After the latest Trump brouhaha , this time the on again and off again new arms race, the lesson is simple. We, the whole world, has to learn to completely ignore what he says, with two exceptions below.
The reason for the no-attention policy is that Trump is so all over the place, and the motives of he and his team so complex or irrational, or changing, that relying on anything will cause gross errors in strategy, with potentially disastrous consequences.
Most likely this is all intentional misdirection. The danger of misdirection, of course, is that when people figure out what you are doing, the risk is that you are giving away what you are trying to hide. Think of the D-Day deception. The more a magician does with one hand, the more you know you have to pay attention to the other hand.
We all have to focus on appointments (terrifying), formal proposals (not clear yet) and other actual actions. So, mere talk of an arms race, irrelevant. Appointment of a warmonger or weapons contract advocate, scary and happening already, but yet cause for action. Ordering a new weapons system, finally proof that the anxiety was right and now actionable.
If you really know the context of the words, including the bureaucratic situation, Trumps mood and context, and the interests in play, you may, repeat may, be able to make some inferences, but be really careful.
The only exception to this rule is that is words can be a guide to his mental state (relevant under the 25th Amendment) and to what can be best called his “psycho-strategy,” In other words how he intends to get inside the brains of those who would support or oppose him.
The other exception, of course, is that is his behavior opens every opportunity to de-legitimate his intellectual, moral and political authority.