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Fathoming Trump’s Logic

Binyamin Rose

One clue that points to the idea that there is a method to Trump's madness on China

Wednesday, February 06, 2019


(Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP)

n dealing with the various autocrats, kleptocrats, and ayatollahs who run rival nations, a little insanity can go a long way.
Both presidents Nixon and Reagan kept enemy nations off balance by promoting the theory that they were just volatile enough to press an itchy finger on the nuclear button. Much ink has been spilled on whether Trump is crazy like a fox, like Nixon and Reagan, or just plain crazy. Since this is the Rose Report and not Off the Couch, I will withhold judgment.
But one clue that points to the idea that there is a method to Trump’s madness on China came from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Presenting his agency’s annual threat assessment last Tuesday to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Coats placed China in the “Big Four” — a list that includes Russia, North Korea, and Iran — nations that all pose unique threats to the US and its partners.
Trump never hesitates to tweet his disagreements with the intelligence community when he has a gripe. When CIA director Gina Haspel opined that Iran just might be complying with the nuclear deal it signed during the Obama administration, Trump tweeted: “The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran.” Trump also tweeted in opposition to Coats when he expressed a more pessimistic take on the chances that successful negotiations with Afghanistan would enable him to keep his promise to pull US troops from that country. 
Trump had nothing to say about Coats on China, so at least on this occasion, what Trump didn’t say carries more weight than what he does say.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 747)

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