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Taking it on the (double) chin re: North Korea

 Image via  Fortune

Image via Fortune

Do you think it was the premature commemorative coin, in which “L’il Kim” Jong-un is portrayed with two chins and President Donald J. Trumpet with only one? (Which is laughable. Melania could do a step workout on her husband’s triple chins.)

The much-“Trump”eted summit between the two narcissists – which Donnie Two Scoops suddenly called off after Kim essentially pulled out – may be on again for June 12 in Singapore. Or not. We don’t know. Because that’s the way Trumpet rolls.

He sent Kim a letter that set new standards for passive aggression in what can only be described as a cross between a threatening lawsuit and an insecure society hostess’ thank you note:

“You talk about nuclear capabilities,” it read in part, “but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”

Then the missive abruptly changed tone with no transition, because, let’s face it, Trump’s no F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.

If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.”

This would be hilarious if it weren’t so serious, particularly for allies like South Korea and Japan. And while Trumpet may be clucking over getting three hostages released – that’s the real point of his “thanking” Kim, to congratulate himself – what about the five he doomed in Iran after he pulled out of that nuclear deal? He doesn’t care. He’s happy to pick winners and losers, because in the end he plans on being the last man standing.

But how does that work here? What’s the incentive to negotiate with Trump? If you’re on the other side of the negotiating table, you never know what you’re going to get. It’s like building on sand – make that quicksand. If you’re an ally, he doesn’t have your back. He could’ve used the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem as a bargaining chip to obtain concessions from the Israelis and thus show the Palestinians that America remained interested in being a real arbiter in the Middle East. But he didn’t do that. How can you engage such a person? Why would you want to?

You wouldn’t, and it doesn’t take a Henry Kissinger to see that the effect of Trumpet’s boomerang diplomacy will only be a strengthening of China’s hand in Asia.

But hey, at least America is safe from kneeling black football players. The NFL has decreed that this season players must stand for the National Anthem. Those who choose not to can remain in the locker room until the anthem is over. How sad, for what does the anthem and the flag represent but the qualities for which this country stands – including, in this case, freedom of speech? For what else did the soldiers whom we’ll remember Monday on Memorial Day die?

As for the notion that the protests begun by the now blackballed former San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick have contributed to a decline in the NFL’s audience, at home and in the stands, consider this: Isn’t it also possible that the game’s increasing, dementia-inducing violence and market saturation have played a role? Ironically, the NFL wouldn’t be in this position if it didn’t introduce the anthem to the pregame in 2009 as a way to capitalize on patriotism.

But what the heck, both Trump and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell – neither of whom is known for his Alexandrian leadership – have succeeded in playing to their jingoistic base. That base is all that matters – that and making money.

The rest of us – including the outraged NFL players – can take a knee in the clubhouse. Or take it on our taut chins.