Advice for Trump on his first trip overseas

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Trump is set for his first foreign trip, after a honeymoon period hunkered down at home

Before Donald Trump became president he would often spend days holed up in Trump Tower in New York, shuttling in a private elevator between his penthouse apartment and office.

And it’s been a similar story since he moved into the White House, where he divides his time between the East and West Wings, leaving only to spend weekends at Trump-branded resorts.

As a candidate he foreshadowed a homebody presidency – touting himself as the “America First” leader who would shun foreign travel to fix the “carnage” in the US.

But now he’s on his way to Saudi Arabia, to Israel, to Rome, to Brussels and Sicily, with a hugely ambitious agenda. The two things are not at odds, HR McMaster, the president’s National Security Adviser, told me.

“President Trump understands that America First does not mean American alone,” he said.

“To the contrary, prioritising American interests means strengthening alliances and partnerships that help us extend our influence and improve the security of the American people.”

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Youth hold their prayer shawls as they stand in front of the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayers site in Jerusalem’s Old City

Mr Trump will visit the centres of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths on this trip – a first for any president.

So how can he avoid the pitfalls that have befallen his interactions at home?

General Wesley Clark, the former Supreme Allied Commander of Nato, had a few tips for a president who struggles to grasp foreign policy and stay on-message.

“Say the right things, don’t say the wrong things, and maintain composure,” he says.

“Some unexpected things are likely to happen, keep discipline, have the right frame of reference when you talk and say as little as possible when you don’t know things.”

Among the foreign-policy goals Mr Trump has set himself, the most ambitious is bringing peace to the Middle East – a geo-political conundrum that has stymied far more experienced presidents than this one.

But he seems to be confident. “It’s something that I think is frankly maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years,” he said during a recent meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

I asked Mr Trump’s British-educated counter-terrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka whether the celebrity real-estate mogul-turned-president had the right qualifications for such a task.

“We have in the commander-in-chief, in the president, truly the master of the deal,” he…

Continue reading from the original source…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *