Trump's troubles at home overshadow first trip overseas, 'New journey' for US-Saudi relations, Shift in US-Saudi relations more style than substance, How Rouhani's second term could differ from his first, One Belt One Road requires peace in South Sudan
A roundup of global commentary for the June 5, 2017, weekly magazine.
The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia
Trump's troubles at home overshadow his first trip overseas
"[President Trump] probably thought the world’s focus would turn away from the FBI and towards the President’s first official overseas trip, for eight days through four countries...," states an editorial. "[But] at every meeting Mr Trump’s standing will be compromised by the bubbling swamp he left behind in Washington.... Until Mr Trump begins to show a consistency in strategy about global affairs, and until he is cleared over the Russian allegations, much of what he says on the world stage, especially in Middle East where Moscow has been playing a key role, will ring hollow."
Arab News / Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
'New journey' for US-Saudi relations inspires hope
"There is undoubtedly a positive message being sent when a US president chooses Saudi Arabia ... as his first foreign destination...," writes Sheikh Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa. "[W]ith President Trump’s arrival in Saudi Arabia, we are filled with hope of starting a new journey together. This positive message from the US is an indication of the weight and prominence that Saudi Arabia is privileged to enjoy in the Islamic world.... With such a positive attitude, and so long as he is eager to serve justice, we welcome President Trump’s initiatives with open arms and pray that our cooperation makes the relationship between Muslims and America great again."
The Economist / London
Shift in US-Saudi relations under Trump is more style than substance
"[W]hile Candidate Trump taunted the Saudis, President Trump has embraced them, making the kingdom his first foreign destination," states The Economist. "In Riyadh, the capital, on May 20th-21st, he sought to reassure Muslim leaders and draw a sharp contrast with Barack Obama’s foreign policy.... [F]requent criticism of Iran was just one way in which Mr Trump and his hosts sought to underscore how different things are under the new administration.... But the changes have been in style more than substance. Mr Trump has not ripped up the nuclear agreement with Iran and, like Mr Obama, said he would avoid ‘sudden interventions’ in the region. Moreover ... [Obama] visited the kingdom more times and sold the Saudis more weapons than any other American president before him."
The Hindu / Chennai, India
How Rouhani's second term could differ from his first
"The resounding victory of President Hassan Rouhani, who had sought re-election on a platform of moderation and engagement with the outside world, is a strong endorsement by the Iranian people for political change...," states an editorial. "In the first term, Mr. Rouhani treaded cautiously. His focus was on the nuclear negotiations Iran was undertaking with six world powers and he was averse to upsetting the conservative establishment.... Now that the nuclear deal is done and he has a second term, it is time for Mr. Rouhani to act boldly.... Any attempt to introduce rapid changes will meet with strong resistance from the deep state. But Presidents can pursue a gradualist reform agenda with popular support."
The East African / Nairobi, Kenya
One Belt, One Road initiative cannot succeed without peace in South Sudan
"With South Sudan currently trapped in a deadly civil war, any plans to regionally integrate East Africa are likely to prove fruitless unless the root causes of the war in South Sudan are immediately addressed...," writes Peter Biar Ajak, coordinator of the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum. "Peace in South Sudan is key to ensuring that everyone in the region shares the economic gains and prosperity generated by [One Belt, One Road]. As China begins to more clearly define and consolidate its vision for OBOR for East Africa, now would be the time for it to drive efforts to create a political environment that would enable OBOR to thrive in the years to come.... In these desperate times, China must not retreat from providing leadership to end the bloodshed and violence in South Sudan."