NEW YORK – In barely a month, US President Donald Trump has managed to spread chaos and uncertainty – and a degree of fear that would make any terrorist proud – at a dizzying pace. Not surprisingly, citizens and leaders in business, civil society, and government are struggling to respond appropriately and effectively.

Any view regarding the way forward is necessarily provisional, as Trump has not yet proposed detailed legislation, and Congress and the courts have not fully responded to his barrage of executive orders. But recognition of uncertainty is not a justification for denial.

On the contrary, it is now clear that what Trump says and tweets must be taken seriously. Following the election in November, there was near-universal hope that he would abandon the extremism that defined his campaign. Surely, it was thought, this master of unreality would adopt a different persona as he assumed the awesome responsibility of what is often called the most powerful position in the world.

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© Project Syndicate