Donald Trump has never claimed to be a foreign policy expert.[1] He does not like in-depth reading, and prefers one-page policy option papers with “lots of graphics and maps.”[2] He claims to have a “very good brain,” and promises to be a strong leader who puts “America first” and makes it “great again.”[3] Should we believe him? His goals may well be laudable. But if my work on expertise and naïveté in foreign policy decision-making is any indication, President Trump, and his advisors, like other American and non-American leaders and their subordinates, will unconsciously follow a fundamentally biased judgment strategy. They will make the most important decisions of our time, those regarding choices of war and peace, by instinctively employing a “cognitive miser” or cognitive processing cost-minimizer strategy.[4] Whenever system or state conditions are fluid enough for American decision-makers to disagree, to debate the merits of potential foreign policy actions, President Trump will prefer military instruments of policy to non-military instruments of policy, as long as his military experts propose and support such options. Otherwise, he will accept non-military initiatives, if they are offered and endorsed by his non-military specialists. Certainly, Trump appears to have a unique decision-making style, personality, and character; and perhaps each of his advisors does too. This is often the case with foreign policy actors.

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