How Foreign Leaders Play President Trump

By Walter Pincus

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics that ranged from nuclear weapons to politics. He is the author of Blown to Hell: America's Deadly Betrayal of the Marshall Islanders. Pincus won an Emmy in 1981 and was the recipient of the Arthur Ross Award from the American Academy for Diplomacy in 2010.  He was also a team member for a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 and the George Polk Award in 1978.  

OPINION — Donald Trump as president displays weakness toward those he envies as strong foreign leaders, while he acts like a bully toward leaders he considers less powerful than himself.  Those contrasting natures were on full display last Wednesday.

At the same time Trump was offering unwarranted concessions to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the House Intelligence Committee was hearing testimony that Trump’s designees were demanding that Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky pledge publicly to investigate the Democrats’ 2016 election activities and the Biden’s, Joe Biden of course, being his potential 2020 presidential opponent.

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