Given the media's obsession with some of the President Trump's communication challenges, it was utterly predictable that the President's declaration that his trip to Europe and the Middle East should be considered a "home run" was met almost universally with ridicule. In truth, the President actually did accomplish a series of victories overseas, or at least laid important groundwork that should help advance American interests in ways that prior Administrations have failed to do. It's a shame that these developments have been ignored among the din of partisanship.
From my perspective President Trump reasserted American leadership in the primary security challenge of our day, namely the defeat of radical Islamic terrorism. He also struck deals that could prove financial windfalls to U.S. industry. The President ran on security and prosperity and that was precisely the thrust of the trip.
Trump's first stop was Saudi Arabia, the keeper of the most holy places in Islam, the most influential of the Sunni Arab states and the one with whom America has long enjoyed close relations. Over the previous eight years Sunni Arabs had been increasingly dismayed by the Obama Administration's tilt towards friendship with Shiite Iran and her allies. (This change resulted in the Iran Nuclear Treaty which is widely despised among Sunnis.) Given that some had concluded that Trump had won the presidency on in part through anti-Islam rhetoric, his meetings in Saudi Arabia should do much to quell anxiety in America's most important Islamic allies.
Possibly even of more significance was King Saud's invitation to Trump to address the leaders of 50 Sunni Arab states, something never done before by a U.S. President. In his speech the President offered traditional American leadership, but in return demanded cooperation in the ideological battle with radical Islam. He exhorted Arab leaders to "Drive them out. Drive them out of your places of worship ... your communities ... your holy land ... out of this earth."
To achieve this he announced the opening of the new Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology to be located symbolically in Saudi Arabia. He assured his audience that while "America seeks peace-not war. ... Our friends will never question our support and our enemies will never doubt out determination." If any doubted Trump's conviction, his ordering of a 59 Tomahawk Cruise missile strike into Syria on April 6th and the dropping of the CBU 43/B 'Mother Of all Bombs' in Afghanistan on April 14th, proved the determination of his words. All 50 national leaders signed an agreement designed to starve ISIS of international funds. This is an achievement that the mainstream press has bent over backwards to ignore.
But the biggest take away from Saudi Arabia may be financial. The Saudis agreed to a $100 billion arms purchase from the U.S. and a $400 billion joint investment in oil, gas, and high technology. Many have concluded that these deals could lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S.
With positive accolades from the Saudis, Trump went to Israel for meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu. While the President did not make any mention of a 'two-state' solution, the message was clear that Trump felt very positive that a long sought peace deal was possible between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Furthermore, in what appeared to be very friendly and positive meetings, he assured Israelis that America would "...never, ever allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon."