Does Donald Trump understand diplomacy? | The Tylt

Does Donald Trump understand diplomacy?

President Donald Trump's grasp of international diplomacy has been called into question more than once, but his latest snub of Denmark, a United States ally, has many wondering whether he understands the concept whatsoever. In August, Trump proposed purchasing Greenland, a self-ruling territory of Denmark. When the idea was rejected by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Trump retaliated by canceling his planned visit to Denmark. Instances like this one lead many to believe Trump's diplomatic strategy is based off pure whim, while others say there is value is his disruptive strategy. What do you think?

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump expressed interest in "purchasing" Greenland multiple times with "varying degrees of seriousness." 

In meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they discuss its abundant resources and geopolitical importance....

Greenland is a semi-autonomous territory of Denmark. According to the Wall Street Journal, the world's largest island is home to a population of 56,000. No matter the impetus for Trump's sudden interest, the idea demonstrates an absurdist understanding of international relations. Plus, as the Wall Street Journal points out: 

It is also unclear how the U.S. would go about acquiring Greenland even if the effort were serious.

The time of purchasing territories and states is centuries behind us, and as the Washington Post reports, "acquiring" Greenland is practically impossible.

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But the team at the Wall Street Journal also concedes that some of Trump's advisors say the move for Greenland would be a "good economic play." Additionally, Greenland plays a key role in U.S. security:

U.S. officials view Greenland as important to American national-security interests. A decades-old defense treaty between Denmark and the U.S. gives the U.S. military virtually unlimited rights in Greenland at America’s northernmost base, Thule Air Base. Located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, it includes a radar station that is part of a U.S. ballistic missile early-warning system. 

Some say acquiring Greenland could cement Trump's legacy:

People outside the White House have described purchasing Greenland as an Alaska-type acquisition for Mr. Trump’s legacy, advisers said.
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Unsurprisingly, Denmark did not give Trump's idea a second though. In response to Denmark's rejection of a Greenland deal, Trump tweeted

Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time....
....The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!

Although Trump's tweet implies the purpose of his visit was to discuss a potential Greenland deal, this is not the case. Per the New York Times, Denmark's head of state Queen Margrethe II invited the president and the first lady for an official state visit. The Times' Annie Karni expands: 

The president was expected to participate in a series of bilateral meetings and meet with business leaders, and Ms. Frederiksen had underscored the importance of the session, calling the United States “Denmark’s most important and strongest ally in NATO.”

Canceling a state visit based off a seemingly random whim is deeply disrespectful and demonstrates a lack of understanding when it comes to handling international relations. 

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Some feel that Trump's "bulldozer mentality" could be a good thing. His unconventional approach has resulted in a number of difficult diplomatic conversations that might not have otherwise happened. Politico's Nahal Toosi explains where some see strategy in Trump's approach:

Some of these critics grudgingly concede that Trump’s bulldozer mentality has pushed leaders of all political stripes into difficult conversations they’d long avoided, on everything from the downsides of free trade to whether the international institutions of the post-World War II liberal order need recasting. After all, on these and other fronts that have long troubled U.S. leaders — America’s ongoing presence in Afghanistan, potential long-term involvement in Syria, NATO defense spending and more — there was little or no movement until Trump took office.

As Toosi writes, disruption does come at a cost, but there could still be hope for Trump's diplomatic strategy at large.

FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Does Donald Trump understand diplomacy?
A festive crown for the winner
#TrumpGetsIt
#TrumpDoesntGetIt