The Trump drama, which feels like it’s heading towards some kind of a break point, remains a serious distraction, but also a serious problem in terms of the United States operating its foreign policy effectively. How can any member of the Trump team, let alone Trump himself, have time in such circumstances to give due and considered thought to decisions and actions? The most immediate potential problem area in our world is South Korea, and a wrong move there by the US would have consequences far beyond the Trump term, however long that turns out to be. The pressure on the new president in Seoul from Beijing must be enormous.
The other point of interest this week is OBOR, that silliest of names and acronyms. With a serious OBOR meeting coming up, a significant Chinese official appeared to say that China doesn’t have enough money to do all it has promised in building infrastructure across the Eurasian landmass, and calling for help. How strange. It was, after all, their idea in the first place. Maybe it’s an outlier sign that the law of gravity actually does hold true in China. Another strange OBOR-related sign this week was an effort by another Chinese official to offset the widespread impression that the initiative is a Xi project. Now why would that be necessary? Completely overshadowed, of course, by the mesmerizing US political crisis, but it is instructive to try and figure out what’s going on here too, in between YouTube videos. There goes our weekend.