By Constance Renton
By Constance Renton
Toronto – CNN has described a phone call on January 30 between US President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as “bruising.”
At a time when many world leaders aren’t sure what to expect from Trump next, the call is inviting the question:
How Diplomatic is Trump diplomacy?
Trump’s style of diplomacy has been called unpredictable and even undiplomatic, which is causing some of his critics to question why the soft edge when dealing with Israel? According to CNN, instead of using his preferred medium of Twitter to voice his displeasure over further planned Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, the President chose a more conventional method, his press secretary.
In a statement issued by Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, Trump warned Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyanhu, against following through with the settlements, saying it would “hamper the peace process.”
The same source reported that the statement itself represents a new take on relations with Israel for this White House. Up until now, the Trump administration’s support for Israel and Netanyahu has been unwavering and public in that regard.
How Not to Make Friends & Influence People
This unpredictability served Donald Trump as an election candidate. However, it translates differently in the world of diplomacy. Critics of Trump are accusing him of causing international chaos, particularly following his Sunday call to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
While Turnbull himself is staying tight-lipped on the call, sources quoted by CNN said the call was ended abruptly by the President because “he was unhappy.” At the heart of Trump’s displeasure, say the sources, was an Obama-era deal between the two countries that would see the US accepting up to 1,250 of Australia’s illegal immigrants, if they passed the US vetting process.
Trump insisted throughout the call that the figure was 2,000 and Prime Minister Turnbull kept correcting him. Trump ended the call, referring to the agreement as a “dumb deal” for the US.
Twitter saw a return of Trump when he tweeted the following regarding the call: “Do you believe it? The Obama administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”
Common Sense Still Has a Pulse
Republicans and Democrats alike wasted no time in commenting on their displeasure at Trump’s failed diplomatic effort with such a close and vital ally. Republican Senator, John McCain, said “This in my view was unnecessary and frankly, harmful.
Senior Democrat Tim Kaine from Virginia stated publicly that to have “a contentious conversation and name-call (a) country or the prime minister of a country that is one of our greatest allies in Asia is foolish.”
Reaping What You Sow
According to CNN, foreign leaders are learning valuable lessons about dealing with Trump and his administration for the future. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May was on the receiving end of an enormous backlash when she returned from her one-day diplomatic visit to Trump.
Just hours after her departure on January 27, Trump signed the executive order banning immigration and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations. At the same time, May was facing a barrage of political criticism regarding her visit, a petition began to circulate in Britain, proposing the cancellation of Trump’s first official visit there as US President. In a matter of hours, the petition had garnered over one million signatures.
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has also faced harsh criticism from Trump for accepting refugees from Syria. Merkel took the opportunity to remind him that Germany follows the Geneva Convention and, as such, sees all nations under its umbrella as “responsible for offering a safe haven to refugees fleeing war.” Trump, for his part, was unimpressed and unmoved.
Tell Us a Story Mr. President
At the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, attended by officiants from all faiths, President Trump made the following declaration: “The world is in trouble, but we’re going to fix it. That’s what I do. I fix things. We’re going to straighten it out.”
While these might be comforting words to his supporters, world leaders have been left to wonder where the US now stands on key global issues.