That was not an Onion headline—just a reflection of what appears to have actually happened this week as Donald Trump took a sledgehammer to the central pillar of his campaign in both economic and foreign policy: isolationism. The one HUGE asterisk here is his devotion to scapegoating immigrants, especially Mexicans and Muslims, for every ill that exists in our country. That working thesis seems to remain strong as Trump’s administration rushes to staff up on border security and unleash the most virulently anti-immigrant policies in recent memory on a defenseless minority.
With that gigantic caveat, the New York Times brings us a taste of just how lightning quick a consummate connoisseur of ignorance can abandon the ideals he never had in the face of realities he never imagined.
The past week has made that abundantly clear. He discovered that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia may not be the “best friend” he imagined and that staying out of the civil war in Syria was harder than he assumed. He acknowledged that 10 minutes of listening to China’s president made him realize he did not fully understand the complexity of North Korea. He dropped his opposition to the Export-Import Bank after learning more about it. And he said he no longer thought NATO was “obsolete.” […]
He has not appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, ripped up or renegotiated the nuclear agreement with Iran, reversed Mr. Obama’s Cuba policy or terminated his predecessor’s program permitting younger unauthorized immigrants to stay.
That’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Turns out there won’t be “terrific” health care “for all,” we’re not bringing back torture (yet), NAFTA isn’t nearly as bad as Trump thought, and China’s not a currency manipulator.