adam Entous chronicling, among other things, the way that Netanyahu and Trump forged their close relationship. In “Donald Trump’s New World Order: How the President, Israel and the Gulf States plan to fight Iran – and leave the...
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