Some framed it as another empty threat from a leader whose bark is consistently worse than his bite. Some saw a method to the perceived madness — a potentially shrewd act of brinkmanship.

And others considered it simply the latest act of an America that, long before President Donald Trump, has often oscillated from isolation to intervention, and back.

Trump's order to attack Iran on Thursday (Friday NZ time) in retaliation for its downing of a spy drone, and his abrupt reversal minutes before US forces carried it out, have intensified global doubts about the president's judgment and the power

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