It was the sort of party you would be reluctant to turn up to, and its cancellation would have caused a sigh of relief. But when the US president replicates the feigned hurt of a host who has been impugned, the puzzlement deepens. Cantankerous and cranky, Trump’s letter announcing the cancellation of the Singapore meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un was another etching on what is becoming an increasingly scrawled tablet of unpredictable manoeuvres.
“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”
The letter shows traditional Trumpist dysfunction. The issue is not his doing, but that of his counterpart. He wants to be ascendant, and to that end, demands a degree of self-accepted inferiority on the part of his opponent.
Trump is incapable of misbehaving, and must duly exercise his transactional acumen in this to abandon an approach he deems unfitting. His opponent, however, might at any time change his mind. “If you change your mind having to do this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.”