Wash­ing­ton chaos may lead to reck­less for­eign pol­icy

Global Times - - Editorial - By Su Tan

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has en­coun­tered his lat­est open chal­lenge from James Comey, for­mer di­rec­tor of the Fed­eral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion. Af­ter be­ing fired in May last year, Comey came back with his new book A Higher Loy­alty and called Trump “morally un­fit” for the pres­i­dency in his high-pro­file in­ter­views for the book.

But as many Amer­i­can me­dia out­lets com­mented, de­spite Comey’s un­prece­dented stature among the US elites stand­ing up against Trump, his crit­i­cism has added one more item to the list of do­mes­tic chaos con­fronting Trump. As vet­eran Demo­cratic strate­gist Stephanie Cut­ter told The New York Times, “He [Comey] just adds one more hole to a ship that’s al­ready sink­ing.”

What’s truly alarm­ing is in what way Trump will cope with a lengthy list that ranges from the Rus­si­a­gate in­ves­ti­ga­tion, a messy ad­min­is­tra­tion with va­can­cies and fre­quent dis­missals, to the scan­dals of his of­fi­cials. These in­ci­dents have damp­ened pub­lic faith in the pres­i­dent. Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est ABC News/Wash­ing­ton Post poll, Trump’s av­er­age ap­proval rat­ing of 38 per­cent af­ter 15 months in the pres­i­dency is the low­est on record since the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Harry Tru­man.

To di­vert pub­lic fo­cus from do­mes­tic af­fairs is prob­a­bly the main rea­son be­hind his or­der of air strikes on Syria to­gether with the UK and France, not the pur­ported pro­tec­tion of Syr­ian women and chil­dren from chem­i­cal weapons. Af­ter all, there are prece­dents for ral­ly­ing around the flag in US his­tory. Ac­cord­ing to Gallup, for­mer US pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush had his over­all job ap­proval rat­ing rise 13 points to 71 per­cent af­ter launch­ing the Iraq War in 2003. The job ap­proval rat­ing of his fa­ther, pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush, jumped 18 points to 82 per­cent af­ter he started the Per­sian Gulf War in 1991.

It is prob­a­bly for the same pur­pose that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has been reck­less and ag­gres­sive in push­ing China hard over trade dis­putes, threat­en­ing Bei­jing with bil­lions of dol­lars of tar­iffs. In the lat­est move, the US on Mon­day banned Amer­i­can com­pa­nies from sell­ing parts to China’s telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany ZTE for seven years, which will ex­ac­er­bate US tensions with China.

No one is con­fi­dent enough to guess what Trump will come up with next. Al­though the US pres­i­dent has re­stric­tions on wield­ing his power, he also has enough po­lit­i­cal re­sources to do any­thing he wants. It’s thereby likely that he will get very ex­treme and make un­ex­pected steps, es­pe­cially in in­ter­na­tional af­fairs, to se­cure his voter base. The world can never let down its guard.

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