By Quin Hillyer at Liberty Headlines;

At two different points during Donald Trump’s first trip abroad as president, I provided a roundup of reactions to it. (Note: I do not write the headlines, which tend to be more dismissive of Trump’s critics than my roundups themselves are.)

See here and here.

The first was about the Middle-East leg of the journey. Here’s an excerpt:

Donald Trump’s handling of his trip to the Middle East has been sheer genius.

No, Trump’s diplomacy on this trip has been simplistic, verging on idiotic.

Analyses of this barely-begun trip have diverged about as starkly as do the views of Palestinians and Israelis on West Bank “settlements.”

Consider veteran foreign-policy guru Anthony Cordesman, writing Sunday in The Hill. He said that in Saudi Arabia, Trump “gave the right speech in the right place at the right time.” By focusing on the ravages that terrorism cases in the Arab world itself, along with emphasizing common cause with Arabs against the government of Iran, Trump (according to Cordesman) used “words that the vast majority of Muslims agree with, and ones that clearly rise above fear, prejudice, and isolationism. They are the values Muslims want in a strategic partner. They do not compromise any aspect of the fight against extremism and terrorism.”

Not exactly, harrumphed Robin Wright, author of books about Islamic culture, in a column in the New Yorker headlined “Trump’s simplistic strategy on jihadism.”

“Trump framed his counterterrorism policy,” Wright wrote, “in Let’s-Make-a-Deal terms: Washington will sell weaponry to the Arabs, which will in turn create defense-industry jobs in the United States.”….

The second was on Trump’s handling of NATO. Here’s an excerpt:

The diplomatic world is in a tizzy about whether or not Donald Trump is committed to NATO’s “mutual defense” pledge, and the White House is now offering reassurances.

This isn’t the first time the President’s failure to explicitly back the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s “Article Five” requirement has caused him heartburn. It also cost him some unwanted backlash during his 2016 campaign.

First, let’s look at today’s brouhaha. After Trump spent much of 2016 saying NATO was “obsolete” and refusing to say clearly whether the U.S. would provide defense for the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia if they were attacked, the president reassured everyone last month that the mutual-aid organization is “no longer obsolete.”

All that remained was for him to explicitly re-state support for Article Five, which states that an attack on any one NATO nation is considered an attack an all, and that all will lend military aid to rebut such an attack. Just before Trump’s NATO summit in Belgium, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was among the administration officials who said Trump is specifically committed to Article Five and would make that clear in his speech – thus reassuring Latvia and the others.

But when the time came, Trump left that commitment out of his speech. Insiders were aghast……

 

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