July 18, 2019

UNEXPECTEDLY! Commentary: The unexpected effectiveness of US President Donald Trump. “It is dry stuff, this, but it matters. Mr Trump has been a trooper for the anti-government right. It is a particular effort to keep up with the environmental rules he has either scrapped or loosened. Even if he had pulled off none of these domestic ruptures, his foreign policy would be enough to mark him out as a consequential leader. To harden the US line on China is no feat by itself. . . . Political, diplomatic and corporate elites now countenance a lasting struggle with China. This was not just unforeseeable in 2016. It was unforeseeable at the start of 2018. And its implications include nothing less than the gumming up of the globalisation that Mr Trump defines himself against. . . . To say this is not to credit the president with a bureaucratic guile that is somehow lost on other observers. What he does have is an obsession with a few priorities — which is strategic behaviour of a kind — and a personal force that is difficult to thwart. . . Better President Trump than President Mike Pence, Democrats used to say, reasoning that the vice-president would chase rightwing aims more successfully. You hear less of that now. It is not clear that a more seasoned politician would have achieved a great deal more.”

We’re now squarely in Scott Adams Stage Three.

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