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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

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after third woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.

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