Westminster View

Donald Trump certainly continues to be controversial. Everyone from the left and even the centre right of just about every country in the world are, at times, unhappy with the man.

Everything from US newspapers not liking his attacks on them to criticising his own intelligence agencies, plus the continuing outrage over his comments and policies to curb illegal immigration, are just a few of the latest skirmishes for this most combative of presidents.

He is a figure of hate and lampooning in equal measure but I think this is giving some people the misapprehension President Trump is dumb. Only a glance at social media will reinforce it, but I have to say I’m of the view he’s most certainly not.

True, he absolutely shoots from the hip and says some pretty outrageous things at times but he’s not the only politician to do so – they’re all over the world right now, probably copying the man himself.

I say I don’t think he’s dumb because most of the issues he’s criticising like the China trade imbalance, Iran’s nuclear capability, the EU, the vast majority of NATO countries not funding their military sufficiently, or World Trade Organisation rules aren’t unreasonable targets.

Certainly, what he says sometimes knocks friends as well as foes off balance but I cannot believe that it’s not deliberate.

And I have to say these ‘disruptor techniques’ can be effective. Take North Korea, for example. The previous President, Barack Obama, made little progress with the country at all. The jury’s out on what Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un will mean but it’s could be something more than was achieved over the previous eight years.

This article is not an endorsement of the President because all the techniques, the deals, comments and policies make it incredibly hard for the rest of the world to work out what he wants whether it’s deliberate or not. 

This is clearly a big problem and it has allowed certain leaders, like President Putin, air time and credibility at a time when tensions are very strained between Britain and Russia, for example.

This might be a new era of how powerful leaders operate because Trump is and will continue to be emulated and I understand many people are unhappy with that thought. But he’s changed the political landscape and that’s certainly not the actions of someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. Also, disagreeing with the man, which I find myself doing quite often, doesn’t make him dumb either and we all have to be careful to listen and evaluate what he says, not simply dismiss it. Don’t underestimate him has to be the mantra.