Donald Trump makes peace abroad. Simultaneously, Donald Trump makes war at home. There is no contradiction. If it exists, it must be your inner contradiction, on which you will collapse and fall, all of a heap, at his feet. If he squared off to settle scores with Robert De Niro when he should have been resting on his laurels, having engaged with Kim Jong-un and persuaded him to suspend nuclear and missile testing, it was only natural. As natural as it was for Kim, the world’s last tinpot dictator until a few weeks ago, to be elevated to the level of an international statesman.
Trump has risen above mundane politics, and the customary standards don’t apply to him any more. Just before the summit with Kim, he made war at the G7, whose only substantial outcome was a viral meme depicting him as a badly behaved baby. Just after he made peace with Kim, and while Air Force One was still airborne, he tweeted his opinion of veteran actor Robert De Niro: “A very Low IQ individual” who was “punch-drunk” due to being tapped on the head by too many professionals in his boxing movies. He was responding to abuse suffered in absentia at the Tony Awards, where Robert De Niro had fired off the world’s favourite four-letter word against him.
A statesman would have chosen to ignore the slur. But Trump is a politician. A politician who has turned the art of the possible into the craft of the improbable. He has no sense of community with his peers in the other Western democracies but is very comfortable with authoritarian leaders. And he has leveraged it to avert a possible doomsday situation. Let us not grudge him his petty pleasures, such as declaring war on the ageing hero of some memorable boxing movies.