>> He's besieged by controversies at home, but if US president Donald Trump is looking for a boost on his first overseas trip this Friday, he's going to need to do it flawlessly because the tour spanning four countries and an international summit will navigate a diplomatic mine field. Trump will arrive in Saudi Arabia first where he's expect to get a warmer welcome than Barrack Obama did a year ago.
It and other gulf state viewed Obama as soft on their chief rival, Iran, and the war in Syria. But Trump's past comments on Islam, migration, and a prohibition on visas from several Muslim majority countries has been met with fierce criticism in the region. Now, he plans to deliver a speech on Islam in the Saudi kingdom, a chance to turn the page.
Next stop Israel, and just days after several US media outlets reported the President gave classified intelligence obtained from the Israelis to Russia without Tel Aviv's approval. If true, it would be the latest in a string of sensitive developments to that relationship. Including indications that Trump may not move forward with a campaign promise to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem.
And the appointment of an ambassador who has vehemently supported the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. President Trump is also expected to meet Palestinian leaders. He's vowed to revamp the Mideast peace process but the president has not backed Palestinian independence, a bedrock of his predecessors. Trump will then go on to the Vatican to meet a pope who said his clashes with Mexico were not Christian.
Then he meets his NATO counterparts in Brussels after re-embracing the alliance he once called obsolete. But then, the grand finale, a G7 Summit in Sicily. He's already abandoned trade agreements with two of these powerful economies, Canada and Japan, when he pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in his first week in office.
And his administrations wishes to negotiate a bilateral trade deal with Germany has also drawn friction, partly because it would break a central tenet of the EU charter. The man who campaigned on America first, taking that message overseas and now in person.