Not a stretch.
According to Axios, President Trump had a meeting with his top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer in early September, and it was Trump, not Lighthizer, telling how negotiations with South Korea should go.
The conversation with officials was centered around the current U.S.-Korean trade deal, and whether the U.S. should withdraw from the agreement, or not.
In front of Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and other officials, Trump gave his strategy for the renegotiation.
“You’ve got 30 days, and if you don’t get concessions then I’m pulling out,” Trump told Lighthizer.
“Ok, well I’ll tell the Koreans they’ve got 30 days,” Lighthizer replied.
“No, no, no,” Trump interjected. “That’s not how you negotiate. You don’t tell them they’ve got 30 days. You tell them, ‘This guy’s so crazy he could pull out any minute.'”
“That’s what you tell them: Any minute,” Trump continued. “And by the way, I might. You guys all need to know I might. You don’t tell them 30 days. If they take 30 days they’ll stretch this out.”
So it’s an act? He’s trying to shake things up and taking a risk that the world will be scared into compliance, rather than choosing to ban together against the U.S. because of the threat of an unstable leader in control of the most powerful nation in the world.
The Axios article goes on to point out Trump’s mad tweeting habit, including how he undercut Secretary Tillerson on Sunday. As Tillerson, and last Tuesday Joint Chiefs Chairman General Dunford have stressed – it’s about diplomacy. We have a direct line of communication with North Korea, but Trump tweeted yesterday for Tillerson not to waste time with diplomacy.
He’s hoping his crazy outcrazy’s Kim Jong un’s crazy.
His threats have prompted action before, as the world attempts to dissuade him from losing it.
He’s threatened our NATO partners, causing some partners to pledge to do more, but it all fell through when Trump went back on his previous threats and fell in line with the long held position of supporting our partners.
As the article also pointed out, if he only offers threats with no carry through, eventually, nobody believes him.
The danger in that is that if he’s not getting the attention he craves, I can see his threats becoming bolder and more reckless.