I wrote this two and a half years ago:
If President Trump is truly an aging Narcissus, few things would please him more than toppling a powerful leader whom he, Trump, has previously considered close to a peer… If the POTUS is indebted to that leader to any tangible degree, the latter’s demise would instantly incinerate the former’s IOUs.
Apparently I got it all wrong, deluded by my own wishful thinking:
… former and current White House officials have described Trump’s interactions with strongman leaders as fawning, deferential and embarrassing…
Here’s how Trump’s first call with Putin went, according to the Washington Post and Newsweek:
The call was intended for Putin to congratulate Trump on his victory, but the new president was “obsequious” and “fawning,” even apologizing to the dictator for not calling him sooner…
“We couldn’t figure out early on why he was being so nice to Russia,” a former senior administration official added.
If this is true, the POTUS is quite likely a coward and a bully, an impotent worshipper of cynical force. It’s still a big if – but not as huge as it seemed to me in 2017.