Michael Gerson puts Donald Trump's attack on Syria in context. It's not just that Trump is uninformed, he writes. It's that he's unformed:
Like on health care, he seems to be encountering these issues for the very first time. It is unlikely that he played through the scenarios of humanitarian intervention and regime change during campaign policy briefings with national security experts. Trump’s Stephen Bannon-ridden inaugural address claimed that the world’s troubles are not the United States’ problem. But then there are the “babies” killed by an apparent nerve agent.
What drove Trump's quest for the presidency wasn't ideas. His ideas are totally inconsistent. What drove his quest was his need for applause:
Inconsistency is the most consistent theme of Trump’s young presidency. During the campaign, he opposed entitlement reform, yet his health-care bill contained the most fundamental entitlement reform — moving federal Medicaid spending from an open-ended match for state spending to a capped amount per person — that Congress has recently considered. He campaigned as a tribune for the working class, yet his economic approach seems heavily tilted toward the interests of the wealthy.
His inconsistency illustrates:
a complete unfamiliarity with the issues and debates at the heart of American politics. He never encountered these matters during previous government service (which he did none of). He was not forced to explain his views during primary or general election debates (a few lines from the stump speech more than sufficed). Trump was not hiding an inner sophistication. His ignorance was presented as part of an anti-establishment package — as contempt for the quibbles of smaller men.
What will he do next? Who knows? But when the uninformed and unformed meet, the result is usually chaos.
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