Jun 24, 2019

Trump team slated for a full week of fraught global diplomacy

President Trump disembarking Air Force One. Photo: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

Amid ongoing flare-ups between the U.S. and Iran, President Trump and his allies will travel this week to diplomatically engage allies on Middle East peace, North Korea’s nuclear program, U.S.–China trade and more.

Why it matters: The week's meetings present an opportunity for Trump and his team to demonstrate their ability to leverage diplomacy as a tool of American power. He’ll be taking on tough issues this week, and his administration's policies have in many ways amplified the work ahead.

What's happening:

  1. On June 24, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met both Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, and will next head to the United Arab Emirates to further solidify a regional coalition against Iran. National security adviser John Bolton is in Jerusalem to meet Israeli and Russian officials in hopes of recruiting Russian support in containing Iran.
  2. On June 25–26, Jared Kushner will convene his Middle East peace meeting in Bahrain, with attendees from the Gulf states but without either the Israelis or the Palestinians. The plan asks other countries to pay for $50 billion in economic policies that no key players expect to yield a peace agreement. At the moment, the most promising outcome is a loose list of commitments.
  3. On June 28–29, Trump will join the G20 Summit in Japan to discuss the global economy and security issues. The highlight will be Trump’s bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, yet the negotiating teams are still far from a trade deal and that conflict could complicate Chinese cooperation on North Korea.
  4. On June 30, Trump will head to South Korea to meet with President Moon Jae-in, who is largely responsible for recent American diplomacy with North Korea and eager to resuscitate it.

Meanwhile, on June 26–27, Trump’s domestic opponents will have a 2-night national platform to criticize his policies during the Democratic presidential debates.

  • Candidates are likely to highlight Trump’s careening on Iran, where tensions have escalated to the brink of war; catatonic nuclear negotiations with North Korea, where two leader-level summits have secured no firm results; and the unilateral trade war against China, which is straining the U.S. economy.

The bottom line: Trump’s Iran bombing flip-flop last week suggests that he and his team still lack a coherent vision for determining and executing their national security goals. The week ahead will show whether he and his team manage a swing back toward multilateral problem-solving or continue the go-it-alone approach that is increasingly isolating the U.S. from its allies.

Joel Rubin is the president of the Washington Strategy Group and a former deputy assistant secretary of state.

Go deeper

Zuckerberg says Trump’s “shooting” tweet didn’t violate Facebook’s rules

Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 15. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Facebook did not remove President Trump's threat to send the National Guard to Minneapolis because the company's policy on inciting violence allows discussion on state use of force, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post on Friday.

The big picture: Zuckerberg's statement comes on the heels of leaked internal criticism from Facebook employees over how the company handled Trump's posts about the Minneapolis protests and his unsubstantiated claims on mail-in ballots — both of which Twitter has now taken action on.

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 5,916,464— Total deaths: 364,357 — Total recoveries — 2,468,634Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 1,744,258 — Total deaths: 102,709 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.

Trump says he spoke with George Floyd's family

President Trump in the Rose Garden on May 29. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Friday that he had spoken with the family of George Floyd, a black resident of Minneapolis who died after a police officer knelt on his neck on Monday.

Driving the news: Former Vice President Joe Biden said via livestream a few hours earlier that he, too, had spoken with Floyd's family. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee implored white Americans to consider systemic injustices against African Americans more broadly, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports.