David Ignatius: America in retreat while the Trump band plays on

As President Trump ends his Asia journey, he may sum up the 12-day journey with a revision of the comment attributed to Julius Caesar: Veni, vidi, blandivi. I got here, I noticed, I flattered.

Trump’s journey was nearer to a pilgrimage than a projection of energy. The president not often defined particulars of U.S. coverage. As an alternative, he principally requested different leaders for assist, lauded their virtues, and embraced their worldviews.

Alongside the adulation tour, Trump spoke of his “actually extraordinary” relationship with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; his “extremely heat” feeling for Chinese language President Xi Jinping, whom he referred to as “a really particular man”; his “nice relationship” with the “very profitable” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte; and his empathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose nation is “an asset to our nation, not a legal responsibility.”

And the president praised himself at almost each cease, telling reporters on the best way residence that the journey had been “tremendously profitable” with “unimaginable” achievements.


Trump’s journey might certainly show to be historic, however in all probability not in the best way he intends. It might sign a U.S. lodging to rising Chinese language energy, plus a want to fix fences with a belligerent Russia — with few evident safety positive factors for America.

Trump voiced a transparent want for lodging with an aggressive Russia, too. A lot was product of his regurgitation of Putin’s denial that he had carried out a covert motion towards America throughout final yr’s presidential marketing campaign. “President Putin actually feels — and he feels strongly — that he didn’t meddle in our election.”

However much more necessary than Trump’s credulous response to Putin was his eagerness for Moscow’s assist in bolstering America’s international place. Trump has noisily drawn a pink line on North Korea, for instance, however he evidently wants Russia’s assist, along with China’s, to ship with out going to struggle. To get Moscow’s assistance on North Korea, and Syria, too, Trump appears prepared to provide Putin a move.

Right here’s how Trump put it throughout a press convention in Hanoi, which can have been an important assertion of the journey: “Individuals don’t understand Russia has been very, very closely sanctioned,” Trump stated. “It’s now time to get again to therapeutic a world that’s shattered and damaged. … And I really feel that having Russia in a pleasant posture, versus all the time preventing with them, is an…

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