However history remembers Donald Trump, it will not be for his grasp of diplomacy, or even geography for that matter. He’s even fuzzy on time zones, impulsively insisting that calls be placed immediately until his aides inform him that it’s the middle of the night where he wishes to call. Politico:
Trump’s desire to call world leaders at awkward hours is just one of many previously unreported diplomatic faux pas Trump has made since assuming the presidency, which go beyond telephone etiquette to include misconceptions, mispronunciations and awkward meetings. Sometimes the foibles have been contained within the White House. In one case, Trump, while studying a briefer’s map of South Asia ahead of a 2017 meeting with India’s prime minister, mispronounced Nepal as “nipple” and laughingly referred to Bhutan as “button,” according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting. […]
Trump’s apparent ignorance about world affairs, geography and leaders has also repeatedly emerged in internal staff meetings. Ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June 2017 White House visit, Trump asked his national security aides whether Modi would be bringing along his wife. Staffers explained that Modi has long been estranged from his wife. “Ah, I think I can set him up with somebody,” Trump joked, according to two people briefed on the meeting. It was in that same meeting that Trump appeared confused by Nepal and Bhutan, which lie sandwiched between India and China.
“He didn’t know what those were. He thought it was all part of India,” said one person familiar with the meeting. “He was like, ‘What is this stuff in between and these other countries?’”
Reality TV and screwing people in business deals didn’t exactly prepare Trump to bat in the league he’s in now.
“The underlying premise of protocol is respect for other people,” said Wendy Sherman, a former senior State Department official in the Clinton and Obama administrations. “When the president doesn’t follow protocol, it’s a sign of disrespect.”
Trump’s defenders call such talk overblown, noting that all presidents learn on the job and that Trump has never been a stickler for fine etiquette.
Fine etiquette notwithstanding, Trump can’t even grasp the broad brush strokes of foreign policy or diplomacy. Of all the areas where Trump and his cabal are wreaking havoc, the damage that’s being done on the world stage is going to take longer to repair than anything else — assuming that it can be repaired.