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First Foreign Trip: What Fresh Hell?

Pro and Con

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Edited: May 19, 5:39pm Top

Ladies before gentlemen ascending stairs, entering doors... (See photo.)
Come to think of it this bit of etiquette once had me "jammed" in a doorway with a Soviet lab director. ;-)
No problem though--Melania knows her place! (ETA: The Saudis (and Vatican?) will like that.)

Opening First Foreign Trip, Donald Trump Tries to Leave Crisis Behind
PETER BAKER | MAY 19, 2017

...“The chief function of a foreign trip for a scandal-ridden chief executive is to make him feel better,” said Evan Thomas, a Nixon biographer.

...During a stop in Gaza, Dennis Ross, a Middle East adviser, noticed the president (Clinton) scribbling on his yellow legal pad, “Focus on your job. Focus on your job.”

While at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem the next morning preparing for a meeting with the Israeli prime minister — then, as now, Benjamin Netanyahu — an aide walked in to let Mr. Clinton know that a key House Republican had decided to vote against him, giving opponents enough votes to impeach him...

...“The idea that when the president is overseas everybody puts their guns down and waits till he gets back home is long gone,” Mr. Lockhart said.

“That tradition probably died during our time, Clinton’s time, and was perpetrated by the Republicans,” he added. “They decided that they weren’t going to let up on him. And that tradition continued. Democrats didn’t care when Bush was overseas. You don’t even have the political cease-fire that had been traditionally observed.”


May 20, 8:53am Top

And, related to this, foreign dignitaries are advising one another to "be nice" to Trump during their meetings.


Edited: May 20, 10:15am Top

Could be tough (being nice). Trump has said despicable things about Muslims, released Israeli secrets, cut off refugees & migrants and aid in time of starvation, questioned the relevance of NATO. Not that "nice" right now back home, though.

Israeli Intelligence Furious Over Trump’s Loose Lips
As the U.S. president heads to Israel for a show of unity, the country’s spies are alarmed at his disclosures to the Russians.
Kavitha Surana, Dan De Luce, Robbie Gramer | May 19, 2017

Just days before President Donald Trump’s arrival in Tel Aviv, Israeli intelligence officials were shouting at their American counterparts in meetings, furious over news that the U.S. commander in chief may have compromised a vital source of information on the Islamic State and possibly Iran, according to a U.S. defense official in military planning.

“To them, it’s horrifying,” the official, who attended the meetings, told Foreign Policy. “Their first question was: ‘What is going on? What is this?’”

...“To the Israelis, ISIS is not that big of a concern,” the defense official said, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State. “We have a partner that has done us a favor. They went out of their way to support us in a campaign against ISIS, that they have no real skin in.”

...The revelation that sensitive information may have been passed to Russia, a partner to Iran, was particularly concerning. Israel has become increasingly anxious about Russia’s military cooperation with Iran in support of the Syrian regime and its growing cyberwarfare capabilities.

In Israel, there is fear the compromise of intelligence could damage the country’s interests and even jeopardize lives, the official said.

If the source was lost, it also could affect a U.S.-led military operation to take back Raqqa from the Islamic State with American-backed Syrian Kurdish and Arab forces, he said.

...The value of the intelligence is virtually a holy grail for spy services, experts said. Insights into the workings of a terrorist group’s inner circle are coveted and “quite rare,” said Bruce Hoffman, a professor at Georgetown University who has advised the U.S. government on counterterrorism. “It’s all solid gold. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

While the U.S.-Israel alliance will survive the episode intact, some former U.S. and Israeli officials worry that it could have a lasting effect on intelligence sharing while Trump remains in office.

“What Trump did is liable to cause heavy damage to Israel’s security, as well as the source, and U.S. security,’’ Danny Yatom, a former chief of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, told a Tel Aviv radio station. “Especially if this information reaches our good friends, the Iranians.”...



‘People Here Think Trump Is a Laughingstock’
On the president’s ill-timed world tour.
Susan B. Glasser | May 19, 2017


Those were just a few of the comments I heard in Berlin this week from senior European officials trying to make sense of the meltdown in Washington at just the moment when a politically imploding President Trump embarks on what he called “my big foreign trip” in this morning’s kickoff tweet...


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