On Thursday’s episode of Meet the Press Daily, NBC’s Chuck Todd made an interesting observation that will immediately ruffle feathers on both the right and the left.
Todd was reacting to President Trump’s comments during on Iran and North Korea during yesterday’s joint press conference with the Italian Prime Minister when he seemed to recognize that the President might be playing the political game in a far more complex manner than the press has ever seen before.
He did not indicate the U.S. would pull out of the [Iran nuclear] deal. Ultimately, not a whole lot of clarity on what comes next on either front. The president’s comments are playing out against a global drama that is all at once unsettling, confusing and at times ridiculous.
As you’d expect, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is slamming Iran as a rogue and unreliable ally, but he also affirmed their compliance with the nuclear deal yesterday which the administration is panning, but tellingly hasn’t touched. Rather predictably, and you might say ridiculously, North Korea is threatening a “super mighty preemptive strike against the U.S.,” according to a Reuters translation. You have to wonder did the South Park boys write that response from the North Korean leader.
And at the center of the drama is, of course, Mr. Trump. His foreign policy has been all over the map. At times he sounded like Dick Cheney while acting like Hillary Clinton. He makes uber-hawk Lindsey Graham the happiest dude in America while seemingly copying Obama’s foreign policy playbook. He calls himself a total nationalist in the mold of a Steve Bannon but he hasn’t pulled out of any major global deals in the mold of a Goldman Sachs alum, say, like Gary Cohn. And he changes his mind with dizzying frequency, often moving towards the same foreign policy establishment that he excoriated on the campaign trail. We’ve seen it on NATO, Syria, Russia and China.