By John Krull
INDIANAPOLIS – So, it seems that negotiation and diplomacy by temper tantrum aren’t that effective.
Who could have guessed that?
In the past few days, President Donald Trump continued his practice of picking fights with America’s friends and appeasing America’s enemies. He did so in ways and for reasons that only would have made sense in “Alice in Wonderland,” where up is down and down is up.
John Krull, publisher, TheStatehouseFile.com
The president started his bewildering run of brouhahas by musing, out loud, that he might be interested in acquiring Greenland from Denmark.
Denmark President Mette Frederiksen responded to Trump’s out-loud thought bubble by saying it was “an absurd discussion” because the days are over in which people and countries are bought and sold, and Denmark doesn’t own Greenland, anyway.
Trump being Trump, responded with a snit.
He was scheduled to visit Denmark at the beginning of September. He cancelled the trip, saying Frederiksen was “nasty” for dismissing his idea in the way she did. She should have been more respectful.
Maybe it would have been easier for Frederiksen to do that if he had sounded her out in private – say, in a face-to-face meeting at the beginning of September – rather than blurting his half-thought-out notion in front of a bunch of cameras and microphones. Then she, privately, could have explained what the obstacles might be.
And no one would have been embarrassed.
But Trump didn’t do that.
Instead, he made a public statement.
That forced Frederiksen to respond in public.
Trump got his feelings hurt.
Now, we have a strain in what has been a friendly relationship – a strain that could have been avoided so easily if the president had demonstrated a bare minimum of self-discipline and emotional maturity.
Worse, there seems to be a domino effect.
Just after Trump cancelled the Denmark trip, Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, said she wouldn’t meet with Vice President Mike Pence when he visited her country. Instead, she will give a speech at a conference in Sweden.
Jakobsdottir insisted the decision not to meet with Pence wasn’t a “snub,” but Icelandic historians said it was unprecedented.
Pence’s visit to Iceland is scheduled for Sept. 4.
Trump was scheduled to be in Denmark Sept. 2 and 3.
Jakobsdottir’s speech is scheduled for Sept. 3, but she plans to linger at the conference to talk with attendees some more.
Pence’s visit would have been the first by a U.S. vice president to Iceland since 1983.
But Jakobsdottir isn’t trying to make a statement or send a signal.
Not a chance.
Then there is President Trump’s attempt to get Russia reinstated as part of the G-7, which was called the G-8 before the Russians were thrown out.
The Russians were booted because they invaded the Ukraine in 2014. They’ve since made no attempts to resolve the situation or deal with the concerns of the other nations in the G-7.
Well, all the other nations but the United States, where the president seems to be in thrall to Russian leader Vladimir Putin for some reason.
The reaction of the leaders of the other nations in the G-7 to Trump’s proposal would have to heat up considerably to be considered frigid. They have pointed out that Russia should have to do something to make amends for invading Ukraine before the idea of readmission to the G-7 even should be entertained, much less acted upon.
Trump apparently doesn’t see it that way.
Maybe a guy who muses aloud about buying and selling nations and human beings just doesn’t see invading other countries and murdering the people there as that big a deal.
But the leaders of other nations do see it as a big deal.
Most of the signs suggest that they’re getting tired of dealing with this U.S. president’s immaturity.
They want to deal with an adult.
John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.