No one should have a fuller experience with and understanding of the law of unintended consequences than Donald Trump.
Serious blunders are inevitable for a president who is impulsive, narcissistic, and willfully and profoundly ignorant (of culture, history, economics, science . . .). Serious blunders are inevitable for a president who considers his intuition more infallible than actual facts, who (like Stalin and Kim jong un) can’t stand criticism, who thinks he knows more than experts, and who seeming cannot see a distinction between what is true and what he wants to believe.
Sad! All those crippling defects mean not only that Donald Trump will blunder frequently, it also guarantees that he will be unable to see how those blunders cause problems.
The hottest example in this first week of his presidency is his selective immigrant exclusion executive order, imposed without any planning, and without any mechanism to make the exceptions that are needed by American businesses and universities.
Apparently his promises’ collateral damage among businesses is causing even the Koch Brothers’ network of billionaire political donors to consider shifting support to an anti-Trump business wing of the GOP. They don’t want a president bullying individual companies (central planning!) and reducing trade.
Excluding whole nationalities is not “extreme vetting,” since vetting requires a consideration of individual cases. Excluding whole nationalities is a refusal to do any vetting.
Most media, even media sympathetic to Trump, like the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Telegraph, are loaded with articles stating the obvious — obvious to us, but not to Donald Trump.
His action is dramatically increasing the ISIS argument that the United States is anti-Islam. How many young men will take up the ISIS cause because of Trump’s impulsive action and the hard to refute interpretation put on it by radicals?
His executive order will also make it politically harder or impossible for the president of Mexico to make any concessions in trade talks, given Mexican voters’ deepening anger and resentment. His order might in fact lead Mexico to end anti-drug cartel cooperation with the United States, or to stop turning back refugees from Central America who transit Mexico to enter the United States.
Iraqis and others who have helped the United States military by being translators and by providing intelligence are saying that they have been betrayed. And they have been betrayed.
Trump is making American military operations even more difficult, and he is further endangering the lives of the troops — they will have more enemies, fewer human intel reports, and maybe some new turncoats inside their bases— unnecessary vulnerabilities that one might expect to alienate quite a few of Trump’s voters.
His Buy American pledge might mean that the US Army cannot replace their handguns with the one they want, after years of expensive testing and modifications, because that new gun is from a German company. Arming American troops with an apparently inferior weapon might displease more than a few of Trump’s supporters.
Alas, the human capacity for self-delusion and reluctance to admit error — in us all, but tempered by reality in most people — suggests that some voters will never acknowledge to themselves what their votes have done, even as the news continually reports the grim and unintended consequences of a president who lacks even the outward modesty, professionalism, and pragmatism of traditional Latin American dictators.