New Delhi: Donald Trump has placed the United States in a fraught and dodgy situation with the rest of the world. This is on top of emerging as the worst American president in years and the most disliked in recent memory. As a Great Power, there is a geopolitical momentum to the United States that could sail it past minor humps but the threat from North Korea is major and Trump with his bellicosity towards friends and allies alike is not easing the path. While the rest of the world values America, the goodwill cannot last forever with Trump’s unremitting misbehaviour. To America’s misfortune a situation may soon arise when the United States sees attrition of leverage and influence because of Trump. If this happens on an issue such as North Korea, both the world and the United States will suffer the consequences in equal proportion. The megalomaniac occupying the White House has no conception of the damage he is inflicting on his country.

The White House has appealed to the rest of the world to unite against the threat represented by North Korea’s successful test of a missile that can target the American mainland with impunity. Kim Jong-un’s ICBM, however, primarily threatens the United States for which the United States largely is to blame. If it had no history of changing foreign regimes and assassinating foreign leaders at will (no state has these mandates unless it is existentially threatened), the North Korean crisis would not have arisen. By joining the war of words with Kim, Trump has made it much worse for America. There is no easy solution to the crisis and it doesn’t get better with Trump’s abrasive personality.

Trump believes America is entitled to special relief when it is threatened. This sense of entitlement permits him to abuse and bully foreign governments and leaders. He has plunged relations with the United Kingdom in crisis after writing harshly to Theresa May on her Twitter page. He is a bigot and his bigotry encompasses a vast field that includes non-whites and Muslims. He has been scorning China and its leadership while demanding assistance with North Korea. He has turned the trade screws on Japan and South Korea and lashed out at the South Korean leadership for imploring diplomacy with Kim. Relations are rocky with Germany. In the Middle East he has been siding with Saudi Arabia against Iran. On one hand Trump speaks of “America First” in geopolitics and geo-economics. On the other, seeing America’s spent leverage with Kim, he expects the world to bail out America. Indeed, he demands this.

The parts of the world that really matter have had enough of Trump. The UK is already looking beyond Trump’s presidency. The UK has a “special relationship” with the United States harking back to World War II and reaffirmed post the Suez Crisis. This relationship has now soured. Western Europe is also likely to be cool about North Korea unless its interests are threatened. Russia, already involved in a mighty quarrel with Establishment United States, will pay lip service to America’s anxieties. While publicly urging restraint, it will do little to mitigate the North Korean threat. In any case, it has few levers with North Korea. Among the Great Powers, that leaves China. Trump has disparaged Chinese efforts to contain Kim’s threats. China is a self-respecting power. It takes its Great Power status seriously and does not care to be looked down upon. Trump’s persistent calumny will have the effect of snapping China’s patience and withdrawal from the efforts to insulate the United States from North Korea. China has outgrown the stage where the United States could threaten it.

What has considerably added to US woes is that Donald Trump is presiding over the most divided and unstable administration in years. A considerable section of Trump’s senior officials are being investigated for collusion with Russia in election manipulation. This includes Trump’s son-in-law. Former political aides have pleaded guilty and are entering into plea bargains which could undermine Trump. Trump is also destabilizing the administration by frequently firing officials. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson is on his way out after calling Trump a “moron”. Trump privileges “military solutions” over diplomacy and Tillerson has found himself undercut on North Korea, Qatar, Iran, etc. All this is happening in the background of Trump losing political support in the United States within a year of assuming office. His legislative record is zero.

The United States is in no position to impose its will on North Korea. North Korea is a nuclear power with the distinct capability to attack the United States. The best course would be for Trump to back down on his rhetoric and permit the rest of the world to placate Kim and urge him to keep his weapons without overtly threatening the United States. A nuclear North Korea will not affect the global balance of power. North Korea will return to solitude and silence once it is permitted to retain its deterrence. Establishment United States should pressure Donald Trump to cease muddying the waters and allow international diplomacy to engage with and pacify North Korea. Beyond that, America has to devise the means to defang Trump. With Trump as president, America does not need external enemies.