"LONDON — The Germans are angry. The Chinese are downright furious. Leaders of NATO are nervous, while their counterparts at the European Union are alarmed.
Just days before he is sworn into office, President-elect Donald J. Trump has again focused his penchant for unpredictable disruption on the rest of the world. His remarks in a string of discursive and sometimes contradictory interviews have escalated tensions with China while also infuriating allies and institutions critical to America’s traditional leadership of the West.
No one knows where exactly he is headed — except that the one country he is not criticizing is Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin. For now. And that he is an enthusiastic cheerleader of Brexit and an unaffiliated Britain. For now.
Mr. Trump’s unpredictability is perhaps his most predictable characteristic. The world is accustomed to his provocative Twitter messages, but is less clear about whether his remarks represent meaningful new policy guidelines, personal judgments or passing whims. In the interviews, Mr. Trump described the European Union as ‘basically a vehicle for Germany’ and predicted that the bloc would probably see other countries follow Britain’s example and vote to leave.
Mr. Trump also said Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, had made a ‘catastrophic mistake’ in allowing refugees to pour into Europe."