WASHINGTON—The five-nation trip by President Donald Trump to Europe and the Middle East later this month is aimed at reversing America’s disengagement with the world, establishing American leadership and forging partnerships with the countries in the region, a senior administration official has said.
These new partnerships can deliver improved security and prosperity, better lives for children across all major religions, and across the people of the world, the official said.
“I think what the President has demonstrated already, and will be able to demonstrate even further on this trip, is that America First is fully compatible with American leadership in the world,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
This will be the first foreign trip of Trump after taking office. However, the exact dates of his visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican, Brussels and Italy, have not been announced yet.
“Circumstances in the Middle East, that have bled over, as we all know, into Europe and globally, associated with radical, Islamist terrorist groups — Salafi-jihadist groups that are victimizing so many in the region and beyond, as well as the problems associated with these terrorists groups, combined with Iran’s subversive and malign behavior across the region, have aligned interests in a way that could lead to new partnerships enabled by American leadership,” the official said.
“I think this also demonstrates that the President is willing to and has embraced his leadership role in multinational forums when they serve the interests of the American people and American security. He has also demonstrated that he’ll renegotiate terms when he thinks that those multinational organizations and those relationships aren’t delivering what they need to for the American people,” the official said.
Contrary to what has been really the conventional wisdom associated with the President’s approach to alliances, Trump has actually done a tremendous amount of work to strengthen alliances, he asserted.
“So if you think about NATO, for example, where most of the countries within the alliance are doing much more now to contribute to security within the context of the alliance, an alliance in which members or a partnership in which members are doing their fair share, are shouldering their share of the responsibility and the burden, is a much stronger one than an alliance in which members are not sharing their fair share of the responsibility and the burden,” the official noted.
This trip will also reverse the trend of America’s disengagement from the world and some of its biggest problems.
“America’s large disengagement from some of these problems has aided and abetted those who were really fomenting violence and perpetuating human suffering across the Middle East in particular,” the official said.
During his trip, Trump will also advance American interests in the area of trade and economic development and jobs for the American people.
“What we’ve seen is that reciprocity is a model that works, and one that the President is advancing in connection and in connection to access to markets and so forth,” the official said.
The official said that the trip will demonstrate that America is “regaining strategic” confidence.
“It will also demonstrate that America has a lot to do with the ability to combine diplomacy with economic strength, with the ability to communicate effectively, and to build relationships with leaders and with people, and it also has a lot to do with the willingness to use military force when it is necessary,” the official said.
According to the official, the President’s approach to the problem in Syria is a great example of that in advance of this trip — a situation that called for the use of force after the Assad regime was committing further mass murder of its own people using the most heinous weapons — using chemical weapons.
“But that wasn’t just a one-off strike. It was the opportunity for the President to emphasize what was necessary to begin to reduce the suffering of the Syrian people,” he asserted.
In a recent phone call with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump followed up on a broad range of diplomatic efforts to address the civil war in Syria, the problem associated with ISIS in particular and its control of territory and populations and resources there.
But he also looked for areas of cooperation. An example of that is a higher level of participation in the Astana conference that is going on now that could lead to ceasefires that can then bridge into the political process in Geneva.
“Of course that’s hopeful, as all that is right now, but it’s an opportunity that’s been created by the integration of elements of American power and American leadership in a very complex situation,” the official said.