Coming up on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president, a number of weighty international issues loom on the near horizon. Asia is on edge over signs the United States might initiate a nuclear war with North Korea and a trade war with China. The Middle East risks going completely off the rails after Trump’s reversal of decades-long U.S. policy on the Israel-Palestine conflict and his threatened reversal of the nuclear deal with Iran. Alarms are sounding in Europe over a paradigmatic shift in relations with Washington that poses an existential threat to the idea of a coherent Western bloc in international affairs.
Meanwhile, in Washington, the debate dominating the news cycle over the past few days is over whether Trump used “-hole” or “-house” as the suffix of a vulgarity with which he described various African countries in a meeting with congressional leaders last week over immigration reform.
There is perhaps no better illustration of how the Trump era manages to combine the shockingly dramatic and the comically absurd, simultaneously and almost constantly.