President Trump is fond of saying of almost any problem he identifies “this stops right now.” Unfortunately, many of the problems in question are not so tractable.
But there’s one problem Trump has stopped already — the bad blood between the U.S. and its great ally Israel.
The Washington Post reports that the president talked by phone today with Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump described the conversation as “very nice.” Netanyahu’s office called it “very warm.”
According to the White House, Trump and Netanyahu agreed to consult closely on regional issues, “including the threats posed by Iran.” Trump emphasized the close relationship between the two countries, promised to work toward Israeli-Palestinian peace, and stressed that countering the Islamic State and other radical Islamic terrorist groups will be an administration priority.
Netanyahu expressed his desire to work closely with the Trump administration so that there is “no daylight between” the two countries.
In addition, Trump invited Netanyahu to visit him at the White House in early February. We can be confident that Netanyahu won’t have to cool his heels in a conference room while the president has dinner with his family, as he did when Barack Obama had him at the White House.
Netanyahu won’t be the first foreign leader to meet with Trump. That honor will go to Theresa May, the prime minister of Great Britain. This is as it should be. Like Israel, Britain is a special ally. Unlike Israel, it needs our immediate help on a trade deal as a result of Brexit.
Trump will also have early meetings with Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto. He spoke with both by phone on Saturday. These talks will pertain to renegotiating NAFTA and, particularly in the case of Mexico, immigration and border security.
This is a president who appears to have his foreign policy priorities straight.
What about Russia? According to the Post, Trump hasn’t yet made contact with Vladimir Putin. A meeting appears to be months away. Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the BBC that it would be “a big mistake” to think that U.S.-Russian relations under Trump would be free from controversy.
The Democratic Party and its media pals notwithstanding, it looks like Trump has correctly identified which nations are our friends and which are not. Our friends are the ones whose leaders he’s talking to and setting up meeting with right out of the gate.
It was Barack Obama who struggled to identify our friends. Or maybe, Groucho Marx style, he couldn’t form a bond with any nation that had a high regard for ours.
This stops right now.