While I don’t think Il Trumpe’s narcissism accounts for everything–or many things–that is wrong with this administration, every so often it does rear its head in really ugly ways. For instance, our recent North Korean debacle:
Moon likely exaggerated this to tie Trump to a diplomatic track to prevent him from backsliding into last year’s war-threats which scared the daylights out of South Koreans. If Trump were less vain and had allowed his national security staff to vet the NK [North Korean] offer, he might have learned this. But instead, he accepted the NK summit offer 45 minutes after he was told of it, without even telling the White House staff, and then drank his own kool-aid watching Fox telling him for weeks that he deserved a Nobel. Now comes the hang-over.
Flattering Trump into diplomacy is likely also why Moon’s government credited Trump with driving NK to negotiation through maximum pressure and suggested that Trump receive a Nobel peace prize. It is an open secret in Korea that this was just flattering Trump to prevent him from starting a war. No one actually believes it. My students and colleagues laugh at the suggestion. No one thought the western media [would] actually start seriously debating it. Trump is loathed here.
…The great irony, which US conservative media will never admit of course, is that Trump actually drove SK to the table, not NK. Trump scared SKs so much last year, that Moon’s approval rating has shot up into the 80s%, even though he won with just 41% a year ago, and approval of the summit process is in the 90s%. So if you are a NK hawk, Trump’s rhetoric last year made things worse, not better, by scaring up a dovish consensus for Moon to make concessions and keep Trump at bay.
All politicians can be susceptible to flattery, but Trump lives for it, and is incredibly susceptible to it, as are most narcissists. While any Republican administration would be awful in most areas, this is one case where Trump’s illness–and it is an illness–jeopardized our security.