Donald Trump's highly personal style of diplomacy

Donald Trump in front of the US presidential seall Image copyright Reuters

Donald Trump began his presidency as a reluctant traveller but he seems to be getting a taste for it. After his squabbles with the G7 in Canada and his bromance with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, the US president will in a few weeks' time once more venture forth onto the world stage.

This time Air Force One will descend on Brussels for the four-yearly summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. And in many European capitals, ministers are already biting their nails.

They know they will once again be urged by Mr Trump to spend more on their own defence. But what is worrying them more is the fear that Nato will be the next multilateral international organisation to be subject to the president's diplomatic fire and fury.

Last weekend the G7 summit was dominated by Mr Trump's decision to impose trade tariffs on his allies, a divisive act that meant the meeting ended in acrimony. The president signed up to the final communiqué and then withdrew his support, criticising his Canadian host with insulting tweets from Air Force One.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The G7 summit in Canada ended in controversy

And now he has taken the extraordinary step of using this transatlantic trade dispute to cast doubt on his support for Europe's collective defence. "We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade," he tweeted. "Change is coming!"

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Has Trump broken the special relationship?

Donald Trump and Theresa May Image copyright Getty Images

In two months' time US President Donald Trump will finally make his long-delayed visit to Britain.

There will be discussion about how much time he spends with the Queen, whether he holds Theresa May's hand as firmly he did at the White House last year and where he plays a round of golf. Many column inches will be wasted on why he has yet to be granted a full state visit.

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Iran deal: A failure of British and European diplomacy

Boris Johnson and Mike Pompeo Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to persuade US not to tear up the Iran deal

Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal represents a failure of British, French and German diplomacy.

They were unable to persuade the US president to change his mind.

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'No other options' for Commonwealth head?

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales talks to guests as he attends the Commonwealth Big Lunch on Wednesday Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The foundations for the Prince of Wales to take the lead had been laid

The Queen's very public plea that the Prince of Wales should succeed her as head of the Commonwealth may have surprised some of the government leaders sitting in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace.

But it came as no surprise to those within Whitehall who had been planning and campaigning for this moment for years.

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Syria decision looms for May

Theresa May Image copyright EPA

So is Britain hesitating before joining the United States and France in launching air strikes against Syrian targets?

Senior figures in Downing Street deny this adamantly. But there are some voices in Whitehall who believe Theresa May might be displaying her usual caution.

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Has the Russian row given UK diplomacy new focus?

Theresa May arriving at the European Council meeting in Brussels, 23 March 2018 Image copyright Getty Images

The WhatsApp group is both a bane and boon to modern working life. Her Majesty's Foreign and Commonwealth Office is no exception. And in a recent exchange between senior officials at King Charles Street a simple phrase expressed the collective frustration of many: "(Expletive) elephants!"

This was a reference to the increasing occupation of the foreign secretary with the welfare of animals. A brief perusal of Boris Johnson's Twitter feed confirms this. He is much concerned with the trafficking of pangolins.

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Russian spy: What now for the UK/Russia relationship?

  • 7 March 2018
  • From the section UK
A still image taken from an undated video shows Sergei Skripal Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A video still shows Sergei Skripal being detained by Russian security services in 2004

Britain's relations with Russia are already cool. The attempted murder of a former Russian spy in Salisbury could plunge that relationship even deeper into the diplomatic permafrost.

Before the basic facts of the case have been established, both sides have indulged in an early exchange of fire.

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Why Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's UK visit matters

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Media captionFive things about Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Mohammed bin Salman is just 32 years old. He is Saudi Arabia's crown prince - not its head of state - and he has only been in his post for nine months.

Yet when this relative novice on the world stage arrives in London on his first global tour since taking office, he will be granted the reddest of red carpets.

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Boris Johnson under pressure over jailed mum in Iran case

Boris Johnson Image copyright PA
Image caption Boris Johnson's visit to Iran will be his first as foreign secretary

When Boris Johnson arrives in Tehran this weekend, the foreign secretary will be required to perform some nifty diplomatic footwork even before he comes to address the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

For relations between Britain and the Islamic Republic of Iran are delicate at the best of times.

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How UK lost International Court of Justice place to India

UN Security Council Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption UN Security Council members cast their vote during a meeting on the election of five members of the International Court of Justice.

The International Court of Justice is the principal legal body of the United Nations. It is based in The Hague and its job is to settle disputes between states.

Lots of its work is highly technical and not exactly the stuff of the front pages. And let's be honest, many people would probably not have known that one of the 15 judges had always been British ever since the court was set up after the Second World War.

Read full article How UK lost International Court of Justice place to India