Class Warfare Blog

August 6, 2017

Why Is Donald Trump Still So Horribly Witless About the World?

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 12:01 pm
Tags: , ,

The New Yorker magazine currently is running an article with the above title.

Here are a few representative quotes within that article that show the tenor of the article:

“Trump has an appalling ignorance of the current world, of history, of previous American engagement, of what former Presidents thought and did,” Geoffrey Kemp, who worked at the Pentagon during the Ford Administration and at the National Security Council during the Reagan Administration, reflected. “He has an almost studious rejection of the type of in-depth knowledge that virtually all of his predecessors eventually gained or had views on.”

“He’s impatient, decision-oriented, and prone to action. It’s all about the present tense. When he asks, ‘What the hell’s going on in Iraq?’ people around him have learned not to say, ‘Well, in 632 . . . ’ ” (That was the year when the Prophet Muhammad died, prompting the beginning of the Sunni-Shiite split.*)

“’The sheer scale of his lack of knowledge is what has astounded me—and I had low expectations to begin with,’” David Gordon, the director of the State Department’s policy-planning staff under Condoleezza Rice, during the Bush Administration….

The authors seem puzzled by the fact that Mr. Trump hasn’t gotten, well, better. (If one were to ask Mr. Trump that I wonder whether he would say he had gotten better as that would imply he had been worse at some point.)

This is not puzzling to me. If you or I were faced with an important foreign policy issue in such a position (gulp!) we would want to learn as much about the problem as we could because any solution we might create, or choose from those proffered, is bound to fail and possibly make things work if it doesn’t address the real problem, rather than the fictious one we have made up in its stead.

This is why most presidents got better and better at digesting the information they were given as their tenure proceeded.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, does not think that way. His world is really quite small (as is his intellect, moral core, etc.). My guess is that he has very capable people on retainer and they are ordered to solve problems in the manner depicted above and if they do not, they are fired and another is given the chance. I have never heard Mr. Trump’s creativity lauded or his problem solving skills, etc. I suggest they are nonexistant.

When Mr. Trump is presented with a problem, the focus is on himself. How can this be turned to my advantage? How can this make me look good? His thoughts do not run toward solutions and information that may provide them, that is for minions to do. Mr. Trump is always taking the “big picture” and the largest element in that picture is “Mr. Trump.” To expect otherwise is inverted magical thinking.


  1. Well said. It rings so true. What scares me is tRump seems clueless as to the damage his actions can do to other nations. Take his dealings with North Korea. In all his talk and tweets he seems to not even consider the damage and threat to South Korea and Japan should he take military action against North Korea. He seems totally unaware that others face danger. Hugs


    Comment by Scottie — August 6, 2017 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

    • Of course, that would involve understanding the problem … and he is not interested in that. Compounding the problem is the fact that he has advisors who do, but he won’t or can’t hear them out, so he just has to choose from the options based upon … what?

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 7, 2017 @ 6:44 am | Reply

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