US President Donald Trump speaks during a signing ceremony for the US-China "phase-one" trade agreement in Washington on Wednesday January 15 2020. Picture: BLOOMBERG/ ZACH GIBSON
US President Donald Trump speaks during a signing ceremony for the US-China "phase-one" trade agreement in Washington on Wednesday January 15 2020. Picture: BLOOMBERG/ ZACH GIBSON

Governments have been negotiating and signing trade deals for centuries. No big deal for experienced leaders, who regard it as normal government business.

Presidents and prime ministers do not negotiate trade deals; they have huge teams of highly qualified people doing that. Most of them do not have a clue of the finer mechanisms of trade deals, and understandably so. Therefore, signing ceremonies traditionally have been mere formalities without huge fanfare.

Not so if you are an apprentice leader of a superpower, freshly impeached and on the threshold of a trial in the senate. Then you create a reality television event to bash your predecessors and declare yourself the greatest president ever. It is painful and embarrassing to watch if you are well versed in the affairs of nations.

Perhaps saddest of all is watching grown-ups in the room acting as hero-worshippers, in the carefully staged episode of the apprentice. And the media playing along, covering it live across the globe.

The Chinese president did not even bother to attend. He has a 30-year plan on his desk and smiles at these short-term shows to win elections and divert attention from internal problems. In his wisdom he describes the deal as a win for China, the US and the world, knowing the short-term disruptor in the White House is nearing his sell-by date.

Although no laughing matter, I have have my inner fun following these reality shows with a political twist. We are never too old to experience something new.

Dawie Jacobs
Sterrewag