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Today’s international security challenges—whether related to the Middle East, global terrorism, Russia, or North Korea—are far more troubling than the crises of recent decades. This is not because their scale and scope are dramatically different from previous ones. Rather, they pose a greater threat to global stability because the United States, along with partners such as the United Kingdom, are not providing the necessary leadership to manage and mitigate them.
While Whitehall may be distracted by Brexit, President Trump has proven to be a master primarily in the politics of distraction. His announcement on 6th December to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US Embassy to the city is a case in point, and seems to have been done primarily to appease his base, with little understanding or care about the political ramifications. Suffice it to say, so far, this president does not appear to have the ability, or the temperament, to tackle issues of global significance.
Despite the constant distractions of the Trump administration—the Twitter outbursts, the scurrilous stories, even the long march of the Mueller investigation into collusion with Russia—the real issue is not who might replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, if indeed he is to be fired. Nor should it be about the next in line on the Mueller chopping block. As long as he is President, rapid Trump turnovers and seemingly impulsive decisions will be the new normal.