Much to the surprise of the self-appointed smart set on both the Left and the Right, it turns out that the guy who succeeded at the highest levels of real estate, luxury resorts, beauty pageants, television, and politics might know a thing or two about negotiating a good deal. On Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker joined President Trump in the Rose Garden to announce each would hold off on further tariffs as they approach an agreement acceptable to both the United States and Europe — trade war averted, prosperity preserved.
“This will open markets for farmers and workers, increase investment, and lead to greater prosperity in both the United States and the European Union,” explained President Trump, who had recently slapped tariffs on all American imports of steel and aluminum. The Rose Garden announcement signaled the end of tariffs on all non-auto industrial goods as the EU agreed to boost purchases of U.S. soybeans and liquefied natural gas. At the same time, President Trump has also managed to pry more defense spending out of our allies in the Old World. Jen Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, boasted that “in 2014 it was three allies” who paid their fair share to the military alliance, but “now this year I expect eight allies to meet that pledge.”
Meanwhile, across the Pacific, satellite images show North Korea dismantling key aspects of its nuclear program just one month after Kim promised denuclearization at his summit with President Trump. Intelligence analysts confirm that bomb factories, launch vehicle production plants, and a rocket engine test stand have been torn down. Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., an expert on North Korean weapons programs, concluded in a report that the nuclear dictatorship had taken “an important first step toward fulfilling a commitment made by Kim Jong-un.”
For two years, pundit class “experts” on the Left and the Right have bewailed President Trump’s negotiating tactics. They’ve questioned his intelligence, his knowledge, and his sanity. Only a madman would slap tariffs on the EU! Only a madman would criticize our allies! Only a madman would meet with Kim Jong-un! Well, President Trump’s madman strategy seems to be working quite well, though the president’s detractors remain baffled by the author of The Art of the Deal. Such persistently wrong political prognosticators might take a cue from another political operator, who wrote half a millennium ago: “At times it is a very wise thing to simulate madness.”