America’s Asian allies have been unnerved by President Donald Trump’s dismissive rhetoric about alliances based on cost/benefit grounds, and his decision to dump the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. That’s part of the reason Defense Secretary Jim Mattis traveled in Asia to calm nerves in Tokyo and Seoul. America’s European allies are also deeply unsettled by Trump’s bad-mouthing of NATO and inclination to view alliances as business transactions. Part of Mattis’s and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job description is to help a president who shoots from the lip and whose understanding of geopolitics is skin deep.
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