Trump In Crisis

To President-elect Donald Trump, a crisis is someone on Saturday Night Live making fun of him. What will his leadership look like when a true crisis arises, either through war or climate change? The picture does not look pretty. Trump needs to change his reactionary stance. He has to learn how to react to things before they get bad. In short, he has to learn about prevention, which comes from the ability to predict and model. This is something his administration has indicated it is against. They are in favor of blind slavery to the moment--which is evident in Trump's mosquito-like attention span.

His current cabinet selections show that he is only interested now in securing profits for himself, his close associates and select American and Russian corporations. (Yes, his disastrous pick for secretary of state, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, is on the board of a joint US-Russia oil company based in the Bahamas.)

There are certain flash points that demand Trump's attention span. One of these is an issue he has dismissed, Russian hacking of the US election. Russian expansion and meddling must be confronted. North Korea too poses a challenge, and Trump's instigation of aggression with China shows that he will have fewer tools to deal with such a potential crisis.

But the biggest cause for concern is an issue that Trump, while he flirted with it, has shown little patience for. Climate change will most likely disrupt life on planet Earth in dramatic ways--not in decades, but months. We have known the West Antarctic ice sheet has been melting. Now we are learning that ocean warming is threatening vast tracts of East Antarctica, potentially causing 11-foot sea level rise.

Trump is a New Yorker. Do you think he's ever imagined Trump Tower head deep in water? Certainly the Koch brothers, of a more landlocked origin but who have homes in New York, don't imagine such a calamitous scenario. They're filling up the Trump administration. Their short-sightedness is due to their distaste for science, despite the fact they sponsor NOVA on PBS. Trump is a fact-denier. He needs to open up to science, which doesn't necessarily mean he has to become a scientist. But it means he has to be open to scientific information, which can come in many formats. He could read about it, listen to real scientists who would be happy to talk with him, or listen to information on quality radio or TV.

What motivates extreme free marketers, of the type Trump is now associating with, is an affinity for Ayn Rand. I've read The Fountainhead. It was OK, but nothing to base a way of life on. Rand acolytes, called objectivists, view businessmen (usually men) as the saviors of humanity. When they go on strike, the world stops, according to legend. Unfortunately for these folks, in the real world certain very profitable and profligate business people are ignoring objective facts about the very real disastrous outcomes of crises. It is the height of irony and tragedy that these closed-system "objectivists" will miss the most telling signs of what is about to happen. They have chosen the path of blind induction. Crises are always lurking in more than what can be observed. The model of Trump's ability to handle crises, from what we can predict based on his tendencies, is not promising.