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Krull: Never Too Late to Learn, Mr. President

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Donald Trump

There’s a word Donald Trump needs to learn.


At present, there’s little evidence that the president of the United States understands that actions — his actions — have results.

Nor does he seem to grasp that human beings of mature and moral sensibility must take responsibility for those results – for the consequences of the things they have done.

In just a few days, Trump has thrown the world into a state of turmoil.

His hurried and thoughtless decision to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem has led to bloodshed. Israeli troops have fired, again and again, on Palestinian protestors, leaving bodies stacked in the streets and the sand in somber tribute to the U.S. president’s determination to make a “statement.”

Trump implied his predecessors in the White House, both Republican and Democrat, hadn’t moved the embassy because they lacked his courage.

Another possible — and more likely — explanation is that they reasoned that what amounted to a symbolic gesture wasn’t worth the loss of human life.

They weren’t reckless.

They thought about the consequences of their actions.

Similarly, this president pulled the United States out of the deal to denuclearize Iran. His half-baked rationale for doing so was that it wasn’t a perfect deal because it didn’t completely humiliate and humble Iran.

But perfect deals don’t exist in a flawed world — particularly between self-governing republics and tyrannical theocracies.

That’s why more realistic and responsible leaders around the globe worked on structuring an arrangement with Iran that focused on drawing that tortured country back into the family of nations. The hope was that, over time, the deal not only would result in Iran disarming, but that increased intercourse between other nations and that country would work to weaken the Iranian autocracy.

The European democracies still want to see that happen, which is why they’re not abandoning the Iranian deal — but they are abandoning any notion that the United States, under this president, will exert any constructive leadership in the world.

Thus, in pulling out of the deal, President Trump not only has increased tensions in an already testy part of the world, but he’s also damaged our relationships with longstanding allies.

In addition to standing with us during times of trouble, many of those allies also are important trading partners.

We’ve now given them reason to doubt whether we Americans keep our word.

Another consequence of a heedless act.

Nor was it the only one.

For weeks, President Trump has been touting his upcoming “summit” meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He saw it as a vindication of his “ready-fire-aim” approach to diplomacy.

The North Korean government, though, watched how the Trump administration handled its relationship with Iran and our European allies.

Now, Kim apparently doubts that the United States will honor any commitment it makes. And he understands that the only “deal” Trump will want is one that involves an abject surrender from North Korea.

For that reason, he doesn’t see much point in talking with Trump about denuclearizing or diminishing tensions in any other way on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere.

All these events were predictable and are connected. They’re driven by a U.S. president who thinks looking before he leaps is a sign of weakness.

A president who never thinks about consequences.

Not long ago, Donald Trump’s amen corner – which included the three Republican candidates for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat – wanted to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

If they really wanted to do something to help the cause, Trump’s supporters could get the president something much more useful.

A lesson, a dictionary or thesaurus — anything that might school him to the fact that what he does matters.

That his actions have consequences.

It’s a lesson we can hope he’ll learn before any more people are killed.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, host of “No Limits” WFYI 90.1 Indianapolis and publisher of, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.