Many people do not seem to understand the basic change in the world today as a result of Donald Trump taking over the executive reins of American diplomacy. Let me see if I can make this simple for them.
In physics, there are the Three Laws of Thermodynamics. Most people have heard of them, many do not know what they are. In fact, they provide a great analogy to understand international relations in the Era of Trump.
Let me state them formally and then explain the connection.
The Laws of Thermodynamics
- The first law is the Law of Conservation of Energy. It signifies that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can only undergo change from one form to another.
- The second law is that entropy always increases in an isolated system. Entropy is the quantity of a system’s (thermal) energy that is unavailable for conversion into (mechanical) work.
- The third law is that entropy approaches a constant value as the system’s temperature approaches absolute zero.
These laws are sometimes humorously summarized as: You can’t win (no “new” energy), you can’t break even (“useless” energy always increases) and you can’t get out of the game (entropy increases to a certain value because the system is closed).
So what does this have to do with Trump’s diplomacy in today’s world? The analogy is to consider diplomatic and military “cards” to play, as similar to thermodynamic energy. In brief form, equally like the humorous summary of the Three Laws of Thermodynamics, I introduce,
The Three Laws of Trumpodynamics
- The First Law of Trumpodynamics states that in any international negotiation or interaction there are no new cards to create, and (“you can’t win”) Trump holds all the cards.
- The Second Law of Trumpodynamics (“you can’t break even”) states that Trump knows how to play the cards that he has.
- The Third Law of Trumpodynamics (“you can’t get out of the game”) states that Trump is not afraid to play the cards that he has.
According to the Three Laws of Thermodynamics, entropy can decrease locally. For example, life is self-organized energy that temporarily decreases entropy. But entropy can never decrease overall or in the long run.
Likewise, according to the Three Laws of Trumpodynamics, diplomatic or military advantage over the U.S. is possible, but only locally and not in the long run.
It really is that simple. The Three Laws of Trumpodynamics tell you everything you need to know, to fully grasp the new political situation. In fact, the current Korean negotiations is just one example.