What We Didn’t Hear About. Hint: Foreign Policy Does Matter.


May 27, 2017 by gregrabidoux2013

Trump trip saudi

A strategic and significant first stop.

Over the past week or so President Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump embarked on what can objectively be described as a truly historic foreign policy trip. And it’s not just about what was accomplished, what was said in speeches or even agreements signed, although I’ll get to these in a moment.

No. It was significant in large part as to the president’s choice of itinerary.

In short, whom you choose to visit and in what sequential order may not matter much to American media consumers who have been weaned on The Daily Show style fluff, Steven Colbert’s vulgarities and social media “clickbait” but the rest of the world pays attention. And they take note.

Let me explain.

Eight years ago then newly inaugurated President Obama and his advisers planned a carefully orchestrated first foreign policy trip. Their strategic aim was to send a strong signal to Iran and to Shiite Muslims that the US, in choosing a new president, had chosen to tilt strongly towards the Shiite coalition which included Hezbollah, the Palestinians, Iraq Shiites and of course Iran. The fact he chose to address his remarks largely to Muslims that were strategically placed front and center in his Cairo audience did two things-One, it made it clear to the Egyptians and Gulf State Arabs that this was indeed a shift away from them, and secondly, it offered the Iranians an olive branch. Thus, started what can only accurately be called an 8 year period of strategic appeasement and outreach to the Iranians.

trump trip Israel

The smiles aren’t “diplomatic fake” the one on the right is truly relieved to have a friend again in the White House.

It also ushered in a very rocky and at times hostile relationship between two historically close allies, the US and Israel. Just before leaving office when the US under President Obama failed to first veto and then chose to abstain from a vote on as insulting a resolution that could be presented at the United Nations towards Israel (a symbolic resolution rejecting Israeli claims on the Western Wall in Israel and opening the door to Palestinian claims) the seeds first planted 8 years prior were in full bloom for all to see.

Of course, 8 years is long enough for results to ahem, trump rhetoric and the policy of Iranian and Shiite appeasement had failed. Without American leadership, without a strong US-Arab coalition, without a strong and balanced US-Israel relationship our enemies did not see our appeasement and softening as anything but what they always see these as-an opportunity to recklessly and ruthlessly consolidate power, ally with rogue nations, sponsor and embolden even more terrorism and of course put out the welcome mat for world class meddlers and power brokers like Russia.

Why is this all important to understand?

Well, because President Trump and his advisers have just executed a very different and strategic foreign policy trip.

By first touching down in Riyadh and signing an historic arms agreement with Saudi Arabia worth well over $150 billion dollars and by first addressing a coalition of a 50 state Sunni Arab audience the president has signaled a crucial shift in US policy.

The US under this new president was shifting back to our very long and fruitful alliance with the Gulf State moderate Arabs and away from Iran. By making this very clear in his first trip and by urging these leaders to reject terrorism and its ilk he also sent a strong signal to our historic friend, Israel, that the 8 years of abandonment and even hostility was over.

It also was not coincidence that President Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall in Israel. In effect, the message was “No more UN Resolutions like the one you suffered recently will occur from the US at least in the next 4 years.”

So, consequently, it was no mere coincidence that the Israeli Prime Minister declared that “It is enlightening and a relief to see the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East at a crucial and dangerous time.”

In Italy, the Pope and the President met and by all accounts it was a warm and friendly exchange at a time when Christians around the world are being targeted by Muslim terrorists. The First Lady wowed the Italians by speaking fluent Italian as she visited hospitals, handed out toys and food for children and met with relief charities.

Making his last leg of this first trip be in Brussels, the President also sent a strong message to NATO that they had not heard in the last 8 years-Pay your fair share of NATO dues and take global terrorism more seriously.

In short, this trip was historic and significant and strategic in its purpose, its execution and in its results.

And if you took the time to digest a sampling of foreign media this is how it was perceived and treated. When you have enemies on all sides like Israel foreign policy and the actions of the US matter. Deeply.

When you are Saudi Arabia and you lead a coalition of Sunni Muslims under attack by Shiites and with Iran as an enemy the alliance with US, previously in disrepair under the Obama Administration and now cemented under the Trump Administration matters. Deeply.

But back home, our mainstream media, which in many ways has sadly become one big social media “clickbait” blog seems to be deathly allergic to anything adult, mature or even slightly substantive. And, rather than simply and objectively present these policy matters in an even-handed manner so that Americans can actually learn something and maybe, just maybe become better informed the media chooses the silly, the slapstick, the trivial the dumb.

Because folks, they are convinced that is what we all want. And need.

So, what did our domestic media choose to cover and gossip about?

Let’s see, they gossiped about the “transparently fake marriage” between the Trumps, the fact they didn’t always hold hands and once Melania even “rejected” Trump’s offer to hold hands, the “fact” they (Melania and Ivanka) “insulted” the Saudis by not wearing headscarves, the “fact” Trump “aggressively pushed” another foreign leader in Brussels and the “fact” that the Pope was insulted that Ivanka and Melania chose to wear all black and black veils on their visit to the Vatican.

What’s worse is that rather than provide real and substantive coverage of a historic and strategically significant trip our media, long weaned on fluff and now run by biased folks who on the one hand hate Trump and all he does and on the other hand have been trained in SEO, social media buzz, clickbaiting and PR (and sadly not journalism) may simply not know what they don’t know.

So, they run stories that fit into tweets, social media consumption and clicks.

And so regardless of where your politics may lie, regardless of whether you support or reject this president you and all of us are being deprived.

Deprived of being able to engage in any real, substantive debate on issues that literally impact our lives, our security, our planet our descendants.

But I guess we can debate shoes, scarves, hand-holding with a passion, and a fervor normally reserved for things that count.

As Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth, “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”


By the way, and just for the record-

The Saudi King said that he and his group were all “graced” by the poise and beauty of our First Lady and the daughter of our president and they never assumed that as Christians and as a Jewish woman (Ivanka) nor were they at all insulted that they did not wear traditional Hajibs.

Unless you are eligible under Vatican law and policy (you are a Queen, a Duchhess, etc) you are forbidden to wear white or any color and are required by tradition unless given prior special exemption to wear black with matching black veils when visiting the Papacy.

Far from being “insulted” the Pope blessed Melania’s own personal rosary beads and later called it “an honor to meet the President and his wife.”

The “aggressive push” was deemed “harmless” and both laughed it off as insignificant.

Like any couple sometimes they hold hands and sometimes they don’t. Try not to be astonished.

As far as the countless hours spent on the mysterious globe that President Trump and the Saudi leader both touched and it lit up, I can’t say. But it did make for a nice lightshow. Just not worth a fraction of the time spent discussing it in our media.

ECT funny

That’s not what I’m hearing about the trip from my sources.












15 thoughts on “What We Didn’t Hear About. Hint: Foreign Policy Does Matter.

  1. Michelle Elliott says:

    This trip certainly reaffirmed the lack of relevance of the US media. No major outlet can provide reliable commentary of American foreign or domestic policy. However, it is certainly comforting ( and encouraging) to know that America is still looked to as the leader in addressing issues that face the world. The President’s trip certainly changed the tone of American foreign policy by re-establishing relationships with our traditional Middle Eastern allies, and put an end to the failed policy of extending an olive branch to those who will only take advantage of an offer of peace.

  2. Sharon Pyles says:

    I agree, the media makes it very difficult to discern “real” news from “fluff” news. I certainly miss the days of hearing two sides to the story instead of the side that will make the most money. Your post did a great job in summing up the trip and it’s implications. As well as the differences from the Obama administration. It will be interesting to see what actions will occur on the foreign policy level, now that the trip is over.

  3. Brian H says:

    I have lived in Israel and always watch carefully how any president deals with Israeli security and peace issues. I was shocked at how hostile Obama was to Israel and how much he appeased the entire Muslim world and basically bowed before Iran Ayatollahs. For the US media to focus only on crap and not share how different and to me very welcome the change was in how Trump dealt with Israel and our enemies is shameful. But they have a story to tell-Trump is a clown, Trump is a fool, the marriage is a sham, everything he does is wrong…and they won’t let the truth or facts get in their way.

  4. Ty G says:

    I am so sick of how our media is, it’s all one big check-out magazine of lies, gossip and sleaze. I have tuned out Wolf, Jake and that lying pos Brian Williams, all a bunch of crooks.

  5. Scott Blount says:

    The media has definitely relegated itself to a secondary entertainment role, especially who want to watch and hear their own political leanings reaffirmed. I typically flip channels between CNN, Fox, and MSNBC to see who they are interviewing…not what any of the network talking heads have to say. If General Michael Hayden or James Clapper is being interviewed, I want to hear what they have to say. I am personally satisfied to see Trump’s closer ties with Israel, and Iran should never be appeased. I also have no problem with Trump driving home the message that NATO members need to pay their fair share. That’s simply not an outrageous expectation. I think we as citizens and consumers of media coverage have to sift through the crap for now, as Trump’s treatment by many media outlets will not change. He repeatedly voices his disdain for the media, so there’s a mutual understanding between the two!


  6. Keiana B. says:

    Throughout our daily lives media plays a huge role and most of the time we all wish to be just like those we see on T.V. Media has controlled the thoughts of man since media came out. It allows someone who doesn’t have a passion to know more be controlled. The media gives you what it wants you to see. I am glad I selected this blog to read or I would have never known myself. It easy to portray all the negative things someone do yet hide the positive. I for one am not a big Fan of Trump but i must applaud him for making such a strategic and seemingly thoughtful move coming from someone like him. I honestly don’t think we can fully blame media for not providing this information. When Trump first started running he knew the negatives would get him the publicity needed and it still does til this day. If Trump would have went over to Israel and acted a fool then it would have been all over National T.V. and sadly he probably would have been OK with it being exposed. Thankfully people around the world still see America as a Problem Solver. I am glad Trump could reestablish these relationships with the Middle East positively and effectively. I am interested to see how these next four years with him will be as far as establishing other relationships, his decisions, and policy making.

  7. Nathan Daley says:

    There are three things going on in this post. First the Middle Eastern conflict, Presidents Trump foreign policy, and domestic media. Unfortunately, I have never quite understood the conflict between the Arab countries. I do have a basic understanding to why the fighting occurred, but at this point I really don’t understand why it has continued. Also don’t understand why the US is overly interested in the countries. It might just be my lack of understanding, but I don’t ever hear about any other country investing as much time and energy into the Middle East conflict. It’s obvious that whatever the US has been doing over there, they haven’t been able to solve anything.

    In reference to President Trump and his foreign policy, I think some people really believe President Trump is completely lost. Now he might be a lot of things, but he is not an idiot. He is very intelligent and he does have a plan for foreign policy, the problem is no one really knows what his agenda is.

    Now in reference to the media here in the US, it is a joke. I’ve been in other countries and saw firsthand how their media operates. It is real journalism, real issues, and often times its life or death for some people. Like everything else in the US, we have become so unappreciative of the freedoms and privileges. These things have been take for granted, but oversees in some countries they cherish the idea. There is so much garbage being pushed by the media that the people can’t determine fact or fiction. It’s very embarrassing and utterly purposeless. US news is a reflection of our society and the things we view as priorities.

  8. Ebony Bowles says:

    I agree with the media spiel. The media has and will always twist and turn stories to obtain a higher viewing. Because of this I watch the media with caution. I do remember watching the media coverage during and after President Trump finished his policy tour. While I can’t say that the tour was successful, I can say that the media had a field day criticizing Trump’s every move. I don’t think that there is a media outlet out there that isn’t biased in some form or fashion. That is why it is important to gather information at every angle before forming an educated opinion. To be honest, my thoughts on foreign policy are limited because my interest in the subject is slim to none. To the media, their endgame is ratings which equals money. Meaning that they will do and say anything to draw in viewers.

  9. Wes Milam says:

    This was very informative as, like so many others apparently, did not realize the impact of this trip. I’m very happy that President Trump took these steps to repair some foreign relationships, because we clearly needed to do so. I do also despair at what our modern media have become. You stated it best that which only gets reported is only that can be fit into a tweet. I tire of stories of complete unimportance to the status of this county. I could care less about a twitter war between celebrities. You are correct that the media is against Trump on all accounts and would rather push their own agenda than be fair in their reporting. Where is Cronkite when you need him?

  10. Tim Hallmark says:

    Your analysis is spot on in this blog post. The problem is that I do not even know what is media anymore. I turned on the evening news the other day and I could barely tell that it was one of the major networks. It seemed like it was entertainment news on the E-network. When you are looking for real news stories and real analysis, there are very few places to turn. Even when you find them, it takes a real discerning eye to tell how bias they actually are. My biggest gripe now days is that I cannot find a news network that caters to me. They all seem to be too far extreme to one side or the other. I guess it matches with our political system. I find myself being further and further out of touch with either of our political parties as well.

  11. Angelia B. says:

    Your reference to Shakespeare’s quote in Macbeth is very fitting for this article. Talk of shoes, black veils, and speculating that a marriage is in trouble…this is what gets people’s attention. Does this say something about what our society focuses on in today’s world? It does seem to be a sad state of affairs when the majority of the media report this type of news, and a large portion of the people are genuinely more interested in fashion than politics.

  12. R.W. says:

    I have found it disconcerting to watch the media and difficulty in trying to figure out what is real news rather than drama. It is amazing at what the media choses to focus on and the resulting social media coverage. We have been so consumed with drama and reality television the “news” has decided the way to get ratings is to recreate this. When something supporting or purporting to support the “news” it becomes to sole focus across all major networks. Violent acts become highly televised replaying all aspects, plastering the accused everywhere, sharing details of the victims, and trying to get all information related to the investigation with personal opinions injected without all of the facts. This trend following 9/11 coverage has sparked new criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in which repeated exposure to trauma through media has the potential to trigger this mental health disorder. Not only do we not know what is actually occurring in our world without significant effort on our part, we are also creating perfect scenarios to increase mental health difficulties for people who may not have otherwise been exposed.

  13. Chris C. says:

    This posting remains relevant today as President Trump returns from a trip to Asia. We have the same issues in North Korea as we had in Iran eight years ago and these regimes have been coddled long enough. Our foreign policy under President Obama was a joke and our service members are having to pay the price. To me this transition is similar to the one between President’s Carter and Reagan. China are Japan are key partners in stabilizing Asia and I think this trip re-affirmed this notion.

    Every profession has a code of ethics or a code of conduct. Why is the media exempt from following theirs? Why are there no consequences for their actions? The only time a member of the media is called out is if the citizens make a loud enough objection. I for one think journalism is no longer a profession. They are simply another arm of the political establishments similar to special interest groups. They should be ashamed of themselves, They no longer report the “truth” or “facts”-they only report what they can spin to further their agenda.

  14. SJPE says:

    I definitely agree that there are serious issues with both the media and the public’s consumption of it. I think many people like myself have been watching, waiting, hoping for signs that this Administration will come together and find some direction, that Trump would put a team together that would compensate for his deficits and allow for effective governance…. Keep hoping I guess.
    The fault here is not just the media for giving us fluff and us for laughing at memes of the Pope looking about as happy to be meeting with Trump as most american’s are with his presidency (although that is a large part and has been well addressed above). There is a huge deficit in accurate, professional communication from the white-house to the American public on exactly what Trump’s foreign policy is beyond a bunch mindless tweets that he sends a press secretary out later to dance around a back peddle on. While I would very much like to believe there is rational foreign policy going on, it is up to the white house to effectively communicate that. In order for that to happen he needs to bring together a competent team, and it is late November and it looks like Christmas will be here before that happens.

  15. missnrb says:

    The country’s citizens are poorly served and its foreign policy can be negatively impacted if the relationship between the President and the media is excessively adversarial as seems to be the case with most of the media and Trump. The media should be an independent and unbiased critic of the President and the foreign policy, but only to better the policy. Trump sees any critique as an attack and labels it fake news. His attack on the media makes sense because the majority of the knowledge and information that people get about the world is supplied by the mass media. They influence what people think as well what they think about. The media could have focused on critiquing the reason behind Trump’s trip and its affects on citizens and possibly the country’s reputation. The fact that some chose not to highlight the possible reasons behind this trip could be an attempt to undermine him.

    By the same token, Trump can use the media to his advantage. Since citizens get most of their foreign policy information from the media, Trump could use his media advocates to advance positive news about the trip as these images could have a powerful impact on public opinion. Public opinion is malleable so Trump and his opposition will continue to work to sway them.

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