Don’t assume Trump is dumb. He knows exactly what he’s doing | Richard Wolffe

Whatever the Trump era represents, it surely marks the dawning of a golden age of irony. But beware of chuckling too much: the gag might be on us. Yes, Trump tweets like a buffoon. But we should not assume that all the missteps by the petulant president-in-waiting are down to ignorance: they arent. Too many of Trumps troubling tweets arent actually gaffes. He is intentionally blowing up global stability for the sake of an extremist agenda concocted by hawkish aides who stimulate Dick Cheney look like Kofi Annan. Thats why the strange lawsuit of the Taiwan telephone call is worth analyse because it is surely a sign of things to come.
At first, Team Trump dismissed the bellow with the Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen as an innocent congratulatory message. Mike Pence, the vice-president elect, indicated it was no big deal, telling ABC it was nothing more than taking a courtesy bellow.
These excuses seemed weak after foreign policy experts predicted the Taiwan call would lead to a major breach with US policy, which has been in place since 1979. Then, they fell apart after the New York Times reported that the call was the result of a long-planned and well-funded lobbying effort by the Taiwanese themselves. According to the New York Times, it was all orchestrated by its paid foreign agent, Bob Dole, the former Republican presidential nominee and Senate leader. Its carnival to say that we had some influence, Dole said. When you represent a client, and they stimulate petitions, youre supposed to respond. That influence included special attention at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, attended by a Taiwanese delegation, where the party platform was changed for the first time to include several commitments to Taiwans security. Another president-elect might consider such money-making from national security dangerous, disloyal or worse. But Taiwan newspapers have reported that the Trump Organization itself is interested in a possible hotel project close to Taiwans international airport. According to the report, a sales manager visited Taiwan as recently as October, although a spokesperson for the business said there were no plans for expansion into Taiwan. Perhaps the Taiwan phone call is as innocent as Trumps meeting with his Indian business partners just days before his business signed a new deal in Kolkata. Perhaps his telephone call with the Argentine president has nothing to do with the re-starting of a long-stalled Buenos Aires tower.
Trump could sweep aside such questions by divesting himself altogether from his ownership of the Trump Organization, and not just stepping away from its operations, as he has suggested he will do at a big league press conference next week.
Anything short of full divestment even a blind trust will be meaningless. Under the US constitutions prohibition against payments and benefits from foreign powers to the president, every piece of planning permission and investment would be grounds for impeachment.

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