Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa
e-ISSN: 1647-7251
Vol. 10, Nº. 1 (May-October 2019), pp. 152-155
Critical Review
Sá, Tiago Moreira de; Soller, Diana (2018). Donald Trump: O
Método no Caos. Alfragide: Publicações Dom Quixote, 227 pages
Patrícia Caetano
Licenciated in European Studies by Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa em 2017 with
merit. Master student in Political Science and International Relations, Regional Dynamics brench
at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal), 2nd
A tale as old as time: A jacksonian in the White House
The American election of 2016 was mined with various atypical events. The first and most
important was the victory of a candidate with outlandish promises and with a career
which has nothing to do with politics but with business. Rather different from his
opposition: the democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, whose politics was always the heart
of her career, Donald Trump from the Republicans, a business man and self-made man
had populist promises and difficult to make them happen for instance building a wall in
the Mexican border and make them pay for it.
It was with amazement that the US itself and the world received Trump victory in
November of 2016. How had a demagog reached the White House? How the US, the land
of freedom, let something like this happen? These were examples of the questions that
insufflated the streets, the media and the voters. Instant testimonies of insiders and in
just a few months hit the shelves. As the provocative FIRE AND FURY by Michael Wolff
or even A HIGHER LOYALTY by James Comey ex FBI director fired by the president
himself, Donald Trump. What was missing in the State of Art was understanding the
figure Donald Trump and his actions that many view as random and without foundation
and his political view, furthermore important than describe his marvelous ventures in
DC. It is, in this context, and filling the gap, that Donald Trump: O Método no Caos by
Tiago Moreira de Phd in History of the International Relations and specialist in US
policy and Diana Soller Phd in International Studies and Fullbright scholarship had
been written. This book joins the tendency of explaining Trump’s phenomena, while
trying to keep an impartial and without a prejudice vision about it based on America’s
own social movements. One of the first Portuguese’s books to be written about this theme
and one of the most important for the national and international State of Art.
JANUS.NET, e-journal of International Relations
e-ISSN: 1647-7251
Vol. 10, Nº. 1 (May-Octoberl 2019), pp. 152-155
Critical review
Patrícia Caetano
Trump’s arrival
In order to understand Trump’s rise, the book is divided in four chapters: The first one
tries to comprehend: Why Trump?, while being spatially and temporally contextualized.
The following chapters try to interpret it through an international relations vision while
confronting it with its own limitations and regional dynamics.
The authors start by asking three key questions that will lead the entire book. They are
the following:
How is Donald Trump who questions the national foundation history widely accepted
by the American electorate?
How was it possible to deviled Trump’s figure by the media and the electorate instead of
trying to understand why?
How is it possible to be astonished by calling his victory “unforeseeable”?
Following these questions, the authors will start by meeting the bias created by the media
and by the society, while discussing them. The main bookr’s thesis focuses on the
possibility of considering Trump as an expectable and methodical candidate. Only then it
is possible to determine that there were conjectural and structural conditions to his
If some claim that the US does not have a president as reference for the free world and
an essential nation for themes like multilateralism and international organizations
anymore, Donald Trump: O Método no Caos starts by determining when did the US have
started to be seen like that and how it was not always this way. Furthermore, it tries to
comprehend the jacksonian populism, which is theoretically supported by Donald Trump,
by emphasizing questions like the crisis’s context, which is always defined – identitarian,
social and economic combined with tales of a glorious past that never existed. Patent
exposure, as the authors refer to it, in the inaugural speech of presidency’s acceptation
as well as the dominance of Trump’s rhetoric, make America great again. Besides that,
in the first chapter, the authors highlight once again how the American society is founded
on a civic mythology as it is as well referred by other authors like Adam Smith in
National Identity however they focus this topic when it is combined with the jacksonian
principles (honor, equality, individualism, financial spirit, courage and perseverance,
nationalism and the inferiority complex). This fact allows us to foresee some of the
rhetoric of the actual president of the United States, by either the individualism or the
overlapping of the economical or financial side relatively to the humanitarian causes. This
way, the authors propose to comprehend Trump not only through the significant part of
the population whose follows the jacksonian principles but as well through the folk
For Moreira de and Soller the folk community is the core for Trump’s victory. This
community had the reasons to welcome the republican candidate with open arms were
the reasons: geographic isolation, poor purchasing power and social repression. Donald
Trump was the uppermost self-made man, a true American. Someone who the ideals
were stole by the Obama Administration, that started to use the state as an
interventionist figure and prioritized social issues and the minorities.
Donald Trump: O Método no Caos argues also that the crisis in the republican party was
propitious to a candidate like Trump. The “inexistence of a coherent narrative” post
JANUS.NET, e-journal of International Relations
e-ISSN: 1647-7251
Vol. 10, Nº. 1 (May-Octoberl 2019), pp. 152-155
Critical review
Patrícia Caetano
Ronald Reagan, the George W. Bush’s legacy and Obama’s victory left the Republican
Party shattered and without an aim, with the dilemma of condone with Trump and “bite
the bullet” or “report the president as a fake republican” these are the reasons that the
authors point out for Trump’s emerge inside his party and from the various candidates.
According to Moreira de and Soller these were the motives, so Trump was able to
have electoral success in 2016, i.e, the re-trend of folk, political crisis, economic and
Trump and the international dynamics
In the area of foreign policy and relations with the other countries, the authors choose
to split in two parts: On the one hand, the theory for Trump’s vision and on the other
hand, an analysis of Trump clashing with Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
They start emphasizing what media were preaching, the Trump Administration would be
unpredictable. With that, and as something essential to deconstruct Trump’s thinking,
the authors point out the motive of this perception. The instability of the staff of the
White House and the roll of dismissals of the Trump Administration plus the set of
President’s ideas, create the impression of a lack of ideologic aim. Which the authors
indorse to be not true.
Regarding the foreign policy Moreira de and Soller defend that Trump has been
stepping aside from Obama’s international strategy and has been trying to create
something new, underlining that the classic strategies were outdated, a jacksonian
foreign policy. This jacksonian realism with a “pessimist, protectionist” tendency and with
the flag of economic efficiency leads to a pragmatic vision of the relations the US-World.
That vision, according to the authors, made the world saw a radical change in the US
which abandon some of the principles by which they were a symbol (internationalism,
liberalism, democratic obligations in the world).
Furthermore, carve 4 points in which Trump as its Foreign Policy shaped: 1) It must bring
economic-social advantages to the US; 2) Make the US a Commercial Republic again; 3)
Face China and Russia; 4) Isolation from the Axis of Evil, Iran and North Korea.
After the analysis of the objectives of Trump Administration, as well as its jacksonian
policy, Moreira de and Soller defend that Trump is a revisionist president. For the
current president the US decay started as the US intervened in the in international order
in the 1940s. Make the “America First “a banner of his policy, essential to understanding
his persona and to style a policy for his Administration. To sum up, the US don’t resign
their position in the world, just transfer it from another political realm.
O Método no Caos is out-of-the-box, since it has a comprehensive reading and theory
base which provides to Trump and his Administration a framework. The historic
framework gives a possibility to draw a plan of what had leaded to the election of a
candidate which had populist and jacksonians traits but also offers a wide vision of how
the American society has received this phenomenon.
JANUS.NET, e-journal of International Relations
e-ISSN: 1647-7251
Vol. 10, Nº. 1 (May-Octoberl 2019), pp. 152-155
Critical review
Patrícia Caetano
Of what concerns its silences, one can highlight the lack of: Trump and NAFTA partners
relation, specifically the question of Mexico and Canada. And also, the regional dynamics
which he would change or try to in North America, particularly in the southern border
of the US with Mexico. Could also have been a mention to the relation US- Latin America
as a whole, since the Cuba’s issue is still on the table after the progress with Obama
Administration. And also, to the relation with South America as economic partner or even
the drug war on Colombia, in which the US have a vital role.
To sum up, an elemental book to understand one of the biggest events of the American
politics in the second decade of 21th Century, within bounds in theory and a pragmatic
vision of the world.
How to cite this critical review
Caetano, Patrícia (2019). Sá, Tiago Moreira de; Soller, Diana (2018). Donald Trump: O Método
no Caos. Alfragide: Publicações Dom Quixote, 227 pages. Critical review, JANUS.NET e-journal
of International Relations, Vol. 10, Nº. 1, May-October 2019. Consulted [online] on the date
of the last visit, https://doi.org/10.26619/1647-7251.10.01.1