It occurs to me that we now have three tests of Donald Trump’s barstool approach to public policy:
Immigration. Trump hasn’t done much on the policy side to reduce illegal immigration, but he has stepped up the pace of high-profile raids. He’s also blustered a lot and pissed off just about the entire nation of Mexico. Will this be effective in scaring Latin Americans away from crossing the border into El Norte?
Qatar. The US has been unhappy with Qatar’s support for terrorist groups for several years. Now Trump has decided to turn this into a highly public battle. Will Qatar respond positively to this?
NATO. Every American president has pressed our NATO allies to spend more on defense, with only sporadic success. Trump has decided to up the ante by implicitly threatening to leave NATO if they don’t. Will this finally get them to commit to higher defense budgets?
All of us overeducated types are sure that Trump’s approach will make things worse, not better. That’s certainly what I think. In a year or two, these three issues should give us a pretty good idea of whether we’re right.