Again and again it almost went under the waves, barely righting itself and staying afloat by desperate baling by its motley crew. And through it all President Donald Trump racked up one incredibly important success: he did not start one new war, initiate one new military campaign, or attack one new country.
His record remained disappointing. He hiked the number of troops in Afghanistan and failed to force his staff to complete withdrawals from there, Syria, or Germany. He enthusiastically aided Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as they slaughtered Yemeni civilians in a vicious game of power politics. He courted war with Iran and early on almost came to blows with North Korea. He was an enthusiastic fan of economic war, starving Iranians, North Koreans, Syrians, Cubans, and Venezuelans – without achieving anything other than increasing the hardship afflicting already oppressed peoples. And he spent his final year pushing a new cold war with China.