BREAKING NEWS : Police searching for missing 89-year-old Wabash Countywoman Full Story

Trump's White House chaos leaves the world with room to breathe

As the extraordinary vanities and profanities of the drama of President Donald Trump's inner circle combusting ...

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 5:29 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 5:29 PM

As the extraordinary vanities and profanities of the drama of President Donald Trump's inner circle combusting continue to crackle, those of us around the rest of the world can take comfort in one thing: at least he is busy.

It's not a particularly popular view at a time of global discombobulation, but it is possible to see 2017 as having been "not as bad as it could have been."

The extraordinary unraveling of the White House's past and present staff members, resulting from the meteor strikes of Michael Wolff's book and Robert Mueller's investigation, has led to a kind of paralysis when it comes to foreign policy. The commander in chief has time to bark, but not necessarily to bite.

Yes, we had the naming of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Kim Jong Un as a "Little Rocket Man," and US-nemesis Vladimir Putin as "very smart." But this is a foreign policy conducted minute by minute, over Twitter.

In this field, at the least, it isn't coherent and rarely backed up with action. Even on Thursday, when @realdonaldtrump tweeted that North and South Korea wouldn't necessarily be talking if the US hadn't carried such a big stick of late, what we saw was the reputed product of more presidential bluster, not actual US armed action.

In fact, 2017 saw only two real moments of genuine foreign policy action that was Trump's and Trump's alone.

First, he bombed the Syrian regime in response to a horrific chemical attack at Khan Sheikhoun. But the 59 cruise missiles were swift, hit a relatively distant part of the regime's military infrastructure, and were accompanied by a background message that it was almost certainly a one-off. It was like the 90s again, when Bill Clinton would bomb Saddam Hussein overnight because he wanted to send a message, but not actually start a war.

Second, he announced a policy in Afghanistan. Wars there are nothing new, but this was an actual moment of departure from -- say -- the script of the previous administration. Trump kept the ISIS war going pretty much as it was when he was inaugurated. In Afghanistan, he announced his own retweak of the almost decades old variations on strategy. And, most importantly, he declared winning as his goal. Like everyone before him, he may not get there. But he does own a policy.

There are plenty of global crises where he could have been a lot more irrational or destabilizing. He hasn't upped US assistance to the Saudi Arabian side in the war in Yemen -- already claiming many civilian lives and causing an unprecedented famine.

He didn't act militarily in or around North Korea. He's stayed out of Libya, mostly. And been mostly rhetorical about Venezuela. It could have been so, so much worse.

Foreign policy and conflict does take a lot of planning and effort. Even wars that are bad ideas require plotting. Trump is often far too busy reacting to occasional slights to spend the time needed to devise and gain congressional support for proper sustained military action. He also has the firewall of experienced military generals around him: Mattis, McMaster and Kelly, who have all seen war and are hence not fans of it.

2018 has been described by some as a smorgasbord of potential geopolitical disasters, not seen for decades. That is true. Previous guaranteed norms are evaporating fast, often thanks to Trump's Twitter thumb.

But what we have learned from 2017 is that, no matter how troublingly foreign policy can seem to be used as a distraction by this administration to its domestic woes, they don't have the time or the bandwidth to be that focused or damaging.

Of course, that's no comfort in another Crimea or North Korean ICBM crisis. And it's no reason for broad comfort with the White House's foreign policy. But the distraction does limit what proactive moves they can make outside of America.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
Clark16988222
Madison16899378
Vigo15562272
Monroe14186190
LaPorte13961235
Delaware13613215
Howard13531258
Kosciusko11150134
Hancock10534159
Warrick10431174
Bartholomew10233166
Floyd10099202
Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
Boone8231109
Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
Dearborn734186
Noble7208100
Marshall7168127
Cass7060117
Lawrence6803150
Jackson638980
Shelby6386106
Gibson5999105
Harrison587984
Huntington586490
Montgomery5663101
DeKalb555691
Knox532999
Miami523183
Clinton522464
Putnam519067
Whitley509851
Steuben480267
Wabash470192
Jasper465760
Jefferson456091
Ripley439074
Adams435565
Daviess4008106
Scott389563
White383457
Decatur376895
Clay376455
Greene375589
Wells375183
Fayette363074
Posey351841
Jennings341756
Washington324046
LaGrange312074
Spencer310734
Fountain306553
Randolph302087
Sullivan294947
Owen275961
Orange269659
Starke268961
Fulton264451
Jay248134
Perry244950
Carroll239926
Franklin229337
Vermillion225850
Rush225530
Parke212020
Tipton205354
Pike200938
Blackford163834
Pulaski155250
Crawford140818
Benton138316
Newton138141
Brown130646
Martin124416
Switzerland122310
Warren112616
Union92211
Ohio75811
Unassigned0461

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1319265

Reported Deaths: 21265
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1480641537
Cuyahoga1311202313
Hamilton948871307
Montgomery647451122
Summit548531041
Lucas49502853
Butler45993649
Stark39954963
Lorain30438525
Warren29170326
Mahoning25988629
Clermont24726278
Lake24088411
Delaware21722140
Licking19822239
Fairfield19780218
Greene19671266
Medina19208285
Trumbull19195506
Clark17188321
Portage15585224
Richland15540228
Wood15187208
Allen13654254
Miami13283244
Muskingum11821148
Wayne11448234
Columbiana11100239
Tuscarawas10388264
Marion10273144
Pickaway10162128
Scioto9766124
Erie9479170
Ross8979172
Lawrence8225116
Hancock8105140
Ashtabula8083184
Geauga7976155
Belmont7791183
Jefferson7093168
Huron7087125
Union703549
Washington6823116
Athens666163
Sandusky6608132
Darke6394135
Knox6308120
Seneca6113135
Auglaize569888
Ashland5631110
Shelby555799
Mercer545188
Brown533067
Defiance5278100
Madison527368
Crawford5148113
Highland514876
Fulton508781
Clinton505379
Logan494582
Preble4788110
Putnam4733106
Guernsey439057
Williams437281
Champaign426463
Ottawa425783
Perry414051
Jackson402259
Pike367140
Morrow359149
Fayette353951
Coshocton345064
Hardin341868
Adams338864
Gallia329254
Holmes3148107
Henry312668
Van Wert299269
Hocking280467
Wyandot271858
Carroll250451
Paulding231742
Meigs197842
Monroe178649
Noble160340
Morgan153528
Harrison145740
Vinton130217
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 80°
Angola
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 79°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 79°
Decatur
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 80°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 80°
Friday is the beginning for a more summer-like forecast, with more heat and humidity returning to the region.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events