Debates about which course of action to take in the pursuit of national objectives are not new to the Whitehouse. There was (likely brief) debate about the appropriate response after Pearl  Harbor was attacked and there was debate about the US response to Iran shooting down a US drone this week.

The media and some citizens are expressing concern about the disagreements between the President and his advisors, saying no-one knows who or what to believe about US policy and objectives.

The reason for the concern is not the existence of these debates. Important decisions need to be debated and all options have to be considered before choosing which one best meets US objectives. The difference is that this administration, this president, has chosen to conduct these debates as public spectacle rather than the closed door fashion of the past.

Past practice allowed previous administrations to consider all options, choose one and announce it with an appearance of cabinet solidarity that left no doubt about US policy and objectives. The press and the public could and did disagree with US policy but everyone could at least agree on what it was.

Trump’s twitter addiction and his administration’s lack of message control creates this mess where people around the world can cherry pick US "intentions" and use them for their own purposes.

Trump likes to think and has often said that being unpredictable gives him an advantage. That may be a smart strategy when negotiating real estate deals (I doubt it) but it can be disastrous for international relations. Real Estate deals are transactional, no one expects to develop or benefit from a relationship between the buyer and seller. International relations are built upon and function according to the knowledge and history that exists between each state. Nations are not people, unpredictability between them leads to misjudgments and poor choices amongst the options available. Wars start and millions of people die. It is not a forum for seeking momentary “advantage” by acting without a clear objective.