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Donald Trump's Handshake Displays Weakness
One has to come to terms with the meaning behind a “mirror” handshake in geopolitics. A handshake conveys a leader’s personality that measures their influence and impression on the international stage.
Barack Obama’s first White House meeting with Donald Trump displayed a very confident leader leaving the White House. Obama’s posture was firm and upright, he leaned forwards towards Trump with his eyes fixated on the incoming leader. The incoming leader bowed his head showing some consolable reflection of his own negativity that projected his neuroticism. Then, Trump simply folded his hands upon his knees, and told the media that Obama is indeed a good man.
Unfortunately, Obama did not reciprocate the favor. At the end of the photo op, Obama’s hand engulfed Trump’s hand, this had a pronounced universal effect that showed Obama’s global respect in our world.
Donald Trump’s handshake does pose a problem with international leaders in both formal and informal settings. With less dominant nations, Trump’s handshake is soft and to the point typically highlighting the closing of a deal or discussion.
Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shared a 19-second handshake that was particularly intriguing in the world of politics. After the handshake, Abe turned away from Trump and opened his mouth in disbelief. As the cameras continued to roll it was revealing that this 70-year old President seemed to be oblivious of Abe’s disquieting demeanor of disgust.
Abe realized that the handshake set the tone of Japan’s position in the Asia Pacific region. Trump’s handshake with Abe was affectionate, it wasn’t simply a handshake, it was fatherly. As Trump was shaking Abe’s hand, Trump used his other hand to tap Abe’s wrist like a child needing reassurance in their position in society. Trump simply asserted his influence, and by that he exerted his dominance over a nation unsure of their status with the rapid rise of China.
One can not oversimplify a handshake, the media made the handshake a symbol of an uncomfortable joke played on Shinzo Abe. However, for the unsuspecting eye, this signaled a dangerous build-up of individual power that officially introduced North Korea as a provocateur to continue firing their short-range ballistic missiles close to Japanese territorial waters. It enabled North Korea to defend their position and radical behavior in the North Korean Peninsula.
Russia and China detected weakness with Trump’s royal diadem and purple robe that consequently left the two leaders vulnerable and indecisive with the complicated matters in the Asia Pacific region. To prove my point, China and the US are inextricably intertwined economically. Japan is not in the position to be the third-place economic powerhouse in Asia. Japan refuses to relinquish that position to China.
Again for the unsuspecting eye, when President of China Xi Jinping met Trump, Xi made a crucial point to keep his elbow higher ensuring his hand was above Trump’s. Xi’s elaborate code of practice was to show the world that China is not only a rising power with geopolitical ambition, but also a country that others can rely on to share not only wealth, but the mutual respect that they command from their role in building up global economies.
French President Emmanuel Macron had some sharp words expressing his handshake with Donald Trump as the two leaders gripped each other’s hand tightly and even clenched their faces and jaws to show every ounce of dominance. Macron stated, “My handshake with (President Trump) was not innocent, not the alpha and the omega of a policy, but a moment of truth.” He continued, “We must show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones.”
The French President showed the world that he is now a rising power in Europe. His simple move has established his position above Great Britain and propelled his dominance in gaining mutual respect from the European Union.
On the other hand, Theresa May seems to cuddle up with Donald Trump every time they get the chance to meet. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has shamed Britain on an unprecedented scale with these actions.
I'd like to thank Michael Ambrozewicz for his contribution to this article.