I try to avoid the subject of Donald Trump. However, right now I am just so disappointed that I have to vent.
In cricket, when a new batsman comes on the international scene, he is normally quite successful in his first few games, and makes big scores. After that, he either settles down to be just very good, or in rare instances, spectacularly successful throughout his career. Often he fizzles out and disappears forever.
One of the reasons for that initial success is that he is an unknown. Even though he has played very well nationally, at provincial or county level, very few international players have played against him, and most of those would be from his own country.
After a few games, the opposition “figures him out”. They study his batting from every angle. They analyse it by computer. They look at which bowlers have more success. They study his movements, his habits, even his superstitions. Eventually, they figure him out.
Some batsmen are almost flawless. Don Bradman had a career average of just a fraction shy of 100 runs per innings. The English side devised a tactic of bowling at his chest, which forced him to deflect the ball high to his left, where they stationed several fielders. Eventually, they had to change the laws of cricket to only allow two fielders there in that sort of situation. Daryl Cullinan of South Africa was a sensation, beautiful to watch, but he could only average 12 when Australia’s Shane Warne was bowling.
When a bowler figures out a batsman to that extent, he is known as the bowler’s “bunny”. “Hey, Shane, here comes your bunny!” the Aussies would cry out when Cullinan came out to bat.
Xi had Trump totally figured out from day one. He spent time with him, told him how wonderful Mar-a-Lago is, how lovely his chocolate cake is, how he would much rather spend time with Trump than do any of the fun things that had been planned for him, smiled a lot, agreed a lot, told Trump again how clever he was to have won the election, and walked away with:
1) The “One China” doctrine intact.
2) China is not a currency manipulator.
In return for:
0) China will “help” with North Korea.
Subsequently, when Trump threatened to withdraw from NAFTA, Trudeau and Nieto (separately) called Trump personally, and he agreed to rather renegotiate. Then he had to BRAG, not about his great decision, but about how nice they were to him! Clearly, they are fast learners.Now we go to meet Putin, another tinpot dictator with very dangerous toys and nasty behaviour. What do we do? We make kindergarten mistakes:
2) We don’t set an agenda for the meeting. We’ll just see where it goes.Any middle manager in any decent corporation knows better than that.
3) Discuss joint concerns over terrorism.
He also set low expectations. There will not be “enough time” to discuss Ukraine. Russia did not interfere in the election, he agrees with Trump, nothing to discuss.
After the meeting Russia quickly announces that Russia had denied meddling in the election, and that Trump accepted this denial. And…Trump (sort of) did do so, even though Tillerson tried to weasel. Although Trump raised the meddling, his answer to Putin’s denials was a weak-kneed “…we need to move forward from this intractable disagreement…”
That’s the battered wife asking her abusive husband what he wants for dinner.
Putin walks away with a strengthened hand, but more importantly: Trump is his bunny.