President Trump, fists cocked, landed Tuesday at the NATO summit in Brussels with an America-First determination the likes of which allies from German’s Angela Merkel to Britain’s Theresa May and U.S. foes such as China’s Xi Jinping have never experienced — or expected — from a U.S. leader.
Mr. Trump reiterated his demand that our allies live up financially to their mutual defense commitments because the U.S. will longer play Uncle Sap to their redistributionist economies.
The president simultaneously landed another punch on Mr. Xi, clobbering the arrogantl protectionist with yet another $200 billion in tariffs on top of the $34 billion already levied in Mr. Trump’s now clearly relentless drive to level the highly unlevel field on which we trade with friend and foe alike.
The added tariffs against China were the perfect exclamation point to the subtle warning Mr. Trump delivered to Mr. Xi in a tweet ostensibly responding to an insult North Korea’s Kim Jong-un had hurled at Mr. Trump. That came on Saturday when Mr. Kim had his foreign ministry insultingly rejected as “gangster-like” Mr. Trump’s denuclearization conditions. These called for “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew 7,000 miles to present them in Pyeongyang on Saturday.
Mr. Trump, displaying a temperance he reserves for foes he’s out to co-opt, tweeted this namby-pamby sounding response: “I have confidence that Kim Jong-un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea.”
The president smartly chose to blame Mr. Xi, the one foreign leader with real power over Mr. Kim.
Obliquely referring to Mr. Xi, whom our president has been handling with the same kid-gloves approach that he’s applied lately to Mr. Kim, Mr. Trump topped off his tweet by saying, “China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese trade,” then added this final, two-word veiled warning: “Hope Not!”
This after a 1,216-word statement in which Mr. Kim’s foreign ministry asserted that “the U.S. side came up only with its unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization [that runs] counter to the spirit of the Singapore summit meeting and talks. We thought that the U.S. side would come with a constructive proposal which accords with the spirit of the [Kim-Trump] summit meeting and talks. But expectation and hope of ours were so naive as to be foolish.”
The low-decibel Trump response that pointed a finger at China was perfect....While avoiding a devastating war on the Korean Peninsula and still keeping alive the ever-more-remote possibility of successful denuclearization, Mr. Trump hinted he has something up his custom-made sleeve. That something will make Mr. Xi regret having squeezed Mr. Kim into crossing the U.S.The reality is that China is the only country on the planet willing to breathe oxygen into Mr. Kim’s self-asphyxiating economy. If Mr. Xi says “denuclearize,” it’s a good