The hoopla surrounding Trump’s first visit to Asia can be heard across the world—or at least from the president’s podium. From the “incredible warmth and respect” he received in China to the tremendous amounts of work done on trade—including $300 billion dollars worth of unspecified trade deals that will be “quadrupled very quickly”—”America is back” as a global leader.But is it really? Or did Asian leaders like Xi Jingping know how to cater to a president who tends to focus more on building personal relationships and on the grandeur and scale of his reception than substantive policymaking? It’s pretty clear by the way Trump spoke on his “historic” tour of Asia, it was the latter. An interesting point however, was the ease in which Trump was able to make “fair and reciprocal” trade deals with Asia than with Latin America.
Trump’s disdain for NAFTA is no secret. Even in his speech he made sure to take a jab at “the worst trade deal in history.” But as Mexico and Canada prepare for a life without NAFTA, we are left wondering if all it takes to keep the deal alive is a lavish banquet and parades honoring Trump?