Just hours after China seized an unclassified oceanographic survey drone that our Navy was recovering in the South China Sea, Trump crammed his foot in his mouth with a massive Freudian slip during a predictable power-grab on Twitter. Then a few hours after China had already agreed to return the drone, Trump tweeted out that they should keep it. That part everyone knows. But what you might have missed is that Trump tried to take credit for getting the drone back. China didn’t.
Did you know that Trump’s tweet made China give the drone back?
Around noon on Dec 16, the news broke that the Chinese navy had seized the Navy drone.
BREAKING: China's navy has seized an unmanned, underwater U.S. Navy vehicle in international waters of South China Sea.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) December 16, 2016
Early the next morning, when Trump does his most asinine Twitter tantruming, he attempted to throw his considerable weight into an already tense diplomatic situation (that he helped start by talking to Taiwan’s President) by tweeting:
Frankly, we wish he’d make himself unpresidented. But that’s another show.
A few hours later, the Pentagon’s press secretary Peter Cook announced that “Through direct engagement with Chinese authorities, we have secured an understanding that the Chinese will return the UUV to the United States.” And then, as if trolling for attention because he was feeling ignored, Trump tried to be inflammatory a number of hours later:
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
What many missed was that a half hour after the Pentagon’s briefing, Trump’s Communications Director Jason Miller gave credit to diplomatic solution to Donald Trump, citing an article that in no way corroborates this claim.
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) December 17, 2016
Let’s just pause here for a minute to consider the gobsmacking audacity and idiocy of this claim. It’s right out of an episode of The Twilight Zone. You know the one, where the country elects a philandering, lying, sanctimonious, narcissistic, petulant billionaire with zero experience with the law, foreign policy, diplomacy, the military, or national intelligence as President? Can’t wait for Trump to take credit for inventing the internet.
One thing is certain. Trump has no capital to mobilize the world.
While Trump was blustering about letting the Chinese keep the drone, the Chinese state media’s Global Times issued a stinging editorial giving him almost as good of a spanking as after he spoke to Taiwan’s President. Quite often, these go unnoticed by Western media, but Bloomberg was good enough to pick it up.
“One thing is certain,” they start. “Trump has no capital to mobilize the world.” Ouch.
“Trump’s demeanor in this matter is not that of a President-Elect or a U.S. spokesperson,” they continue. The tweets “he send make people unable to see a leader of a great nation with any proper sense of responsibility.” Instead, he “still seems to be immersed in the past, when he was the host of an entertainment show.” In short, the Chinese see a President who is “so unprofessional,” that he “should directly adopt the mood and style of a presidential position.”
It isn’t often that we agree with the Chinese state media, but they hit the nail right on the head.
China also issued a clear warning.
They also included a stern warning that Trump would be wise to heed. “China has so far practiced restraint at Trump’s provocations as he’s yet to enter the White House, but this attitude won’t last too long after he officially becomes the U.S. president, were he still to treat China in the manner he tweeted today.” Frankly, those words probably ring hollow in Trump’s ears, not because he’s a foreign policy genius, but because he’s a slobberingly-ignorant neophyte.
If you’re a business magnate, and your business deal falls apart, your employees don’t get a bonus. Oops. If you go under, it’s a small blip on the economy, because people get other jobs. If your building doesn’t get built, people find other houses. If your investment fund loses big, you remind your clients that they took on risk when they gave you their money.
Governing isn’t like that. Entire economies can crash from risky mistakes. An economic or environmental disaster can cost billions and affect millions of us for decades. Wars start. There are real body counts. Trump has zero experience with this. And the Chinese know it.
Featured image from NAVAL OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE