Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He's a Foreign (and Domestic) Policy Weakling

UPDATE: "Trump looks weaker, less effective and even more ridiculous than anyone might have anticipated — and it happened surprisingly quickly, too."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump is suddenly looking like a very weak autocrat.

First, Trump put Iran “ON NOTICE,” then did nothing.

Then he impulsively claimed to renounce a long-standing One China policy after he promised to review Taiwan's status and bring China "to heel", only to cower recently to Chinese demands to reaffirm the policy.

Now he "looked both weak and incompetent", saying little in response to North Korea’s missile tests after claiming earlier the ICBM test "won’t happen".

"Trump ran for president boasting of his supposedly legendary negotiating and management skills while promising that he alone could fix the problems ailing the country. But three weeks into his presidency, a combination of inexperience, lack of attention to detail and an engaged opposition inside and outside the government have left him as the weakest new president in modern American history.

Trump’s governing style to date can only loosely be called management. He makes decisions quickly, often without consulting relevant experts or even his own appointees. He reads almost nothing, at most a few bullet points—often ripped straight from cable TV—that cannot possibly capture the nuance of complicated policy issues. When his hastily considered decisions backfire in inevitable ways, he doubles down and attacks any critics who point out either the folly or impracticability of his orders.

As with the bellowing Wizard of Oz, however, those boisterous attacks merely hide the weakness of the man behind the curtain, weakness that has already been exploited by both his staff and outside interests. . .

Trump’s rolling circus of chaos has also confounded the press, which can barely dig into one major controversy before a new one erupts.

But for all the president’s authoritarian tendencies and unwillingness to respect traditional norms and institutions, his inability to moderate his mouth, effectively manage the government or successfully negotiate with foreign leaders have left his presidency wounded and weakened. He will undoubtedly manage some successes over the coming months, but the character flaws that have been so evident throughout his public life have so far proved largely debilitating inside the Oval Office."

Read Politico, Donald the Weak, which noted "Trump may aspire to be a strongman, but he's proving to be an exceptionally ineffectual president."

Trump's Big CON: A Déjà Vu Nixon Presidency

UPDATE: "Trump’s genius as a manager is apparent only to himself. He is inattentive and dishonest. He insults rather than consults and has spent an inordinate amount of time at his golf courses. Already he has reversed himself on the one-China policy and has sent mixed signals about Russia. He trashes trade agreements as if ending them will reverse globalization, and he responds to complexity with tweets. He would deal with Chicago’s murder rate by sending in the feds. To do what exactly?

We wait in vain for the promised pivot. It will not happen. At the age of 70, Donald Trump is not about to grow up. He ran a dishonest and tawdry presidential campaign. He continues to disparage John McCain’s heroism and public service, characterizing him as a loser. In spirit, it is no different than his criticism of the Gold Star parents of Humayun Khan, who lost his life while serving in Iraq. Trump felt that while the Khans had sacrificed, so had he — in building a business. If there is a Guinness Book of Narcissism, this is in it.

[Trump is like Nixon, who] assembled a coterie of zealots who were itching to make (domestic) war on anyone and everyone. For a time, the old Nixon was forgotten. A new one was declared. Supposedly gone was the mudslinger of yore, the pol with the twitchy insecurities and a metastasizing inventory of resentments. But the old Nixon was always lurking."

Read the Washington Post, Trump, like Nixon, is incapable of change.

"There is a wide gap, a chasm even, between what the administration has said and what it has done. There have been 45 executive orders or presidential memoranda signed, which may seem like a lot but lags President Barack Obama’s pace. More crucially, with the notable exception of the travel ban, almost none of these orders have mandated much action or clear change of current regulations. So far, Trump has behaved exactly like he has throughout his previous career: He has generated intense attention and sold himself as a man of action while doing little other than promote an image of himself as someone who gets things done.

It is the illusion of a presidency, not the real thing."

Read Politico, President Trump Has Done Almost Nothing.