Nov. 3, 2017
Heather Hurlburt wrote about what to look for during Trump's trip to Asia for New York Magazine.
Like President Trump’s previous big foreign trips to Europe and the Middle East, his ten-day Asia trip promises plenty of fodder for GIFs, gaffes, and spectacle. Already, the Economist is reporting that Japanese department stores have put Trump’s Virginia wines on sale at large markups. China’s ambassador to the U.S. is referring to the level of pomp it plans for the visit as “head-of-state-plus.”
Given the troubled history of U.S.–China summits, that “plus” could mean just about anything. George H.W. Bush famously threw up at a banquet, and Bill Clinton had a great humiliation when a staffer had a banner calling the relationship a “strategic partnership” hung, only to have to take it down (in front of reporters) after Cabinet officials vetoed the idea that the relationship with the repressive regime was a “strategic partnership.”
But behind the tweets, here are four of the key areas that beleaguered American diplomats will focus on — often with their fingers crossed that the president doesn’t do something rash to undermine U.S. interests (or safety):