Wednesday, March 01, 2017

What Trump didn't say is making diplomats nervous

President Trump’s speech Tuesday evening left diplomats and allies wondering exactly how he views America’s role in the world. He made no mention of the thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq or the small number in Syria, and he left unexplained why it is he’s expanding the fight against al Qaeda in Yemen.

Mr. Trump made a statement of support for Israel, and he didn’t elaborate on his calls for a new relationship with Russia. This has been worrying European allies in NATO, who, Mr. Trump said, should be spending more on their own defense.

The new budget the administration is preparing also contains little comfort for diplomats and allies, though a senior State Department aide told CBS News Wednesday that the Trump White House proposal to slash foreign aid - by as much as 30 to 40 percent - is simply the “opening salvo of the administration and a suggestion made by political wonks.” Further, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “not looking at it through the same lens,” the aide added, suggesting it’s more of a “political message than an actual budget.” 

Earlier Wednesday White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded to my question about how the president reconciles gutting foreign aid with his call Tuesday night in his joint address for “robust” engagement in the world. Spicer responded that “dollars do not decide engagement.” This is a sentiment that top U.S. aid recipients - Israel, Egypt, Pakistan - may disagree with. - Read More, CBS

What Trump didn't say is making diplomats nervous - CBS News


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