Unintended Consequences from an Unstable President
Author: Greg Valliere
January 8, 2020
“ALL IS WELL,” Donald Trump proclaimed last night, and the apparent lack of casualties offered hope that this crisis can be defused. But all is not well. Unintended consequences abound in this uneasy city:
Trump’s impulsiveness and lack of any clear strategy has shaken his allies and many Republicans on Capitol Hill.
This crisis highlights Trump’s very thin and inexperienced inner circle; he’s on his fourth national security director.
Is Trump an isolationist or an interventionist? He has flipped with dizzying speed, reacting to Fox TV criticism.
A consequence of this crisis will be the eventual ouster of the U.S. from Iraq.
Into the vacuum — Russia, and of course the government in Iran, which was teetering just a month ago.
An unintended consequence of last night’s minor damage: the focus will shift to cyberwarfare.
Isolated: Virtually all U.S. allies are opposed to the Soleimani killing; even Israel is maintaining a low profile.
Saudi Arabia doesn’t want to get involved; its isolation and weakness has been exposed again.
Trump has resurrected the antiwar movement in the U.S., led by the suddenly resurgent Bernie Sanders.
Still another huge spike in defense spending is coming; the overall deficit is headed sharply higher.
Can’t overlook a major positive: the U.S. is energy self-sufficient — an exporter unlike, notably, China.
THE MARKET IMPACT: The financial markets march to a different beat. The markets are about earnings, interest rates, the economy. The markets can live through this, assuming the hostilities wind down soon.
BUT EVEN IF THIS WINDS DOWN, many of the unintended consequences we listed above will prevail, and they’re mostly negative — especially on Capitol Hill, where an increasingly large percentage of Republicans say in private that Trump is more than just ignorant on policy; he’s increasingly unstable.
THAT MAY BE THE MOST DISTURBING unintended consequence of all — Trump’s temperament is a growing concern. Don’t believe us? Ask Jim Mattis, Rex Tillerson, H.R. McMaster, Reince Priebus, Gary Cohn — and, of course, John Bolton.
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