In an op-ed for the conservative outlet The Bulwark, Richard North Patterson argues that the world is being "held hostage to an unwell president" -- a reference to what he sees are President Trump's "deep personal pathologies."
In his piece, Patterson cites the Mayo Clinic's definition of "narcissistic personality disorder," which is described as “a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others," adding that "beneath this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism."
An all too familiar description considering who's sitting in the Oval Office, according to Patterson.
Furthermore, people with NPD “exaggerate achievements and talents”; are “preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance”; and “believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people.” They “belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior”; “expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations”; and “take advantage of others to get what they want" ... are "envious of others and believe others envy them”; “have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted”; “react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior”; “have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior”; and “become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment.” All this covers “secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation.”
You don't need to be a doctor to see how this applies to Trump, Patterson writes.
"Trump’s self-absorption is total; his inability to accurately perceive external reality is profound," writes Patterson. "Because this renders our president deeply antisocial and anti-historical, his worldview begins and ends with 'Trump.'"
This personality trait has directly affected Trump's ability to conduct foreign policy, Patterson says, due to the fact that it has rendered Trump unable to appreciate America's objective strengths, thus giving him a "dystopian" view of post-WWII global order.
"The world’s liberal democracies built a system in which America promoted global stability by advocating democracy, free trade, and international institutions which facilitated cooperation and ameliorated conflict. But Trump saw it as trap in which America was played for the sucker by its 'allies,' cheated by trading partners, menaced by Muslims, and invaded by foreigners spreading crime and taking jobs."
Read Patterson's full op-ed over at The Bulwark.