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U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference in a packed White House press briefing room on November 14, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
December 6, 2016 | In the four weeks since the election, which seem like four centuries, Donald Trump has dominated the news and done real strategic and economic damage with his stream of intemperate tweets. For a reckoning of the chaos that his tweets about Taiwan and China have already induced, please see these Atlantic items: by Uri Friedman with Shen Dengli, by David Graham, by Chris Bodenner, and by Isaac Stone Fish, with links to many other analyses. The harm he petulantly inflicted today on Boeing, a company that is perennially the United States’s leading exporter and one of its most important high-tech manufacturing employers and standard-setters, is only the latest and most flagrant illustration.
This is not responsible behavior. This is not normal. This is not something the United States, or for that matter the world, can really withstand from a commander in chief. But this ungoverned, thin-skinned impetuosity is something the “responsible” GOP has decided, to its enduring shame, that it dare not criticize.
James Fallows is a national correspondent for the Atlantic> and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne.
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