The U. S.’s relationship with Russia isn’t great, the trade war with China is very much on, and North Korea still has nukes.
The past four days has seen three foreign policy promises made by President Donald Trump deflate like a dropped soufflé, and in pretty public fashion, no less.
The president spent most of 2018 engaging in some measure of tough-talk against Russia, China, and North Korea. As of now, the promises of having the best relationship with Russia, of wiping out America’s massive trade deficit with China, and of getting rid of North Korea’s nuclear and long-range ballistic missiles all seem pretty far out of reach.
Let’s take a look at the latest developments on three of President Trump’s favorite tough-talking foreign policy issues:
This is the most complicated of the three cases, largely owing to the extent to which President Trump seems thirsty for acceptance from Russian elite, certainly including President Vladimir Putin.
This capitulation peaked during the July summit in Helsinki, which ended with Trump giving a joint press conference with Putin. Before international media, he let Putin walk all over him, never pushing back against the country’s meddling in the 2016 elections that put Trump in office (as pretty much every U. S. intelligence agency has concluded to be the case).
The “ extraordinary relationship ” President Trump predicted has, thus far, not materialized with Putin, with Russia on Monday canceling Putin’s visit to Washington.
Putin’s spokesperson  told Russian media that the two leaders are currently in an “untenable pause” after President Trump canceled a planned bilateral meeting with Putin at the G20 Summit in Argentina over the weekend.
Trump said he called the meeting off after Russia seized Ukranian ships and their crewmembers last week. This is viewed as a act of aggression as the Ukrainian ships had every right to be in the shared waters.
Of course, it’s hard to ignore that all of this is unfolding just as the investigation into ties between President Trump and Russia in the lead up to the 2016 elections is heating up — and that the optics of a friendly Trump-Putin meeting are far from optimal for the White House.

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