Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump embarks on trip to Mideast, Europe

The country superstar is headed to Saudi Arabia this weekend to perform during Trump's first official state visit.

"In the end "America First" means using the GCC and Arab partners as proxies and surrogates, propped up with U.S. equipment and training (paid for by these partners), to implement United States policy", he said.

The Trump administration has been hoping that the visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, the Vatican, and Brussels would help him reinforce close USA ties with key allies, particularly in the Middle East.

Going to Saudi Arabia first is a highly symbolic move for President Trump who is struggling with political troubles at home, but is drawing optimism from Arab leaders despite his deep unpopularity in Arab public opinion for his anti-Muslim commentary during the 2016 USA election campaign. White House officials said he'll reassert American leadership during the tour of three religious capitals in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Rome before sitting down with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders in Brussels and G7 counterparts in Sicily. That will create a quandary and some friction for Trump as he attempts to bring Arabs into a regional approach to Palestine.

Washington provides intelligence as well as aerial refuelling and bombs to the coalition, but former president Barack Obama's administration in December blocked a sale of precision-guided weapons to Saudi Arabia because of concerns over civilian casualties in Yemen.

The challenges notwithstanding, Nicholson and others are willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on this trip.

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Lima-Marin's wife, Jasmine, was eating lunch in her vehicle at work when she heard the good news about her husband's re-release. About 2,000 Cubans have been sent back since then, and the rest have either died or are too old or sick to be deported.

When President Donald Trump sits down for dinner in Saudi Arabia, caterers have ensured that his favorite meal - steak with a side of ketchup - will be offered alongside the traditional local cuisine. But now that we know Stephen Miller, the White House adviser known as the travel ban architect, is writing the president's speech, we're sure of it.

What message will Trump be taking to the world?

Trump's dash to Riyadh shows not only the importance of the oil-rich kingdom, but a desire on the part of the White House to mend ties damaged due to Obama's overtures towards Iran.

Despite reports that Mr Trump is dreading this trip, his administration says he is eager to press the agenda he campaigned on. How likely is this all to follow the president overseas?

White House staff cast the 70-year-old's "friendly but candid" style as an asset in his dealings with foreign leaders. With a secular military government, Cairo is determined to fight militancy with force but has far less political clout than Saudi Arabia. And then, he changed his mind as president and said that it's no longer obsolete, but he still wants its members to, as he puts it, pay their fair share, meaning that they should spend more on their own national defense. Some argue that religion can be part of the solution, if leaders like Trump make stronger faith-based appeals.

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