In a Wall Street Journal interview, President Trump said he was starting to realize foreign policy wasn’t easy after a brief conversation with China’s President Xi Jinping.
“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Trump told the Journal. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over] North Korea. … But it’s not what you would think.”
Reuters reports that around the same time the Journal piece was published, North Korea notified the press to expect something ‘big’, which many speculate will be the country’s sixth nuclear test.
Vox listed some of the more troubling implications of Trump’s sudden insight that foreign policy is a tough job which included, but wasn’t limited to, the fact that it took the President of China ten minutes to explain issues so basic to the understanding of politically dealing with North Korea that its complexity can be displayed with a google search.
Then again, as recently as Tuesday, the President was still willing to go it alone on North Korea, according to his Twitter.
North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2017
Also of concern to Vox was that Trump is getting his information from America’s longtime rival in the region about how best to confront regional threats, a rival that he had advocated being tougher on in the past.
Anderson Cooper was similarly alarmed, saying that it signals that President Trump’s policies are so undeveloped that they can be formed or reformed by ten-minute conversation.
“Do you worry that he has no real positions?” Cooper asked his panel on Anderson Cooper 360. “That basically he bends one way or another depending on who the last person to give him a ten-minute lecture on some country is?”
This comes amid a large number of other prominent policy shifts from the White House.
In some ways, this seeming lack of understanding of foriegn policy might actually be him coming through on a campaign promise.
“We must as a nation be more unpredictable,” Trump said during the campaign.
Allies, however, see the policy stance as less unpredictable and more incoherent, according to the Washington Post.