We need to avoid underestimating Trump

America's President-elect Donald Trump at Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania on December 15, 2016. PHOTO | DON EMMERT | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The bottom line for anyone dealing with Trump is that he is the ultimate Machiavellian prince, operating almost exclusively on ruthless self-interest.

  • According to Machiavelli, “the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him”.

Much effort has been expended to explain Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the United States’ presidential election. But perhaps the simplest explanation is the most accurate: Trump’s opponents got played. People vastly underestimated the US president-elect. World powers, particularly in Asia, should not make the same mistake.

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