I read a little post at the anti-Trump news site Newsblender, regarding Russia’s recent hardline position with Japan over some disputed islands, and Putin’s implied warning to Japan to sever its strategic alliance with the U.S. One reader’s comment on that post observed, “Russia sees a weak American leader. They will take each and every opportunity to flex their muscles.”
You could literally change the grammatical subject of that assessment to anyone, and the statement would represent an accurate representation of current events.
North Korea sees a weak American leader who can be manipulated into granting legitimacy and prestige to the Kim dynasty like no previous president.
South Korea sees a weak American leader who can be flattered and praised into facilitating the Moon government’s subversive, peace-at-all-costs aims for radically transforming Korea’s dynamic economy into a socialist people’s republic.
China sees a weak American leader who thinks so short-term that he can be led down any garden path China pleases, as long as you let him think he is “winning” today. (The Chinese Communist Party, by contrast, being the most patient long-term thinkers in the geopolitical universe.)
The Democratic Party establishment sees a weak American leader who, given enough time, will negotiate himself right out of everything he claims to want. In other words, you can play chicken with him forever — he will always be the chicken in the end.
The GOP establishment sees a weak American leader who can be twisted and prodded into serving the establishment’s duplicitous aims, which is why they explicitly chose, and aggressively defended, Trump during the 2016 primaries.
The amnesty advocates see a weak American leader with a fake wall (with its “big, beautiful door,” as he promised), who, in the end will probably give them more amnesty than they could ever get from a Democratic president working in the context of the “two-party system” TV optics.
The radical leftists see a weak American leader who does not understand the first thing about what the Marxists are trying to destroy, and who will therefore help them to make significant practical gains — gun control, diminishing private property rights, establishing broad precedents for the assertion of “emergency powers” — while at the same time making a great recruiting poster in their fight against “capitalist greed.”
Turkey’s Islamist regime sees a weak American leader, and has repeatedly used Trump’s weakness for admiring thugs to legitimize their takeover of Turkey and to further their own regional aims.
America’s traditional allies and trading partners see a weak American leader, and realize they are suddenly on their own in a way they never thought would last beyond the Obama era, let alone be exacerbated. Trump’s unpredictability, lack of principle, and love for strongman regimes leaves them uncertain where they stand with America in every context.
One exception: The Trump cultists, with visions of impenetrable walls dancing in their heads — do not see a weak American leader. They see the illusion manufactured at the rallies, an alpha male who will protect all of them forever as a big, strong “Daddy.”