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.

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Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people and caused mass power outages after making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," Zeta weakened to a tropical storm over central Alabama early on Thursday, but it was still packing powerful winds and heavy rains, per the National Hurricane Center.

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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