Country Club Diplomacy

Ideas and Issues
Nuclear crisis at the country club. photo from Facebook

New Orleans   Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist and op-ed writer for the New York Times, ended a column on the Trump presidency the other day saying, “be afraid.” That’s good advice.

At the same time be prepared to occasionally succumb to the hysterical hilarity of its very ridiculousness. Take for example the weekend display of country club diplomacy at its worst. Please! And, to paraphrase Republican Senator and former Presidential candidate, John McCain, “what will happen next?”

There’s the just plain tackiness and self-dealing of taking Prime Minister Abe from Japan and his wife down for a golfing weekend at your own Mar-a-Lago resort and country club in Florida, still owned and everlastingly promoted by the President, where Abe’s big treat was getting to golf at not one, but two, Trump owned golf courses. Wow!

Then there’s dinner. No special room though, oh, no, right in the middle of the main dining room with the rest of the swells. Living in New Orleans where fancy, big-name restaurants have dozens of separate and high profile rooms for private parties, someone like me would have figured that Trump and his party would have cordoned themselves off to put on the dog, but what do I know about country club diplomacy.

After all, if you jumped the membership price from a hundred grand to two hundred grand, you pretty much are required to put your face in the place, and you can’t do that from a private room, you need to peacock out there with the half-of-one-percenter folks you want to impress. That’s probably covered in the marketing manuals.

Oh, and if all hell breaks loose, you can put on a show. Take for example North Korea, knowing you are sporting the Japanese PM around, decides to do a ballistic missile test, and you have to make one of these big, headline type of presidential decisions about which we should all “be afraid.” You don’t want to go to a secure zone, common to all those other lame presidents from Bush to Obama and whomever, where there’s no danger of eavesdropping by, you know, foreign unfriendlies, but instead, hey, do your secret business right there in the middle of the dining room so everyone can see it. Have your main security advisor use the insecure cellphone he’s not supposed to have and go to the flashlight app so you can see the satellite intel better. Let the waiters deliver the entrées for everyone as they shuffle the papers out of the way. What the heck, let the wives watch the boys do their, oh, so secret and important, jobs, while they are drinking wine at the table.

Oh, and for the rest of the diners, they can not only see the whole deal in real time, but get out their cellphones and take pictures for their Facebook accounts, so that rich people can pretend to be just like teenagers. Or, hey, get selfies with the soldier carrying the nuclear codes – what a great idea.

Unbelievable! You can’t make this stuff up.

Be afraid, doesn’t seem to cover this well enough.