In his most recent Washington Post column George Will echoes something I’ve been saying about Donald Trump since before he was elected:
How can the president square his convictions with Bolton’s? Let’s say this one more time: Trump. Has. No. Convictions.
Even this scatterbrain’s Swiss cheese-style tariffs are too sloppy to reflect forethought. He has sentiments, and visceral reactions to which he is attentive. But to speak of, say, a sincere sofa is to commit what philosophers call a “category mistake” — sofas are incapable of sincerity — and to speak of this president’s convictions (or plans, or policies) about this or that is a category mistake.
Something that Mr. Will doesn’t seem to understand or appreciate is that Trump is completely transactional in his approach to things. There is no long term plan. In any given situation or negotiation he just selects the path that he considers the “better deal”. What is the decision function that determines which is the better deal? Beats me. But that’s clearly what he’s doing.
I agree with Mr. Will about the danger that John Bolton poses. That he’s “intelligent, educated, principled, articulate and experienced” is dangerous because virtually his every principle is wrong and his experience has driven him to conclusions that are almost entirely false.