Thu, May 18, 2017 - Page 9 News List

Trump’s sharing risks damaging the US’ alliances

By Julie Pace  /  AP, WASHINGTON

The US and Western officials spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive information.

The White House has looked to Trump’s trip abroad as a moment to draw the president out of Washington’s hyperpartisan hothouse and put him in a more statesman-like setting.

He is expected to be warmly received by Arab allies in Saudi Arabia, who welcomed his decision to launch missiles against a Syrian air base following a chemical weapons attack, and in Israel, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu views Trump as more favorable to his interests than former US president Barack Obama.

However, some of the European partners Trump is to meet later in his trip have been more skeptical about his policies, including a controversial travel and immigration ban that has been blocked by US courts.

Western allies, including Britain and Germany, have also been wary of Trump’s warmness toward Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was kicked out of the summit of leading economic powers after Moscow’s annexation of territory from Ukraine.

The White House’s botched handling of Trump’s firing last week of then-FBI director James Comey, who was overseeing the bureau’s Russia probe, and the president’s own volatile statements about his actions are also likely to raise questions among allies about the US leader’s standing.

Anthony Cordesman, a national security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said allies would be trying to size up Trump’s “actual political strength relative to the divisions with Congress, the problems within his own party.

“Can he move forward with his own agenda? That will certainly be a question as he visits any country overseas,” Cordesman said.

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