Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tom Friedman Shows How Trump's Chaos Theory Leads To Chaos And Damage To US Interests

Tom Friedman observes what many well informed Americans have observed.  Trump has no coherent foreign or domestic policies that guide his decisions.  He is still running his campaign rather than governing.  Almost everything he does, or tweets, is directed to the prejudices of the populist base that elected him.   His actions and tweets excite his base but they have consequences which Trump and his base do not understand.  We have a blind president pandering to the prejudices of a poorly informed base. That is not the kind of leadership that we need in a rapidly changing world.  What's good for Trump's ego is short sighted and dangerous to our national interest.  For example, Trump's base was taught to deny that carbon emissions are responsible for climate change.  Trump's decision to exit from the Paris accord pleased his base and some large contributors to his campaign.  The climate changes that we see today in the US and elsewhere have consequences.  The powerful  hurricanes that hit us this year, and the wild fires in California, were no accidents.  Moreover,  China's leadership is not pandering to a poorly informed base.  It is making strategic investments in technologies that will improve its environment and stimulate its economy.  Trump's decision to bolster the coal industry, in order to win the votes of coal miners,  takes us in the wrong direction and it will not produce the jobs that he promised.  Market forces are working against the coal industry.  Most of our large utilities are moving to natural gas in response to falling prices.

According to Friedman, Trump offers chaos instead of an an integrated strategy in several areas. HIs decisions were not informed by the resources that he has available him because he only thinks about how his base will respond to his tweets.  He has decided to unravel so many long standing policies and institutions at once, with little guidance, that it will be hard to put the pieces back together again.  No president has ever decided to transform our trade policies, our healthcare system, and our energy polices simultaneously.  Friedman illustrates the problems in Trump's trade and foreign policy decisions.  He does not say much about the mess he has created in healthcare, which accounts for 17% of the US economy,  or about his plan to make major changes in tax policy at the same time.  This will not change as long as his base is more interested what he promises than in how he will deliver on his promises.

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