The Magic American

I don’t know what the point of this Washington Post editorial is other than to exemplify how Trump is inferior to Obama in all respects:

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S belligerent nationalism and his use of trade as a political weapon are being emulated by key American allies, compounding the damage to U.S. strategic interests. One particularly acute case in point is that of Japan and South Korea, which have become caught up in an escalating feud about 20th-century grievances that animate nationalists in both countries. The result: Japan has restricted key exports to South Korea, and Seoul has announced it will end an intelligence-sharing agreement with Tokyo, even as both countries face a growing threat from North Korea.


All this came as a blow to U.S. diplomats who had worked painstakingly to broker the intelligence deal and to encourage the settlement on comfort women. Yet, other than issuing a statement criticizing the South Korean move on intelligence sharing, the Trump administration has made little effort to repair the rift. This, even though North Korea’s recent testing of several new short-range missiles capable of striking both South Korea and Japan has made cooperation between them more urgent than ever.

President Barack Obama made it a priority to ease tensions between these vital U.S. allies, even convening a trilateral meeting with Ms. Park and Mr. Abe to break the ice between them. Mr. Trump, in contrast, has publicly complained about the expectation that he should do something. “How many things do I have to get involved in?” he whined after getting a mediation request from Mr. Moon in July. Thanks to such thinking, the U.S. strategic position in East Asia is steadily deteriorating, to the advantage of North Korea and China.

Is it that the Japanese and South Koreans are children, unable to resolve their differences absent U. S. guidance? Is it that President Obama’s personal intervention provided a magical salve to smooth over millennium-old differences between the two countries?

Is it not possible that sticking our noses into every possible international situation actually provides the illusion of the necessity or even utility of U. S. participation when they are resolved amicably by the parties themselves? Wouldn’t it actually be better if we dispelled that illusion?

So, WaPo editors, how do you see the role of the U. S. in the world and why do the Japanese and Koreans need our help?

10 comments… add one
  • Roy Lofquist Link

    The strawberries. What about the damned strawberries!?

  • I’m not sure whether you’re referring to me or the editors. I think my questions are pretty darned reasonable and their position is a) interventionist and b) absurd.

  • walt moffett Link

    Do they ever wonder if our intervention here and there might be a bit patronizing if not racist in the assumption nations can’t work things out on their own.

  • Precisely one of my points.

  • steve Link

    We should support our own interests. Having two of our allies work together rather than against each other could certainly be seen as supporting our interests. It wouldn’t cost us any lives or any money. Seems like the kind of thing a Sec of State is supposed to do.


  • Of course we should support our own interests. I think it’s in our interest for two of our allies to be able to resolve their differences without our putting ourselves in the middle of the negotiations. Apparently you don’t.

  • Roy Lofquist Link


    Certainly not referring to you. The criticisms of Trump have become so picayune as to drown out any serious discussions of his mistakes. Of course he’s made mistakes. The last guy who never made a mistake didn’t last very long.

  • steve Link

    ” I think it’s in our interest for two of our allies to be able to resolve their differences without our putting ourselves in the middle of the negotiations.”

    I think our primary interest is in their resolving differences, not how that is achieved. A couple of trips by a Sec of State seems like it might have a decent ROI, though working with both sides behind the scenes is probably better.


  • Process is important.

    Something I don’t think you recognize is that even our allies don’t trust us. Should they?

    Something that was said of the composer George Gershwin is that every evening with Gershwin was a Gershwin evening. That’s the way it is when the U. S. takes part in negotiations.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    When Uncle Sam takes part in negotiations between other parties in the world I think it’s generally understood that He’s there to grease the wheels. Wasn’t that the magic of Obama’s negotiating skill with the Iran treaty?

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