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November, 2016

  1. The most dangerous thing about Trump is that he doesn’t play chess

    November 16, 2016 by max

    A good chessplayer thinks 4 or 5 moves ahead. An expert chess player thinks 10 moves ahead. In that regard chess is just like geopolitics. Good international politicians have the ability to think through a lot of moves and countermoves based on experience, depth and breadth of knowledge and psychology. They think in many dimensions. If you want to be good at the game of geopolitics you absolutely need to be a good chessplayer.

    Donald Trump seems to be a rather direct and one dimensional president elect. He doesn’t seem to be good at the game of chess and geopolitics. This is the biggest danger of a Trump presidency.

    Here is an example of how things might go wrong.

    Trump has publicly declared that the US should not automatically support NATO countries that are not paying their fair share to the defense alliance. This draws NATO’s article 5 which states that an attack on one NATO country will be seen as an attack on all countries into doubt. When this cornerstone of NATO’s defense alliance is in the slightest bit of doubt an obvious move by an adversary will be to test it. Russias Putin may choose to do so by invading one of the baltic countries, Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia under the guise of protecting the Russian minority. It’s an obvious move to make. If it doesn’t work he can pull back, if it does he will know that the alliance is faltering or at least that article 5 is in doubt. He may then choose to invade another Baltic country. If there is still no reaction he may end up invading a larger country. Maybe Poland. At which point the situation is very close to being out of control, and on track to starting a third world war.

    Trump made a mistake by publicly announcing his policy of letting other NATO countries pay their share. Had it been in the casino business or the real estate business that Trump are familiar with this wouldn’t have been a problem, and would probably be a good tactic to get others to pay up. But in the multidimensional chess-playing world of geopolitics it may well be a grave mistake because he didn’t think 5 steps ahead.

    The above is just one possible scenario. There are many others. There are a lot of unresolved tensions around the world that need good diplomacy and good chess playing abilities by both sides not to blow up. The situation in the South China Sea between Japan and China, the Ukraine/Crimea conflict, the baltic countries, the ongoing middle east spectacle, the Syrian civil war. The possibilities of a misstep are many.

    The job of the president of the United States contains so many possibilities for apparently small missteps that can turn into major geopolitical events that one of them will probably come true.

    The real danger of a Trump presidency is that he inadvertently shoots Archbishop Ferdinand and starts a world war because he tweets before he thinks.