Malacandra.me

Pathetic Potemkin

Pathetic Potemkin

by digby


Sad! (For America)

President Donald Trump said his trade agreement with China was “one of the largest deals ever made.” He dubbed his new accord with Canada and Mexico the “most significant, modern and balanced trade agreement in history.” And he insisted that the world leaders he’s lambasted on the world stage had become great friends.

As he crisscrossed Buenos Aires, posing for photos with dignitaries and boasting about his accomplishments, Trump left behind a trail of exaggerations meant to paper over the fractious first half of his term and rebrand himself as a globe-trotting statesman.

It’s the Art of the G-20, by Donald Trump. The 45th president is writing his own rulebook on how to claim credit and respect on an international stage where many leaders have looked down on him for years. But just as his famous 1987 book counseled, Trump’s global deal-making was as much about style as substance, with grandiose talk the most important ingredient of all.

The president arrived back in Washington on Sunday feeling triumphant, believing his latest international trip to be a resounding success. During his overnight flight on Air Force One, Trump seemed vindicated after dealing with a long buildup of pressure to the summit in Argentina.

“It’s an incredible deal,” he told reporters of his agreement with China to temporarily pause new tariffs. “It goes down, certainly — if it happens, it goes down as one of the largest deals ever made.”

White House aides had reason to be happy, too. The gaffe-prone president managed to avoid a diplomatic snafu and even canceled a Saturday news conference that could have sent the entire trip off the rails. He laid off Twitter for more than 24 hours until later Sunday afternoon, when he chimed in with good wishes for Hanukkah.

But behind the veneer is a more complicated reality. His deal with President Xi Jinping of China was effectively an agreement to continue trying to agree. The president’s critics argue that the new North American trade agreement is little more than NAFTA 1.1. And behind all the smiles, many world leaders still have a strong distaste for Trump.


This isn't new, of course. This is the great "nuclear disarmament deal" with North Korea too. Big pageant, all bullshit. It's better than wars, nuclear, trade, or otherwise. But it's making everything worse.

The most we can hope for is that his phantom "victories" don't make everything so bad we can't go forward.