16 May 2017   1 comment

The media is obsessing over President Trump’s leak of classified material to the Russians. But much of the discussion focuses on the domestic impact of the event.  The true significance of the disclosure is the effect it will have on US relations with its allies.  The media is reporting that Israel was the source of the information about Daesh’s (the Islamic State) ability to place bombs in laptop computers.  The US-Israeli intelligence relationship is unique and it is safe to say that the US would know precious little about the Middle East without the Israelis.  Reportedly the Israelis are furious about Trump’s disclosure, largely because they are convinced that Russia will share the information with the Iranians.  The Israelis will likely be far less cooperative in the immediate future and the US will be flying blind in its Middle East policies.

Turkish President Erdogan met with US President Trump today on the eve of Mr. Trump’s foreign visit to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels, and Sicily.  US-Turkish relations are quite strained, but Mr. Trump did call President Erdogan to congratulate him when he won the Turkish referendum (unlike other NATO allies) that gave the Turkish President considerably enhanced powers.  It is likely they spoke about the US decision to arm Kurdish rebels in Syria and whether the US favors greater Kurdish autonomy.  Erdogan also wants the US to extradite the dissident cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who was once an Erdogan ally but is now a fierce enemy.

Donald Trump’s visit to the G7 summit will be an interesting experience.  The summit is being held at the beautiful Sicilian village of Taormina which is not well suited to modern security concerns.  The roads are too narrow for President Trump’s 30-vehicle entourage.  Indeed, the road from the helipad to the site of the summit is only 90 meters long while each of those vehicles are about 3 meters long.  There will be no way for those vehicles to turn around if an emergency escape is necessary.  Mr. Trump will not be staying at the hotel where the other 6 leaders are staying, but will be sleeping at a US airbase on Sicily which will require a helicopter trip to the hotel.  But the village of Taormina is close to Mt. Etna which is currently erupting and there are concerns that the helicopter might be hit by flying debris and ash.

Taormina

 

 

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Posted May 16, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “16 May 2017

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  1. We can only hope!

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