Rolling Out the White House Welcome Mat

It’s been a busy week for routine alliance maintenance.

Between sending mixed messages to the members of NATO, hanging up on the Australian prime minister and playing nice with Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump has made it clear that America’s longstanding relationships with its allies are in for some major changes under his presidency.

This past week in particular saw Trump in full diplomacy mode as he welcomed the leaders of several key countries to hang out with him at the White House and Mar-a-Lago. And those tiny hands pretty much punched precedent in the face from the get-go. Let’s take a look at how he did, country by country.

  1. Japan

    The weekend started out smoothly enough, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joining Trump for a round of golf at Mar-a-Lago. But the mood shifted pretty quickly when the two world leaders discovered that North Korea had fired a ballistic missile. Rather than meet with Abe in private to discuss a response, Trump opted to deal with the situation in the club dining room in front of pretty much whoever happened to be there. Aside from demonstrating a complete disregard for the security of classified information, the move probably didn’t win him any points with a leader who comes from a country that places a high value on discretion.

  2. Canada

    Trump’s meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was comparatively low-stakes, unless you consider that the heat from Ivanka Trump’s gaze could’ve melted Trudeau on the spot. In fact, it would have been pretty hard for President Trump to screw this one up. Sure, Trudeau has thrown some shade Trump’s way for his immigration ban; but Canada’s dependence on the U.S. runs deep, so it would most likely be a big risk for the PM to make Trump mad.

  3. Israel

    It’s no secret that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t wait for the Obama era to end so that he could begin working with Trump. The two are peas in a pod when it comes to big issues like the Iran nuclear deal and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. But if the joint press conference they held is any indication, Trump seems to be completely out of his depth when it comes to navigating the nitty gritty of Middle Eastern politics. He does seem to like that it involves a lot of deals, though.