Throughout 2018, Trump bumbled about the global stage, never missing a chance to embarrass himself and the United States.
As Trump tramped around the globe in 2018, the world watched in both amusement and alarm at his childlike tantrums, flat-out lies, and general ineptitude. In the end, global opinion of America plummeted, which is what you would expect with the laughing stock who occupies the Oval Office.
The year began on a low note, with 11 countries coming to a trade agreement without the United States. Rather than try to influence the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trump isolated himself and the United States, withdrawing from all negotiations. In the end, Australia, Japan, Canada, and several others forged ahead, leaving America behind.
Over the summer, Trump's humiliations came fast and furious. World leaders ridiculed Trump's child-like tantrum at the end of the G-7 Summit in Canada after Trump withdrew from the group's agreement via Twitter. One senior official called Trump "a pathetic little man-child."
Immediately after the G-7, Trump flew to Singapore for his much-ballyhooed meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. While there, Trump saluted a North Korean general, a severe breach of protocol.
"It was an inappropriate thing for him to do from a protocol perspective, but now he’s played right into the North's propaganda about their legitimacy on the world stage," said retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, a military analyst with CNN.
Despite Trump's boasts of success, North Korea humiliated him by continuing to produce fuel needed for its nuclear weapon arsenal. In November, satellite images also revealed 16 hidden ballistic missile bases, including one within 80 miles of U.S. soldiers stationed in Seoul, South Korea.
From one dictator to another, Trump scraped and bowed before Russian leader Vladimir Putin during an embarrassing July press conference. In front of the entire world, Trump insulted the U.S. investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying he believed Putin's denial over the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies.
The press conference was so bad that former CIA Director John Brennan called it "treasonous" and said Trump's entire national security team should resign in protest. Even Fox News slammed Trump for refusing to stand up to Putin.
A few months later, diplomats from around the globe broke out in laughter at Trump's speech before the United Nations General Assembly. The laughter came as Trump began bragging about accomplishing "more than almost any administration in the history of our country," during his first two years. Even diplomats could not hold it together, laughing right in Trump's face.
Trump not only embarrassed himself with his missteps and bungling of foreign policy, but he diminished America's standing on the global stage. An October Pew survey of global opinions showed 43 percent of those surveyed said they have an unfavorable view of the U.S., while 50 percent have a favorable view. America never had such low numbers during President Obama's tenure.
For Trump, 2018 brought a string of embarrassments — and 2019 is not looking like it will be any better.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.