Nine days in spring offered a case study in Mr. Trump’s approach to some of the most daunting issues confronting him and the nation: When the goal seems frustratingly out of reach through traditional means, threaten drastic action, set a deadline, demand concessions, cut a deal — real or imagined — avert the dire outcome and declare victory.
If nothing else, he forces attention on the issue at hand. Whether the approach yields sustainable results seem less certain. These are often dramas of his own making, with him naturally the hero. He stakes out maximalist positions and issues brutal ultimatums to compel action, arguing that extreme problems demand extreme tactics. At times, though, it can seem like little more than smoke and mirrors substituting for serious policymaking, a way of pretending to make progress without actually solving the underlying problem.
Critics see it another way: as unbecoming of a superpower and ultimately undermining America's standing if it is perceived as too quick to make threats, which then appear empty if they aren't followed through. Mr. Trump several times, for instance, has threatened to close the southern U.S. border to stem the flow of illegal migrants -- at one point saying, "I'm not playing games" -- but so far hasn't done so