Foreign policy crises are inevitable, and no American president can prevent them from arising. But it is possible to provoke, mismanage, and even exacerbate them, making a fraught situation catastrophically worse. We are only here today in part because John F. Kennedy overruled the hotheads among his advisors—they were in the majority—during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the anxious heat of an inherently uncertain moment, sober judgment, command of the relevant information, and self-awareness regarding the consequences of one’s actions are crucial.
By all indications Donald Trump lacks these qualities—and as a result, the world is about to become a much more dangerous place. Five potential crises now loom especially large, pertaining to political instability in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East, the fragility of the international economy, and the consequences of the next major terrorist attack.