"When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends."
So goes a Japanese proverb. It's fitting, then, to review what's come out of the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, this past weekend, based on how the men and women in attendance got along.
Having gone into the two-day summit calling the other 19 members of the group his "competitors," U.S. President Donald Trump came out of it having patched things up with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
He had a laugh with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a "good friend."
And, now that he has landed in Seoul to my north, he wants to shake hands with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un at the Korean DMZ.
So he made some friends in the end. Among democratically elected world leaders, he also had a good time with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
It was the Xi-Trump meeting on Saturday that stole the show. The two men tried their best to put on pained expressions over their handshake, which was more of a draw than a "win" for either man, although Trump did slap Xi on the back before they sat down.
They had an 80-minute meeting, after which Trump said trade relations are "right back on track, and we'll see what happens."
In other words, the summit ended on a good note, thanks in no small part to one particularly prolific tweeter.
Two Possible Outcomes
Meet Me At The DMZ!(?)
After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon). While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2019
Putin and Trump had a laugh about next year's U.S. presidential showdown. Trump grinned and put on a mock serious voice, telling Putin, "Don't meddle in the election, President."
Putin said he has invited Trump to visit him in Moscow next May. That would be to honor the 75 thanniversary of Russia's defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. Trump said he's giving it "very serious consideration."
Putin said his get-together with Trump was a "good meeting, business-like, pragmatic," and that the two men must for their nations "somehow find the strength to turn the page and move forward."