Trump has proven to be more willing to accept risk than his predecessors — as seen in strong shows of force and occasionally heated words. Yet as his speech to the National Assembly in Seoul revealed, he is unified with Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on using maximum pressure to guide North Korea back to serious dialogue. While the White House remains committed to a denuclearized Korean peninsula, Trump set a much lower bar for North Korea to return to the bargaining table. Hopefully with far more serious effort from China and Russia, North Korea will eventually find diplomacy preferable to ever-growing tension. …In sum, the heart of the Trump administration’s policy is to preserve American power and invest in those capabilities that will allow the United States to retain strategic influence across the vast and dynamic Indo-Pacific region. The president’s first trip to Asia afforded an excellent opportunity to outline this policy. In the coming months and years, the Trump administration will embroider on this basic framework with more specific policies. Notwithstanding a strong preference for bilateral rather than multilateral trade, there is far more continuity than change in America’s posture in Asia. And that should be a welcome development.
This quickness to pile on the president, at the expense of policy analysis, illustrates a growing problem on the left. Liberals and their media allies are becoming knee-jerk anti-Trumpists, always on the lookout for the president’s next embarrassing, meme-able gaffe — and sometimes pouncing without getting their facts straight.
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
President Donald Trump’s sweeping plan to restore American primacy by replacing “unfair” multilateral trade agreements with a series of bilateral deals is meeting a grim reality: foreign trading partners aren’t taking the bait.From Japan to South Korea to China to Vietnam, the president extended his offer to partner with the United States on a “fair and equal basis” outside of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the multi-nation accord that Trump withdrew from on his first full day in office.“I will make bilateral trade agreements with any Indo-Pacific nation that wants to be our partner and that will abide by the principles of fair and reciprocal trade,” Trump told a gathering of Asia-Pacific powers in Vietnam on Friday.But in every country Trump visited, none of the leaders entered trade negotiations or offered significant concessions to the former real estate magnate and Art of the Deal author.
From Asia to Europe and Latin America other countries are striking trade deals and launching negotiations at an accelerating pace. Japan, Canada, Mexico and eight other countries that remained in the Trans-Pacific Partnership after Mr Trump pulled the US out of the trade pact are expected to announce at Apec that they will be moving ahead with the deal.A few days later in the Philippines the leaders of 16 countries — including China, India, Japan and South Korea — are expected to declare progress towards a deal that, if successful, would see tariffs fall across a quarter of the global economy. The vehicle for that is the Beijing-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, once mocked by US officials as a clumsy effort to catch up with Washington’s own plans to write rules for the region.Even though he bills himself as the master of the deal, Mr Trump is expected to leave Asia, a region that carries the future hopes of many US companies, without delivering any substantial new trade initiatives. Japan continues to resist US approaches to begin bilateral talks. Other TPP members with whom Washington is eager to strike bilateral pacts, such as Vietnam, seem equally unenthusiastic.
Trump pleased with the opulent welcome treatment he's been given on this trip. "It was a red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever seen."— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) November 13, 2017
Trump is not the first president who has come to office thinking that strong foreign policies are built on cordial relations with foreign leaders, but he is one of the few who still seem wedded to the notion after a few trips around the block. “Great chemistry” can play a role in promoting good policies, but the chemistry grows out of — and amounts to nothing without — mutual interests or values.
“I think everyone was polite to [Trump] and they want to make him think that they are all chummy and willing to do things with him. But I have to think in some ways they are laughing behind his back, and certainly the Chinese are,” one US business lobbyist told the Financial Times on Sunday. “I don’t think any of them have any intention of getting into a deal with him, certainly not on the terms that he wants.”