Trump’s World

This dude is incoherent. And, hence, dangerous. There is an utter lack of curiosity.

On foreign policy, Trump is the worst of all worlds

Trump is a real-estate developer who takes any domestic terrorist attack — whatever the actual circumstances — as confirmation of his views on a lax immigration system, as evidence of a law-enforcement system hobbled by political correctness and as cause for more aggressive profiling of Muslims, Arabs or whomever he is currently defining as the threat. Some of his followers seem particularly pleased when he edges toward declaring Islam itself to be the enemy. “Frankly,” Trump has said, “we’re having problems with the Muslims.”

Trump has hardly distinguished himself in reacting to that conflict, fed by the radiating disorders of the Middle East. As the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) rose, the GOP nominee said, “That’s not our fight.” And: “Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why do we care?” And: “Let Russia fight ISIS, if they want to fight ’em.” But also: Bomb the oil and “take the oil” — which would seem to require a choice between the two. Incantations are preferable to such gibberish.

Those who believe that preening bluster makes up for willful ignorance and dangerously poor policy judgment have found their man. But this is not the worst of it. Anyone who has spent time working in the White House would attest that the single most important presidential attribute is leadership in times of crisis. We have no idea what challenges the next president may face — an outbreak of deadly pandemic flu, the collapse of order in nuclear Pakistan, a cyberattack on the U.S. electrical grid. All we know — or try our best to know — is the character, stability and credibility of the president himself (or herself).

Conservatives trying to justify a vote for Trump argue that the presidency itself would somehow mature him. Yet the Republican nominee has provided little reason to believe he is truly capable of learning or benefiting from good counsel. “My primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff,” Trump has said.

“It is really important to project a sense of calm,” the official said. “A leader understands that people feed off his emotions in a moment of crisis. If he uses wild or frantic rhetoric, it will risk creating a psychological tsunami.”

The president may face simultaneous crises, the official went on, forcing him “to rely on others in the team to give good advice.” And: “If the ego is central to a leader and a crisis occurs, it could lead to rash decision-making.” And: “One cannot solve a crisis by blaming other people. This tone makes it harder to rally the whole nation.” A leader has to “articulate a credible strategy” and honor the “American values that unite us.”