The name for it is chaos

The Amherst News - - OPINION - Shirley Hallee Shirley Hallee’s col­umn ap­pears bi-weekly in the Amherst News.

Nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, the on­go­ing test­ing of nu­clear weapons by North Korea - as well as the ac­tions of a per­son in­tent on com­mit­ting mass mur­der in Las Ve­gas - have con­trib­uted to the feel­ing that we live in a very un­sta­ble world. How­ever, that sense of in­sta­bil­ity, or chaos, ap­pears to be a per­fect fit for Don­ald Trump.

In fact, news­cast­ers have used the word chaotic to de­scribe Trump’s pres­i­dency. It has got­ten to the point that a Re­pub­li­can se­na­tor states that there are three in­di­vid­u­als who must be cred­ited with keep­ing the sit­u­a­tion from to­tal chaos.

The three cabi­net mem­bers who are viewed as bring­ing some sense of or­der to Trump’s White House are Rex Tiller­son, Gen. James Mat­tis, and Gen. John Kelly. Un­for­tu­nately, Trump is mak­ing their dif­fi­cult jobs al­most im­pos­si­ble with his rants via twit­ter... Per­spec­tives and by his “off the cuff” re­marks when sit­ting in front of cam­eras.

In his role as U.S. De­fence Sec­re­tary, Gen­eral Mat­tis is urg­ing Trump to stay with the agree­ment Iran signed in 2015 which pre­vents that coun­try from de­vel­op­ing nu­clear weapons. Trump keeps hint­ing that he will can­cel the deal. If he does man­age to get past the Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee and make good with his threat, Iran will have nu­clear weapons in short or­der. Don­ald Trump does not like peo­ple who dis­agree with him but he prob­a­bly won’t fire Mat­tis. In­stead he might use his weapon of choice – Twit­ter – to hu­mil­i­ate Gen. Mat­tis.

John Kelly, a 40-year vet­eran of the Marine Corps, moved from his role as sec­re­tary of Home­land Se­cu­rity to chief of staff. Re­gard­less of what­ever agree­ments might have been made re­lated to Kelly’s hav­ing a cer­tain amount of con­trol within that ad­min­is­tra­tion... it would seem that Trump is not eas­ily con­trolled. That point was made crys­tal clear when Kelly clasped his hand to his fore­head as Trump re­ferred to North Korea and the “Lit­tle Rocket Man” dur­ing his ad­dress to the United Na­tions.

Prob­a­bly the tough­est job un­der Trump is cur­rently held by Rex Tiller­son. Nearly two weeks ago Tiller­son stated that the United States has “lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion” open to North Korea. Shortly af­ter Trump tweeted that Tiller­son was wast­ing his time in try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate with Lit­tle Rocket Man.

With that com­ment Trump to­tally sub­verted Tiller­son’s ef­forts to deesca­late a very tense and dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion. The name-call­ing – di­rected at the North Korean leader by Trump is a school-yard bully’s tac­tic – and has no place in the adult world, let alone com­ing from a pres­i­dent.

The job of the leader of a coun­try is to pro­tect the lives and wel­fare of the ci­ti­zens of that coun­try – and to re­as­sure those ci­ti­zens that he has their back. In­stead, Don­ald Trump plays mind games. He spoke of “the calm be­fore the storm” as he ad­dressed se­nior mil­i­tary staff, and when asked to clar­ify that state­ment he sim­ply said, “You’ll see.” This is an­other school-yard bully tac­tic. The bully has a se­cret he will keep to him­self...a con­trol tac­tic. Un­for­tu­nately, a leader like Kim Jong-un might view those words as a threat.

If any­one won­ders just how much Trump cares about his ci­ti­zens we only have to take a look at his treat­ment of Puerto Rico af­ter Hur­ri­cane Maria. That ter­ri­tory is home to nearly four mil­lion ci­ti­zens who were vir­tu­ally ig­nored by Trump for days while he did bat­tle with NFL play­ers who knelt, rather than stood for their na­tional an­them. Then he made the com­ment that the ci­ti­zens of Puerto Rico who were with­out shel­ter, food, medicine, elec­tric­ity and deal­ing with life-threat­en­ing is­sues wanted “ev­ery­thing done for them.” Lack of em­pa­thy can in­di­cate Nar­cis­sism. Hmmm...just won­der­ing?

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