It is easy to get lost in the forest of news, Tweets, and events that swamps our brains now on a daily basis. Last week Trump was lambasting Europe and undermining NATO, insulting the Queen, and pissing off most of the UK. This week, after annoying Scotland, he is in Finland to meet Vladimir Putin. It feels like ages ago that he was in Singapore, meeting the North Korean dictator. I don’t even have the energy to keep up with the Tweeting, raging, and daily outrages that are his new normal when he’s back at the White House.
If you had any doubt about Trump, and began to think he may actually have some hidden skills that underpin his diplomatic rants, watch Theresa May as she reveals that the ‘ brilliant advice’ Trump gave her on Brexit was to sue the EU and walk away from negotiations. Maybe this smirking admission was her subtle (British) revenge for the way he undermined her, insulted her, and manhandled her during 48 hours after which she must have had several hot showers.
Because he is now playing the part of President* and travels around in absurd convoys of black cars, big planes, and fleets of helicopters, it’s easy to forget he is the insecure, bullying narcisist who used to Tweet about his ratings when he was playing the part of a successful businessman on TV.
Remember back to those articles during his campaign, where psychologists analysed him and concluded he is mentally ill, suffering from malignant narcisism. Remember that as a mere man Trump is only interested in Trump, and is obsessed with what other people think about him. He needs to be the alpha male. He needs to be directly under the spotlight
Seen from that perspective, not from trying to analyse his actions as if he were President* what he is doing makes more sense. His meeting with Putin, as with Kim, is about him being at the centre of the global stage. What could get him more attention than meeting two of the most controversial, beligerant, and dangerous men on earth? What could make him look more alpha?
I once wrote about how Trump is jusfitied in thinking he is a genius of abnormal ability. The more the world cowtows to him the worse this delusion will become. His latest trip, where Europe, NATO, the UK, and even the Queen of England all bent to his will and met him, patiently shook his hand, gave him tea, and politely accepted his insults without answering back is precisely the sort of thing that just fuels his own self-delusion.
We are creating the monster.
Trump profoundly believes in his genius, and that he can outwit Putin like he did Kim. He believes he won with Kim, despite no evidence to that effect. He will no doubt come away from Putin thinking the same. Both Kim and Putin are smart enough to know how to play a narcisist. They will flatter him, make him feel special, give him the credit for their clever ideas, and let him walk away chest puffed out having just been robbed blind without realising.
It is a perfect game for both Kim and Putin, who need the validation at home of having met the President* of the United States. Letting Trump feel like he walked away with a prize is no loss to them.
So now, the world sits with baited breath whilst Donald Trump, leader of the free world, gifted genius, future Nobel lauriate, flies in to meet one of the most dangerous and manipulative men alive, with no agenda, no advisors, and just his evident genius abilities. This is nothing to do with politics, diplomacy, America, or the world. This is just about Donald Trump. It is about an insecure little boy wanting to prove to everyone that he matters. It is about a man-child who needs the limelight to feel loved, who wants to prove he is a real man by sizing up to the biggest alpha male on the planet.
At the end of the day, this whole charade of international diplomacy translates in Trump’s head into a drive for higher ratings. That used to be about TV, now it’s more about Social Media and his base, which is where he derives his sense of self-worth, ‘love,’ and his power.
Like all the previous narcisist authoritarian leaders in history, he may trash the world order along the way, but won’t even notice. He just wants to be admired, and feel loved. He just wants the ratings.