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President-elect Donald Trump at a rally in West Allis, Wis., Dec. 13, 2016 (AP photo by Morry Gash).

Don’t Mock Trump. Rebut Him

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016

Is Donald Trump crazy, or is he crazy like a fox? Is he singularly ill-suited for the presidency, or a deftly intuitive negotiator adept at throwing his adversaries off-balance? Is he genuinely clueless about the intricacies of U.S. foreign policy and the international order in which it operates, with no curiosity to learn about them? Or is he cleverly manipulating the widespread perception of his ignorance to his advantage?

As with most things having to do with the U.S. president-elect’s foreign policy, these questions remain unanswerable. But in trying to answer them, we are left not only with uncertainty, but with the language and tone we use to do so. And as I argued on a recent appearance on France 24’s The World This Week program, the condescending and mocking tone many foreign affairs commentators have used to describe Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements to date is counterproductive to any effort to rein them in. ...

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