That’s my considered diplomatic advice. From next week’s Hill Times column:
At a press conference held to mark the end of the Parliamentary sitting, Trudeau gave the sort of verbal shrug for which his father became well-known.
“We continue to make sure that our folks are in regular contact, we continue to work on NAFTA negotiations,” Trudeau said. “I think the next time that I’ll see [Trump] will be at the NATO summit in Brussels and I look forward to continuing to have a constructive relationship with him in which I will continue to stand up for Canadian interests.”
“I believe it’s clear the way we have engaged with the president has been the right one.”
Well, actually, no. It hasn’t been, at all.
If he is anything at all, Donald Trump is a thug. Being a thug, he admires thuggery. Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: those are the men whom Trump most admires. The ones who are decent, and civil, and play by the rules – like Justin Trudeau, like Angela Merkel, like Emmanuel Macron – are door mats, on which Trump routinely wipes his feet. He holds them in contempt.
When Trump “won” the U.S. Electoral College with three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, frantic bureaucrats and diplomats around the world scrambled to type up memoranda about what lay ahead. The peered into the dark, dank recesses of the space where Trump’s brain is supposed to be, and they came up with a strategy that can be summarized in one word: flattery.
Suck up to Trump, they advised. Kiss his flabby posterior, they said. It will work.
Others, like this writer, always had a different view: strongmen admire strength. Aggressors respond to aggression. Having cut his teeth in the take-no-prisoners world of New York City real estate – having literally become a star on a TV show whose principal purpose was humiliating people in prime time – Donald Trump was never going to abruptly change course, and adopt the Marquess of Queensberry rules.
Having achieved the presidency by being an angry, racist, pussy-grabbing creep, Donald Trump was never going to stop being angry, racist, pussy-grabbing creep.