As Trump leaps into world affairs without experience, fed only by on-the-job training, the results are chaotic, unpredictable and malign. “Policy” is a principle of action synonymous with a “strategy” for making decisions. It is not being simply “against” something without simultaneously being “for” something else. “Policy” plays no role in Trump’s international actions.

Demanding improvement through things he is “for,” supporting a “policy,” is not Trump’s way. Everything is either “horrible” or the “worst deal ever.” And there his argument ends.

Our President, in making obtuse decisions on world trade, the Iran agreement, the Paris climate accord, and other initiatives, is making tracks away from enduring relationships with England, France, Germany and the European Union. This behavior is drowning American leadership in a sea of anger and resentment. And polls suggest that Americans do not support Trump on rejection of the Iran deal. The approval of Trump’s North Korea initiative awaits the result.

What kind of a country is the United States when it is condemned by allies who now consider themselves opponents? It is a renegade that denies the existence of  international norms in the name of “America first.”

The road to this dangerous result starts with the Trump persona developed throughout his career in business and as expressed in his successful campaign for the presidency. In the campaign, defining himself as a brush that sweeps  clean, Trump from the outset appealed to voters as the government naïf dedicated to draining swamps and denying the purpose of government action to maintain a just and secure America. Instead, Trump assailed government as an unnecessary irritant.

This is the classic “outs” vs. “ins” approach: whatever it is, Trump is against it.

This outsider pose has its origin in Trump’s business career. Coming to Manhattan as a real estate guy from the boroughs, his outsider persona arose from the disdain Wall Street exhibited in the sixties and seventies to real estate promoters, then considered just a small step above the garment industry. Neither the big investment banks nor their establishment law firms would do real estate unless connected to the Fortune 50. Trump and his real estate ilk were nobodies and not taken seriously.

He never forgot it.

He was then one of the “outs” and his campaign for the presidency appealed to the “outs” of America who felt forlorn as he did when his profession as a real estate developer was deprecated. And now he governs as an “out.” This is a stance that is comfortable and familiar to him but a disaster for America.

Now Trump’s rejection of international accords and his proposed imposition of trade barriers is causing significant reaction internationally. The German Finance Minister suggests that European nations must stop dealing with Trump “permissively.” An Op Ed in the New York Times actually suggests that European nations withdraw their ambassadors to the United States as a result of Trump’s intransigent and unreasoned behavior.

European leaders are in accord in opposing Trump on Iran, the Paris accord and on trade barriers. It is unusual for them to be unanimous.

International condemnation and resistance is a grave development.



Trump’s condemnation of the “horrible” and “worst” sans a Plan B is the most horrible and worst thing that can happen to the United States’ historic stature as the leader that supports peace and freedom throughout the world.