Suppose President Donald Trump’s foreign policy is random. I mean really random: Like random luck, designed only in so far as to fluctuate wildly between different, opposing strategic views. In this thought experiment, it’s not a bug but a feature that the U.S. is pulling away from a nuclear nonproliferation agreement with Iran even as it seeks to negotiate one with North Korea. Similarly, it’s an intentional accident that Trump might replace the realist National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster with the conservative idealist John Bolton. The point of this experiment is to ask what are the benefits and costs of a random luck foreign policy. It’s worth considering, because Trump himself has hinted that his oscillation might be intentional. As he put it recently, “there will always be change” and he wants “to also see different ideas.” The key feature of a nonprincipled, fast-alternating foreign policy is that no one knows exactly what you are going to do next. That makes it hard for yo...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.