Upon the announcement of a deal with China to offset what at first seemed like an inevitable trade war, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to brag.
The meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping resulted in a 90-day trade truce and stalled an impending increase of tariffs against China from 10% to 25%.
My meeting in Argentina with President Xi of China was an extraordinary one. Relations with China have taken a BIG… https://t.co/0JYAHXe2HJ— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1543841670.0
But while Trump was celebrating, American diplomat and president of the Council of Foreign Relations Richard Haass pointed out a pattern in Trump's foreign policy. Haass indicated that Trump tends to sow mistrust and instigate aggression with foreign allies and enemies alike, before then making a deal that lessens the hostility Trump himself created. Trump then presents the deal as having exceeded expectations.
There is a pattern to the foreign policy of @realDonaldTrump. We have seen it w N Korea, NAFTA, and now China. He c… https://t.co/4jJcLgB3Ri— Richard N. Haass (@Richard N. Haass)1543845129.0
In the case of North Korea, Trump went from referring to the country's dictator Kim Jong Un as "Little Rocket Man" to announcing a meeting with him that claimed to result in a plan to denuclearize. However, in the weeks following the meeting, it appears that North Korea isn't abiding by its commitment.
With the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Trump threatened to isolate our Canadian allies, resulting in increased hostility between the two nations. Though a new NAFTA deal — now referred to as the USMCA — was signed by Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña at the G20 Summit, it still awaits ratification from each country's government.
Americans all over agreed with Haass's assessment.
@RichardHaass @godofgrammar @realDonaldTrump “Look, I did a great job fixing the window that I broke on purpose.”— C.Gifford (@C.Gifford)1543846700.0
@RichardHaass @JohnJHarwood @realDonaldTrump The both-arsonist-and-fireman approach, yes— A.J. Delgado (@A.J. Delgado)1543845290.0
@RichardHaass @jimsciutto @realDonaldTrump If you ran a business this way you’d be bankrupt every 7 years... oh wait— JayZ (@JayZ)1543847819.0
@RichardHaass @realDonaldTrump Basically, he sets fires and wants to be praised when he extinguishes part of the fi… https://t.co/cK8WLRuhhT— Greg Johnson (@Greg Johnson)1543850784.0
Some thought the approach extended beyond foreign policy and further into Trump's very nature.
@RichardHaass @realDonaldTrump It's the central theme of Art of The Deal - offer something ridiculously low and exp… https://t.co/MwdYZO3470— Doubting Thomas (@Doubting Thomas)1543846939.0
@RichardHaass @GlennThrush @realDonaldTrump This has been the meta-pattern for Trump since he was bankrupting casin… https://t.co/VlHVfvewuR— now 🗽 (@now 🗽)1543848818.0
@RichardHaass @maggieNYT @realDonaldTrump I think that’s just how Trump really operates even even before he became president.— Brendan Rogelio (@Brendan Rogelio)1543848277.0
Haass was far from the only American with criticisms about the deal.
Americans thought the temporary hold on tariff increases wasn't enough and that Trump's entire performance at the G20 Summit was lackluster.
@realDonaldTrump We’re dealing from such strength that you did not receive a SINGLE concession from China on trade.… https://t.co/E0DrbO3Azm— Snake Oil Demagogue 🐍 (@Snake Oil Demagogue 🐍)1543844488.0
@realDonaldTrump I'd be careful about using the term "BIG leap forward" when talking about U.S. policy with China.… https://t.co/p8r3bRN0tB— Russell Drew (@Russell Drew)1543845464.0
@realDonaldTrump He thinks you’re an incompetent dolt. And demented. Resign. #ImpeachTrump— Lesley Abravanel🆘 (@Lesley Abravanel🆘)1543843052.0
@realDonaldTrump We will believe it when we see it. Your word is worth zip. Sad.— Araignee (@Araignee)1543843092.0
Trump's original increase of tariffs against China by 10% resulted in job losses, increased prices for consumers, factory closures, and general economic hardship for those on the receiving end.
Trump may claim his deals are above reproach, but as Haass points out, creating a problem, then haphazardly fixing it before gloating is not effective foreign policy.