Ian Bremmer, geopolitical analyst and president of the Eurasia Group, shares his opinions on President Trump’s foreign trip. Following is a transcript of the video.
I think that this trip was quite well planned by the Trump Administration. You know that presidents usually go to Canada or Mexico first. It’s not a long trip, they’re the most aligned and closest allies, there’s nowhere else they can go for help particularly, right? Trump didn’t do that. And that was right because the Canadians and the Mexicans have serious problems with Trump on immigration, on climate change, on trade, you name it. And furthermore, there would have been big demonstrations against Trump if he had done either of those trips as president. Where, he went to Saudi Arabia first. The Saudis really disliked Obama, they were delighted that Trump came in on his Iran views, on his human rights lack abuse, on his focus on security. Then, he goes to Israel, he feels very comfortable with Netanyahu personally, the family gets along with them, he’s treated quite well, goes to the Vatican after that, doesn’t have a good relationship with the people but the pope is not going to embarrass him.
And then he goes to NATO and the G7 and that’s actually the hardest part of the trip. I mean, aside from getting on a plane afterwards and going back to the United States. And you know, I think the fact that Trump chose not to take any questions from the American media while he was travelling — American media doesn’t like that — really smart for Trump, that was never going to go well for him, right? All they’re going to do is focus back on what’s happening in the United States, he doesn’t want to deal with right now, let this be much more staged, little more contrived. He, you know, gave a speech in Saudi Arabia, that was written for him, he didn’t stray from it, it was actually a pretty powerful speech. So — and then he backed off of the “Islam is the problem”, right? “Radical Islamic terror”, didn’t actually say those words, little like Obama actually, kind of aligned in that way, was much tougher on Iran of course, much to the happiness of the Saudis and all of the other Arabs from the region that were there in that summit, he — same with the Israelis, very happy about that. He touched an orb. Who doesn’t want to touch an orb on a trip? That’s a good thing to do.
Melania, of course, not treating him so well, actually slapped his hand away a couple times publicly, and I got to tell you. This is not going to be a popular thing for me to say. I think Melania needs to get with the program. You know? I mean she is married to this guy, 25 years older, billionaire, treats women like dirt, she knew exactly what she was getting into, she could — she doesn’t have to do this. But if she’s going to be public and there with the president of the United States, so she is the First Lady, that is an institutional position, she has chosen to be in it. She better act that way, the president is damaged enough. He shoots himself in the foot for all of these things, doesn’t need any help from Melania. I give her zero points for classless.
And then speaking of challenges in relationships that Trump’s had, of course on the European side. It’s not easy. You could see that Macron has been studying the tapes of how Donald Trump does a handshake and Macron’s like, “I’m 39, I can beat this guy” and it doesn’t look good for either of them, right? I mean, Macron looks like a bit of a child — I mean he does but I mean leaving that aside, but in the direct bilateral with Trump, but of course Trump also looks really bad. It’s like two alpha dogs that are kind of trying to sort of outclass each other. These are allies.
In fact, his relations with President Erdo?an in Turkey and President Duterte in the Philippines and President Putin in Russia are actually much more comfortable for him than his relations with the Germans or the French and that’s probably the single most discomforting part of this trip and of Trump’s foreign policy more broadly.
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