Don't be surprised by Trump's crackdown. Be shocked.
While Trump didn’t take the time to properly inform agency personnel how the new rule was supposed to work, to brief the press, to consult with relevant groups, or to have a Senate-confirmed Secretary of State in place, he did manage to make sure that his visa ban doesn’t include any of the Middle Eastern countries in which he has business interests.
It’s not surprising per se to see Trump apparently taking his personal financial interests into consideration when making public policy. Nor is it particularly surprising to see that, in doing so, Trump is clearly signaling that he knows perfectly well the national security rationale for his actions is bogus. I’m not surprised that Trump did this before he had the chance to consult with American allies in Europe or with military officers serving on the ground in Iraq and Syria.
He signaled during the campaign that he’s sloppy and ignorant just as clearly as he signaled a desire to clamp down on refugees.
Hope, however, springs eternal. Some combination of Mattis and John McCain seems to have convinced Trump to (temporarily) foreswear his intention to bring back routinized torture. Life, blessedly, is full of surprises. But most of the time Trump will probably live down to the low expectations people who value policy expertise and cosmopolitan humanism have of him. It’s not surprising. But is should never stop being shocking.
by Matthew Yglesias