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Trump Unpredicable? - Hardly

Trump’s triumphal demolishing of the non-Russian occupied part of a Syrian airbase is but a forerunner of what we can expect either in the short or longer term elsewhere. He is clearly excited at now having experienced what it means to be able to simply say “yes,” and have  a fusillade of missiles pinpoint a target. He is unlikely to be put off, or even slowed by nay-sayers, and those who would even suggest caution.

Those who read last week’s article in the Listener about Yale psychologist Professor Paul Bloom’s explanation of “morally corrosive emotional empathy” will not be surprised at the drawing of the logical connection with Trump’s action by Paul Thomas in this week’s issue.  

For Trump to base his missile attack in sentimental and wholly hypocritical terms – “even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered “ (by Assad) is said to have originated in the breast a horrified Ivanka. It is immaterial really - what we have regardless of the First Family horror, is an ego-driven nutter at the helm who is quite capable of far more horrific reactions based on perceived slights, and provocations.

It is textbook Bloom territory, and I suspect it was well described long before the Trump horror hove over the horizon. And what exactly is it about chemical weapons that distinguishes them from all the other weapons of war – bombing buses of refugees for instance, which makes them the object of what is clearly faux horror on Trump’s part?

In Bloom’s words:

“Empathy leaves us insensitive to the long-term consequences of our acts, and blinds us to the suffering who do not or cannot empathise with. It pushes us in the direction of parochialism and racism, is short-sighted, and leads to motivating actions that lead to tragic results in the future.”

That pretty well sums up what we are seeing evolve, probably rather faster than any of us would ever have anticipated at the time of Trump’s election.

And yet there are those amongst us who quietly applaud Trump for his “decisive action," and who argue that it is Trump’s very unpredictability that is our greatest bulwark against the steady progression of Kim Jong-un towards apparent self-destruction. Likewise, the necessary incentive to get China to turn off the taps that keep the Kim regime alive.  

It appears to me that this is gross over-simplification, and that contrary to this scenario, Trump is totally predictable – just read Bloom if you have not done so already for the simple explanation of just how this man became elected, and how his uneducated, and unsophisticated mind works. As for judging his current stand on any issue against that which he espoused during his campaign one could be excused for suggesting that the opposite was the case in every situation, whether it be Middle Eastern involvement, or tax changes. That much is certainly predicatble.  

Does anyone really believe that his enemies have not worked him out by now? That would be extremely naïve, and mind-numbingly dangerous.


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