President-elect Donald Trump is sharpening his foreign relations skills in the most Trumpian way. He started the day off with a good message that unfortunately contained a spelling mistake. Then, he got it right, calling China out for stealing the naval drone from international waters. So far, so good, other than the spelling gaffe.
Eleven hours later, after China had agreed to give back the drone, Trump decided that we don’t want our drone back after all.
I wasn’t the only person to had to double check to make sure it wasn’t a parody account.
Let’s put aside, for a moment, the fact that he really shouldn’t be using Twitter for foreign policy random thoughts. Just today I admitted that I liked the idea of a POTUS giving real-time updates through the platform, but once again I have to put my foot back in my mouth.
The real issue here is that one of two things just happened: Either he was being sarcastic or he’s serious. If he’s being sarcastic, one does not have to be a seasoned diplomat or master negotiator to know that sarcasm doesn’t play well in foreign affairs. It’s sort of a given. As much as I’d like to assume Trump knows this, he’s shocked me too many times in the past to take that for granted.
If we’re going with option two that he’s being serious, then I’ll hold myself back from using the appropriate curse-laden exclamations of bewilderment. Is he taking his upcoming role of Commander-in-Chief seriously? Does he realize that we’re not in hypothetical mode anymore because he’s the actual President-elect now?
I won’t say it’s the most irresponsible thing he’s Tweeted since winning the election (there have been so many) but it may be the most troubling. If this would be his actual policy if he were President today, my worst nightmares about his presidency pale in comparison. This was supposed to be one of the areas where he had strength. Does he not realize that the childish retort akin to “I didn’t want it anyway” is a crystal clear display of military weakness?
The humor in all of this is that Trump aides have spent the day claiming it was Trump who got China to get the drone returned in the first place.
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) December 17, 2016
At some point in the next month, Donald Trump needs to start taking this seriously. He holds the fate of the nation in his hands. Irresponsible, immature Twitter comments are not going to make American great again. It’s time for him to start that mythical epic journey towards acting presidential.
Here’s that Tweet, in case it wasn’t deleted:
We should tell China that we don't want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2016