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America first. The arrival of Donald Trump at the White House was accompanied by an error of interpretation. We said the isolationist American billionaire. Determined to give priority to the domestic problems of his country. With him, it was thought, the United States would no longer seek to play the police of the world. Europe, in particular, should be able to organize itself to ensure its defence.

It was, in fact, to confuse protectionism with isolationism. In Donald Trump's mind, it was precisely because America was his primary concern that he would defend its interests everywhere in the world at all times. Following this logic, he would therefore not refrain, once elected, from intervening here or there in the event of a threat. It is this reasoning that he applies today to North Korea and Venezuela. Two unacceptable regimes that threaten, in his eyes, the international balance. We cannot therefore be surprised at his verbal offensive.

Admittedly, Donald Trump is raising his voice in his own way. Thunderous. Some will say clumsy, counter-productive, likely to set fire to the powder. As a result, we retain more his lack of oratorical precautions, which frightens, than the real issues of the crisis. The latter are however extremely serious: to prevent the satrap of Pyongyang from acquiring nuclear weapons and to prevent Caracas from sinking into irreversible chaos.

Donald Trump's words hiss like bullets. However, the goal of the American president is much more to deter than to attack. He also repeated that he remained open to dialogue – on his terms, of course – with Kim Jong-un and Nicolas Maduro. His strategy is to show his strength so as not to have to use it. And, in Asia, to persuade China to assume its moderating role with North Korea.

The danger is not in Washington, but in Pyongyang. We have known that for a long time. Trump is only inheriting an explosive file that his predecessors have not been able to settle.

Source: ©  Le Figaro Premium – Editorial: “Trump’s logic”

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