Foreign Leaders Discover Being Nice to Trump Gets Them Nothing Good in Return

In recent days, Donald Trump has expressed some displeasure with Chinese Communist Party Chair Xi Jinping. Despite having shared with Trump the “world’s best” chocolate cake, Xi has failed to give Trump everything he asked for. Trade talks with China have slid into a stalemate. Despite Trump promising that China was going to buy American agricultural products at such a pace that American farmers would have a hard time keeping up, China has ultimately agreed to purchase—nothing at all. And that’s after Donald Trump publicly gave Xi what he wanted, by allowing Chinese telecom company ZTE to escape punishment for repeated violations of sanctions against selling American technology to Iran and North Korea. Total issues on which the US and China have achieved resolution: Zero.


But if Trump is disappointed in Xi, every US ally seems to feel the same way about Trump. Because no matter what they’ve done to snuggle up to, applaud or at least tolerate Trump’s stumbles across the world stage, the results have netted nothing from Trump—and nothing but trouble back home.

Politico reports that leaders like Shinzo Abe, Emmanuel Macron, and Justin Trudeau are feeling “exasperated” with Trump. Despite complimenting his golf course, sharing uncomfortable hugs, providing peachy-keen military parades, and tolerating wince-inducing remarks about dandruff, all any of these leaders have to show from being nice to Trump is a lot of criticism from politicians and citizens in their own country.

Trump has gone ahead with pulling the US out of the Paris agreement. He broke the Iran nuclear treaty. He’s continued to make remarks that weaken the NATO alliance. And he instituted a set of tariffs that’s touched off a global trade war … all of it despite efforts of foreign leaders to follow Trump’s golden rule: He’s only nice to people who are nice to him. 

But if allowing Trump to pluck imaginary specks from a shoulder and not commenting over his ketchup-laden steaks hasn’t generated results, at least these leaders can be comforted that neither has anything else.

Indeed, many have entered the Trump administration with ideas of swaying the president with reason and facts and data, only to see their efforts brushed aside in favor of campaign promises. Senior Trump officials such as Gary Cohn, Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster all learned the hard way that Trump is not easily moved.

Of course, there is a way to influence Trump … just one way. If they could get on Fox, there is nothing Trump would not believe. Those companies and countries that paid Michael Cohen might want to consider another investment. If they can just get Sean Hannity to whisper in Trump’s ear ...

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