Few would argue that Donald Trump is anything but a neophyte when it comes to international relations. Time after time in his interactions with foreign leaders, Trump has displayed a remarkable degree of arrogance, naiveté, and ignorance. See, for example, his insulting behavior toward Angela Merkel, his blundering approach to North Korea, and his hostile first interactions with Australia, a key ally of the United States (the list goes on).
Earlier this week, the transcripts of Trump’s discussions with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto were leaked to the public. The transcripts were astonishing for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that Trump all but admitted that he does not expect Mexico to pay for “The Wall”, Trump’s signature campaign promise.
More importantly perhaps, they revealed just how amateurish he is compared to international norms. Indeed, he is increasingly viewed as a joke in the international community. As reported by McClatchy: “Seven months into the Trump administration, the world’s diplomatic community has gone from throwing its hands in the air to now leaning back in their chairs and laughing, albeit morosely, at Trump’s cringe-worthy display of diplomacy during the infancy of his presidency.”
Said one U.S. diplomat, “He’s the opposite of Teddy Roosevelt. He speaks loudly and carries a small stick.”
Hopefully, Trump will soon recognize that he is utterly out of his depth, and will appoint serious professionals to manage America’s diplomatic relations in his stead. While it some may be taking pleasure in his embarrassing missteps, ultimately it weakens America’s standing in the world.