Everyone seems to be aware of the consequences of those who find themselves unexpectedly in power may result in, especially in a situation when such figures are constantly shifting their position. A fight with a significant other, bad weather or simply the fact that this person woke up at the wrong side of the bed can work as a trigger. Poor decisions may turn any profitable endeavor into a nightmare. However, when such a leader finds himself leading one of the most powerful countries in the world, a country that possesses nuclear weapons, the actual amount of collateral damage such a person can inflict upon this world is simply inconceivable.
The above mentioned description suits current US president, Donald Trump who seems to be all too willing to make unpredictable moves several times a day. Sometimes the media cannot catch up in its reporting with all of the crazy ideas Trump throws around.
As it’s been pointed out by the Washington Post:
There are few better examples of the terminal confusion gripping the Trump administration than the competing headlines published by The Post and the New York Times. The Post: “Trump instructs military to begin planning for withdrawal from Syria.” The Times: “Trump Drops Push for Immediate Withdrawal of Troops From Syria.” Both headline writers were trying in good faith to decipher the undecipherable — the intentions of mercurial president, which can change as rapidly as the weather in Rapid City, S.D
A few years ago, nobody was making a big secret of the fact that the US was routinely torturing certain individuals without going as far as to charge them with actual crimes. Certainly, CIA officials were ashamed to refer to what they were doing to the people as “torture”, and instead they would employ all sorts of euphemisms like “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The actual use of these “techniques” became common in the CIA’s secret prisons in Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. All of these prisons, expect for the one in Cuba, were closed by a decree signed by former US President Barack Obama. Among the so-called “advanced” techniques of interrogating people one could find severe beating, sleep and food deprivation, torture with music, and the so-called waterboarding.
When these facts finally reached the media, Washington prohibited its intelligence agencies from carrying on their inhumane practices. Both these crimes along with many other offenses committed by the CIA were mentioned in a report released at the end of 2014, revealing highly dubious steps taken by the Bush administration. Therefore, Trump’s position in his election race on the matter of torture was a no-brainer, as he eagerly announced that such practices are ineffective and, therefore, should be abolished. However, immediately after his inauguration, he suddenly had a change of heart. He would then go out and announce his renewed conviction to the general public in an interview with ABC. Moreover, Trump has even stated that he’s open to proposals on the return to “enhanced interrogation techniques”.
It’s been repeatedly stated by all sorts of media sources that Trump prides himself on unpredictability. He is trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with North Korea — but at the same time he backtracks on a similar deal with Iran. He has threatened a trade war against China — but at the same time he needs China’s help to coerce North Korea into making concessions.
Trump’s position on the possibility of holding a summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un shifted several times a day before the final decision was announced.
Last April, as the Western proxy group known as the White Helmets voiced allegations against Damascus, Trump promised to make an important decision within the time frame of 48 hours, while canceling an important summit to display the urgency of the upcoming steps to be taken. However, after announcing Washington’s readiness to launch missile strikes on Syria, it took him less than an hour to have a change of heart, making a series of unexpected tweets about the need to stop the ongoing arms race, while adding that he never considered an attack on Syria a feasible step.
As it’s been noted by Politico, over the course of 11 days, Trump went from calling the European Union a “foe” and publicly questioning his own intelligence agencies to palling around with a top EU official. Trump’s appearance with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the Rose Garden was a stark departure from the NATO meeting in Brussels that occurred during the same month, at which the president repeatedly lambasted European leaders.
One moment during an official dinner during the G7 summit in Quebec, the sitting US president said he considers Crimea to be a part of Russia anyway, since pretty much everybody speaks Russian there, before then claiming Russia’s policies regarding Crimea were unacceptable.
Even two years after the presidential election, Trump still can not get rid of the rumours about alleged Russian interference in the presidential election in the US. He himself has been constantly changing his position on this matter. There’s a record of him says that this interference is total nonsense, but there’s also instances when he declared that it was a real problem. And it is this dependence on this shifting approach that keeps rumors alive, causing irrefutable damage to Washington’s relations with Russia, which is becoming an increasingly important global player. Upon inviting Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to pay an official visit to the US this fall, Trump suddenly delayeds the meeting until next year.
Trump’s cabinet has already gotten used to the fact that he’s unable to make up his mind about anything. However, if Rex Tillerson, when he still was US Secretary of State, tried to hold Trump back from making ill-conceived remarks, his replacement with Mike Pompeo, shows the world that he couldn’t be any happier under any other president.
The inconsistency of Trump’s behavior has also affected his appearance, as well as non-verbal signs and gestures. Throughout his life Trump was a political shape-shifter who tried to please the public to the best of his abilities, whether as a showman, a businessman or a politician.
However, one can hardly agree with Trump’s opponents from the Democratic Party camp, who are describing Trump as a madman. After being a media personality for so long he’s more of a showman than anything else, and he has a clear strategy. At first he displays his readiness to attack his opponent vigorously, then he sounds a retreat, thus creating an atmosphere of panic and confusion which usually forces the opposing party into negotiation. The effectiveness of such tactics can be monitored by following the development of Washington’s relations with the EU and China. The sitting US president has clearly managed to create confusion within the European Union, which was confirmed during his last meeting with the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, as the latter announced Brussels’ readiness to make concessions in the trade war with the US.
No matter what kind of bellicose statements Trump makes, there is no need to fear the imminent outbreak of World War III. After all, nobody wants to witness the very last war in the history of mankind firsthand, no matter how much of a media personality they may be.
However, with the “very stable genius” in charge, who knows what’s going to happen next? Should Trump remain reliably unpredictable, he will not be given an opportunity to run for office a second time, no matter what kind of victories in the name of Washington he scores. And Trump must be the first one to actually get a grip on this fact.
Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”