Donald Trump’s first trip, to the Middle East and Europe rather than Canada or Mexico, looks fascinating on paper. The president will first visit Saudi Arabia, where is he slated to meet not only with King Salman but also the leaders of the other five Gulf Cooperation Council states. In addition, he is scheduled to meet with an unspecified number of leaders from elsewhere in the Muslim world in order, as the president put it, “to begin to construct a new foundation of cooperation and support with our Muslim allies to combat extremism, terrorism and violence and to embrace a more just and hopeful future for young Muslims in their countries.”
He will then visit Israel, where, in addition to meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he will give a major address at Masada, the desert fortress described by the Jewish historian Josephus as the locale for the Jews’ last stand against the Romans, some three years after the war of 68-70 BCE had ended. The president will also meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the second time in as many months. He will then meet with Pope Francis to discuss reconciliation among the Abrahamic faiths before attending the NATO summit in Brussels, where he will also meet with leaders of the European Union.