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Speaking in one voice

Oct 11,2017 - Last updated at Oct 11,2017

The squabbles between US President Donald Trump and key members of his administration, especially US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, are disturbing the entire world, having got to the point of name calling and hitting below the belt.

A newer episode, in a series of many others, saw Tillerson allegedly calling Trump a moron.

The two have seemingly different views, not only on North Korea but on Iran and other hot spots in the Middle East, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well.

Normally differences of opinion between high US officials, especially at presidential level, regarding highly sensitive issues that could pose a threat to world peace and security remain discreet and out of the public’s sight.

Not anymore, it seems.

Moreover, the repeated threats from the US president that his country would deploy nuclear weapons against North Korea are not exactly comforting to the world.

Such unbecoming way of conducting foreign policy is obviously of great concern for the international community which normally looks to the US for guidance and leadership.

Now, with erratic behaviour and contradictory statements coming out of the White House, the international community does not know anymore where the US stands exactly on North Korea, Iran the Israeli-Palestinian issue or, for that matter, even Russia and China.

It is natural for differences of views to occur among politicians, including high US officials, but they should be discussed behind closed doors to avoid discrediting the US and rendering its foreign policy confusing and incoherent.

Trump has ushered in a new style of leading — tweeting at times contradicting ideas in the wee hours of the morning is not one many would want to emulate, though — and a new way of looking at strategic concerns — some call it populist, he calls it “America First”. 

The president was elected on that platform, and the American people have to live with their choice, but Washington cannot continue to send conflicting messages on its stand on flash points across the globe.

The Middle East, in particular, already suffers from several conflicts awaiting resolution, it does not need more fuel on its fires. 

Trump had made promises to solve the Palestinian problem in an “ultimate deal”, but he has yet to exhibit the kind of leadership that can deliver on this promise.

 

The White House should consider getting its act together. The world still looks up to the US; it should not disappoint expectations.

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