The world collectively snickered in 2018 when it became apparent that someone had nominated President Donal Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his no-results summit meeting with ruthless North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un.
Now it turns out that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated Trump for the Nobel, as announced by Trump during his “national emergency” news conference on February 2015. As news outlets pointed out soon after, Abe’s nomination of Trump actually came at the request of the White House.
Abe and Trump have seemingly got along well due to Abe’s enthusiastic efforts to get on Trump’s good side. Abe was the first foreign leader to meet the new President-elect Trump in November 2016 when he visited Trump Tower.
But Trump ungratefully repaid that visit by scrapping the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) after his inauguration, a trade pact upon which Abe had spent a lot of political capital trying to get his pessimistic constituents to accept.
This led Abe to raise the ante in kissing up to Trump. In Feb 2017, he was Trump’s dinner guest at the president’s club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, when Trump started discussing the news about a North Korean missile launch during dinner, within open earshot of club members. He then had Trump over to Japan in Nov 2017 for some burgers and golf.
Trump repaid these overtures by adding Japan to the list of states to be covered by his steel tariffs in the spring of 2018, though it turns out Japan was later added to the long list of states that were exempted. He scolded Abe on Japan’s trade balance with the US, and then announced the summer 2018 North Korea summit without so much as letting Abe in on the secret.
So what did Abe do in return for all this? He nominates Trump for a Nobel Prize (once again, upon the request of the White House). Trump abused Abe once more when he outed Abe as the nominator in that Feb 15 press conference, without mentioning that he or his aides had requested the nomination.
Maybe Abe is finally learning his lesson that Trump can’t be trusted however. Someone from his inner circle no doubt leaked to the Japanese press the fact that the White House requested the nomination for their fragile egoistic leader. Moreover, Abe strategically met with a notable Iranian politician in Tokyo at the very moment that US Vice Pres Mike Pence was excoriating Iran at an anti-Iran summit in Warsaw (covered in the next entry!).