APD Review | In Trump’s fantasy world, caprice is new norm



By APD writer Roy Lu

Even for a man as capricious as Donald Trump, the past week should be considered a new low for his chaos presidency. For the world though, the three latest incidents of Trumpian fickleness served nothing less than a chilling sequel to Trump’s insane reality show.

The first incident happened last Tuesday when Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, became the latest victim of Trump’s caprice.

During her interview two days earlier, Haley had revealed that Trump would soon impose sanctions on Russia due to its support for the Syrian government.

As the world was anxiously waiting for the strained relations between the previous Cold War rivals to become even worse, it turned out that the White House had changed course on the Russian sanction without informing Haley, current the administration’s leading foreign policy figure after the ouster of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

After being called out by the White House as having “some momentary confusion about” the sanction, Haley did not swallow quietly her anger. Instead she fired back defiantly by responding that she did not “get confused.”

The openly erupted conflict was reminiscent of previous episodes when Trump malignantly undercut his subordinates, leaving one wondering that when Trump announces something, should we wait to see what he would do the next day?

The second incident involved Trump’s U-turn on his assessment of the peace prospect for the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, right, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe, left, walk at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla.

During his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week, Trump signaled his intention to endorse the discussion between South Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) about “the end of the war”, even though the official U.S. policy on the issue is that denuclearization comes before the talk on the peace treaty.

After insulting and threatening the DPRK with indecent language even inappropriate for the man in the street for a whole year, Trump now poured praise effusively on the DPRK.

“I really believe there’s a lot of good will,” said Trump the Chameleon. “They do respect us. We are respectful of them.”

If you think that Trump’s professed rapport with the DPRK is a positive sign, think twice.

Together with his ignorance of the complexity of the issue, Trump’s propensity to drastically change his opinion without a hint could mean that his roller- coaster style could smash the Korean Peninsula peace prospect into the ground the next time.

Then came the third incident of Trumpian whimsicality in a single week. After publicly floating the idea that the United States could rejoin the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) for a while, Trump appeared to dismiss the idea once for all.

Or, at least for now, Trump put an end to the idea.

“Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it (TPP) doesn’t work,” Trump wrote on Twitter, days after the revelation that Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council, was preparing to begin renegotiating the TPP.

Trump and his enablers have for long been touting Trump’s unpredictability as a strategy, one supposed to give the United States the upper hand by keeping Trump’s enemies and allies- if there are still any allies left- constantly in the dark.

But again and again, it has been proved that Trump’s self- righteous strategy of unpredictability is nothing less than a fig leaf for his easy surrender to impulsiveness. Just as what his critics have always said, Trump is mentally unfit for the presidency.

For a world worried about sliding into instability, Trump is a big threat.

Roy Lu, researcher of APD Institute. Lu covered the 2016 U.S. presidential election till the very end of Donald Trump’s upset victory. He is a political contributor to APD.