Trump also had a nice chat with Philippine President Duterte, who has been having strong second thoughts about his nation's relationship with the US. Duterte got an invite to the White House next year.
Trump just had a breezy chat with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, gushing with praise and offering to be any help he could. He got an invite to come visit the land of the Pakis. This makes India very nervous.
Trump sang a different tune in 2012, when his tweets about Pakistan specifically had a different tone entirely.
“Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend,” Trump tweeted. “We’ve given them billions and billions of dollars, and what did we get? Betrayal and disrespect — and much worse."
Good cop, bad cop?
Apparently, he did not discuss any of this with the State Department beforehand.
So, just like he did in the election, Trump is breaking the mold and stirring up everyone. I think he is establishing strong bargaining positions with everyone, and at the same time knocking everyone off balance. He seems like a loose cannon, but is he? It may be that he is setting up ways to manipulate each and all in a fashion suitable to himself and the interests of the US.
Certainly, Obama's foreign policy is a failure, so it can't be too far wrong to seek to reset everything at once.
Finally, his appointment of Mad Dog Mattis in Defense must be part of the chess game here. If push comes to shove, and it will with 100% certainty, somewhere on the globe, he can argue with the proverbial big stick at his back, a credible fighting military, while speaking softly, and make everyone believe him.
To me, it appears that Trump is setting up contacts with everyone, ignoring previous standards, and prepare thereby to negotiate using all his skills, from a position of strength and to some extent unpredictability. In any negotiation, you do not want to be all that predictable - you want you opponent to believe you both can and might do anything.
It may be genius. It may be the opposite of genius. We will see.
Meanwhile, the de jure President is doing….what?