President Trump and Pope Francis are about as far apart on the spectrum as you can get. Both men lead large organizations and have tried to implement big change. Most importantly, both are renegotiating deals. Let’s compare those results.
Pope Francis has been working to reunite a breakaway faction, called SSPX, most of his time in office. He has also been working to restore relationship with China and begin appointing bishops there. President Trump declared his intent to renegotiate trade deals, specifically with the European Union, Mexico and Canada.
These negotiations are tough. Both sides were fairly entrenched. Yet today we are reading about President Trumps successes and (not reading) Pope Francis’ failures. Why is that?
Put simply, President Trump is willing to shoot for the moon and use his full power to get there. Any deal he proposes might at first sound ludicrous. Negotiate peace with North Korea? Redo NAFTA? Take on China in a trade war and win? Impossible! Then after he sets these goals, he goes after them with everything. With North Korea, he waged a “maximum pressure” campaign, not only after North Korea but anyone that chose to dealt with it. This included plenty of Chinese shipping companies that did lots of business in America. Their eagerness to stay out of President Trump’s crosshairs tightened the noose around North Korea and brought them to the table.
With China, Mexico and the EU, President Trump recognized that most countries exported heavily to the US. Countries slapping tariffs on US goods simply redirected those goods to American markets (more than capable of absorbing them), while not having a good counter on the other countries markets. That’s why even the South China Morning Post pleaded with Beijing to simply settle with Trump, rather than risk crushing the Chinese economy.
On the Catholic side, we’ve had stalemate. China continues it’s normal winning trend: put pressure on people to take their side, and when you can, simply force the issue. The Uighurs are a perfect example. After offering them “friendly” opportunities to renounce their religion, the past ten years have seen China ratchet up the game. First it was nice requests. Then it was attempting to breed them out by importing Han-chinese from the coastal regions. Then it was drone strikes on selective targets, and now we have massive reeducation camps.
Hate to break it to the Pope, but the Catholic Church in China is going to wind up like that too.
Instead of seeing the Pope square off against China, we are seeing him cower to their atheist government. Instead of calling for Catholics in China to change their government, Pope Francis is negotiating with that government and getting nothing in return. Maybe the Pope can read President Trump’s book on negotiating before he hits another crisis…
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. But it really would be nice if Pope Francis could start negotiating well and solve some of these crises that rock our Church.
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