Amidst seemingly unprecedented global crises, President Donald Trump is having his legendary deal-making ability put to the test. Perhaps his most difficult balancing act will come with South Korea, as Trump must work in tandem to quell the possibility of North Korean aggression while simultaneously being on the opposing end of negotiations pertaining to trade.
A common Trump talking point has been that America is getting a raw deal when it comes to global trade. While Trump has softened his rhetoric since the fire-breathing days of campaign season last year, correcting the U.S. trade imbalance has remained a priority for the young president. News leaked last week that Trump–against the advice of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, according to a Washington Post report–plans to remove the U.S. from its trade deal with South Korea.
According to The Independent, Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are on the same page when it comes to handling North Korea amidst the trade turmoil. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has made his rhetoric more belligerent while increasing his weapons tests in recent months, putting the entire world on its edge. In retaliation, Trump and Jae-in have agreed to “maximize pressure” on the Communist autocracy and have pledged to “use all means at their disposal” to achieve success.
Although many observers have criticized Trump’s frenetic and heavy-handed approach to diplomatic measures, he shows no signs of backing down. He tweeted yesterday, “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.” Critics are laughing his threats off as arrogant bluster, but with Trump, you can never be so sure.
Are Trump’s latest maneuvers the latest audacious gambit that he is cooking up, or is he really in over his head? Nobody can say for sure, but we will see at some point throughout his presidency exactly how far “The Art of the Deal” can take Trump. His philosophy took him to the pinnacle of Wall Street, but the political sphere is a completely different beast. Trump is being put to the test, and only time will tell if he can meet the challenge.