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Tokyo needs distance from Trump train wreck

13 3 0
22.08.2017

Donald Trump’s presidency is effectively over. Even if he can stay in the White House for 178 more weeks — a huge “if” that grows by the day — his agenda is dead. Caged and paranoid, he’s already descended into flamethrower mode, firing incendiary barbs at every ally in Congress, business, media and abroad he’ll need to achieve anything big.

It’s time for those in Trump’s orbit to assess how much they’ll be diminished by association and do some crisis management. Yes, I’m talking to you, Shinzo Abe.

No world leader embraced Trump faster and with greater enthusiasm than Japan’s. Back in November, Abe’s sprint to Trump Tower was thought to be a geopolitical masterstroke. By flattering and normalizing Trump 10 days after his shock election (“I am convinced Mr. Trump is a leader in whom I can have great confidence,” Abe said Nov. 17), Abe amassed huge political capital. The gesture, Abe hoped, would ensure the Trump White House had Tokyo’s back on security and economic matters and against archrival China.

That capital is plunging in value faster than Trump’s domestic approval ratings. His pathetic handling, and tacit support of, white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, was just as unhinged as his threats against North Korea. That........

© The Japan Times