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 leap forward! Very good things will happen. We are dealing from great strength, but China likewise has much to gain if and when a deal is completed. Level the field!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2018
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 creates a sense of crisis, compromises, and both claims he accomplished more than he did and deserves credit for having defused the crisis that he largely created.
— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) December 3, 2018
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.
“Look, I did a great job fixing the window that I broke on purpose.”
— C.Gifford (@chgifford) December 3, 2018
The both-arsonist-and-fireman approach, yes
— A.J. Delgado (@AJDelgado13) December 3, 2018
If you ran a business this way you’d be bankrupt every 7 years… oh wait
— JayZ (@JayZammie) December 3, 2018
Basically, he sets fires and wants to be praised when he extinguishes part of the fire that he himself lit.
And we all are left dealing with the part still burning.
— Greg Johnson (@GregoryNylund) December 3, 2018
Some thought the approach extended beyond foreign policy and further into Trump’s very nature.
It's the central theme of Art of The Deal – offer something ridiculously low and expect that offer to scare the opponent into countering with an irresponsibly low offer. It's a strategy that is so infantile that the idea of it being in a book is silly.
— Doubting Thomas (@mikethomaswire1) December 3, 2018
This has been the meta-pattern for Trump since he was bankrupting casinos.
1. Loud crash as Trump bursts onto scene.
2. Secret (often illegal) stuff.
3. Loud proclamation of success.
— Protect Mueller (@onehourfromnow) December 3, 2018
I think that’s just how Trump really operates even even before he became president.
— Brendan Rogelio (@brendanrogers79) December 3, 2018
Haass was far from the only American with criticisms about the deal.