Bob Franken


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Whoa! Is Donald Trump a wild man or what? His Twitter rampages frighten friend and foe alike — unfortunately friends more than foes.
But this time Trump’s target is an enemy, Iran, where the leaders must be quaking in their slippers, their mullahs mulling the sheer ferocity of the cyberbroadside that Trump flung their way. The American chief executive was having a tantrum over his Iranian counterpart’s speech in which President Hassan Rouhani threatened the “mother of all wars,” proving among other things that the speechwriters in Tehran also are not above a little plagiarism.
Nevertheless, it set off Trump, which is no big deal — the slightest slight sends him into a cybertizzy. Certainly a bellicose comment from anyone, anywhere would ring his bell. And it did. POTUS may have small hands, but he has flying fingers, so it wasn’t long before they typed: “To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”
Notice it’s all caps? Of course you did; we all did. Take that, ayatollahs. They probably were sent scurrying over that one, screaming “Wowee zowee!” in Farsi, maybe even “WOWEE ZOWEE!”
Still, before we conclude that our guy has depleted his arsenal by going all caps, he’s only getting revved up. Drawing on his inner John Paul Jones, he might be thinking, “I’ve not yet begun to tweet!” (By the way, can someone on his staff make sure he knows that John Paul Jones was an American Navy commander in the Revolutionary War and is probably dead?) He hasn’t even given Rouhani a nickname yet, like “Little Rocket Man,” which Kim Jong Un would have considered demeaning if he had ever heard the music of Elton John. Nevertheless, Kim went insult-to-insult with the Trumpster, tstating, “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”
Some may call that vitriol, but for those two, it was foreplay. It wasn’t long before they were having a rendezvous in Singapore, where Trump handed Kim much of what he wanted in exchange for empty promises from North Korea.

Perhaps that is what Trump envisions with Iran, which assumes, of course, that he has any vision whatsoever beyond instant gratification. Setting aside that, maybe it’s all part of a Trumpian grand scheme to bring Iran to the negotiating table for some sort of empty photo-op. It seemed to work with Kim, and there are indications that he’s trying the same bullying tactic with the mullahs. True to form, he’s now suggesting that maybe they would be willing to haggle with him only because of his strong-arm tactics.
Oops. They weren’t intimidated. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had a tweet of his own about the Trump all-cap rap: “COLOR US UNIMPRESSED.”
It is not in Trump’s ghostwritten book “The Art of the Deal,” but it should be: “Never ever learn any lessons.” By now he should have figured out that bargaining with various heads of state is not like haggling with a banker or someone in the construction business or a union leader. Sweetheart deals just don’t cut it with these egos. Look at how Vladimir Putin took him to the cleaners, which was probably useful. Trump’s oversized suit and one red tie needed to be sanitized after Putin made him soil himself in Helsinki and at home.
Could this be a chastened president trying to divert attention from his various embarrassments, much like his predecessor Bill Clinton did with a 1998 rocket attack on an alleged al-Qaeda facility in Sudan. Gee, that happened on the very same day that Monica Lewinsky was testifying before the grand jury investigating him. Coincidence? It didn’t work then, nor will it work now. It never does. It’s guaranteed that no one will have nany success whatsoever. Besides, when is the last time anyone ever called Trump”Slick Donald.” The short answer is NEVER!

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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