We must be moving into an era where national leaders just say what they think and let the results be what they will. No doubt that statement automatically brought up the image of Donald Trump, at least for American readers.
But you’ll also find that characteristic in Nigel Farage in the UK, and in Marine Le Pen of France. While they are not heads of governments at this time, they are prominent political leaders who seem to revel in tormenting the establishment ruling class. No doubt that is much of their appeal among voters and the source of the scorn heaped on them established power-brokers.
As much fun as their outspokenness is, they are also disrupting the established way of doing the people’s business. Mr. Trump, in particular, has apparently decided that it’s a whole lot more effective and less bothersome to do some things himself. So the US State Department can just sit and stew while Mr. Trump ignores protocol and just picks up the phone and calls world leaders when he wants to chat.
So now what has Trump done that has gotten official Washington upset? He called the president of the Philippines on the phone.
According to Yahoo News, “U.S. President-elect Donald Trump invited Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte to the White House next year during a ‘very engaging, animated’ phone conversation, a Duterte aide said on Friday, amid rocky relations between their two countries.”
Not much was released about the content of the seven-minute conversation. But we do know this much: “Duterte congratulated the U.S. president-elect, the Trump team’s statement said, and the two men ‘noted the long history of friendship and cooperation between the two nations, and agreed that the two governments would continue to work together closely on matters of shared interest and concern.’”
What’s the big deal about this? As a refresher, recall that Mr. Duterte of the Philippines referred to Mr. Obama as a “son of a b****.” Well, we’re no fan of Mr. Obama, and that probably was stepping over the line a bit. But that’s beside the point.
What is of interest is that Donald Trump, aware of the deterioration in the relationship between the US and the Philippines, called the president on the phone to start the process for a dialog. Duterte is well known for being blunt, as the above unpleasant comment about Mr. Obama illustrates vividly. That said, if the conversation was, in fact, “animated” as Yahoo reports, we can be very sure Mr. Trump did not back down.
What we have here is real leadership – engaging with difficult situations and persons rather than running around the nation and the world looking for golfing buddies, and warm, fuzzy relationships. In Mr. Trump we have a real leader who is just as capable of handling the tough stuff and obnoxious leaders as he is in working with close friends.
In the real world, displaying this sort of leadership is what gets positive results. The international relationships Mr. Trump will build will make his liberal, jellyfish critics look even more ridiculous than they already do.
Enjoy the show!