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Trump’s disquieting disdain for Japan

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CANBERRA - In his forays abroad, U.S. President Donald Trump resembles a bull carrying his own china shop on his back, to be set down for wrecking at diplomatic confabs. On Iran, as noted by former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, soon Trump will come to a fork in the road to Tehran where he must choose between a diplomatic climbdown on his impossible demands or war, with regional and long-term consequences worse than the damage wrought by the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Coming in to land for his state visit to the United Kingdom on June 3, Trump fired off offensive tweets about London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who on June 1 had likened him to 20th-century fascists and labeled him “one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat.” Trump called him “very dumb and incompetent” and saying he had “been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting” president of the U.K.’s “most important ally.” Khan’s office responded that “childish insults … should be beneath the president.”

Little wonder that in a leaked confidential memo, British Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch — who has now resigned — described the Trump administration as “dysfunctional,” “unpredictable” and “diplomatically clumsy and inept.”

Trump had given forewarning during the 2016 presidential election of being strategically challenged. Candidate Trump thrice asked a foreign policy adviser: If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them? In a New York Times interview in 2017, Trump suggested that with a weakening U.S. deterrent, Japan and South Korea could get their own nuclear arsenal to protect themselves from North Korea and China because America “cannot be the policeman of the world.”

Shortly before heading to Osaka for the Group of........

© The Japan Times