So the “global anxiety” is having the intended effect. Allies are rushing for face time with Trump because they know it’s a new day, and they’re going to have to deal with him. When a new player arrives on the scene and he doesn’t follow the established rules, traditions or norms – and doesn’t appear to feel bound by the boundaries that limited the maneuvers of his predecessors – what do you do? You could denounce him. You could vow never to work with him. But he’s got a bigger gun than you do, and you need his help.
Trump has turned upside down just about every international relationship the U.S. has. He’s restored the comity in our friendships with Britain and Israel, but he’s upset the apple cart a little in dealing with Germany and Australia. And he’s got just about everyone having conniption fits over his apparent embrace of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Career diplomats are appalled because their job description usually involves preserving the stability of the established global order. If stability is disrupted, a diplomat thinks that’s a crisis.
But there’s a concept in business called order from chaos. It holds that what appears to be order might actually be little more than a set of norms with which you’ve become comfortable. It’s not really producing anything positive, but it feels comfortable to you so you continue to operate according to it. An outside party can come into an organization and observe that the established order is not producing the desired results, but it can be difficult for those who have operated within the established order for awhile to see that.