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Trump’s “Unpredictability” Looks More Like Chaos

The president doesn’t believe in predictability, but his chaos is making the world a dangerous place.

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and American president Donald Trump answer questions from reporters at the White House in Washington DC, April 12
NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and American president Donald Trump answer questions from reporters at the White House in Washington DC, April 12 (NATO)

Karl Vick writes in Time magazine that Donald Trump’s off-the-cuff foreign policy is keeping diplomats up at night.

He gives four examples:

  • Threatening nuclear-armed North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” before consulting his advisors.
  • Announcing to the world that he has not ruled out a “military option” for Venezuela, although nobody asked.
  • Endorsing the Saudi-led boycott of Qatar, despite the presence of over 10,000 American soldiers in the latter.
  • Proposing to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, despite the country’s compliance and other world powers’ desire to keep it alive.

I would add:

  • Raising doubts about America’s NATO commitment to the security of Europe.
  • Creating uncertainty about the future of NAFTA.
  • Promising a trade war with China one day, then praising Xi Jinping the next only to berate him on day three.

As a candidate, Trump said the United States should be “more unpredictable,” but — as Dean Klovens has also argued here — it is hard to see how starting bushfires everywhere is helping to make America “great again”.