Where is it? Guessing where the pea is in the classic shell game is just like predicting what Trump will do next. Photo: iStock

President Donald Trump’s unpredictability in foreign affairs has turned the US into a “geopolitical wildcard,” a new global risk report warned Friday.

Foreign policy impulsiveness has been a hallmark of the Trump administration since taking office last year, which in many respects has turned global politics into a guessing-game, UK-based risk and strategic consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft said in its latest Geopolitical Risk Outlook.

The volatile behavior was reflected in the bombing of the Shayrat Airbase in Syria, the firm said. The act caused alarm in Moscow and left the Kremlin unable to project how Washington will act.

Verisk Maplecroft said it was unlikely that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wait-and-see approach on Syria would last much longer, and that “Moscow can be expected to revert to type and test Trump’s resolve in the foreign policy arena before long.”

However, Trump has made less hodgepodge on the global arena than was initially expected, the report added.

For example, he has backtracked on China being a currency manipulator, while reforms of the Nafta free-trade agreement have been less radical than initially envisaged.

Disruption to global trade – a central concern before Trump took office – has not yet materialized.

The risk outlook also advised on indirect collateral damage of US policy in the Middle East and on emerging markets. Washington’s tighter monetary policy will hurt emerging nations relying on US dollars to fund trade and investment, while Trump’s America First energy policy is turning up the heat on Middle East oil producers.

“The unpredictability of Trump in the foreign policy arena and his flexible approach to US engagement has become a geopolitical wildcard”, the report said.

“Despite the restraint shown on international trade, Trump’s unpredictability in foreign affairs leaves allies and traditional adversaries guessing.”

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