President Donald Trump visited troops in a war zone for the first time on the day after Christmas, flying to Iraq for a short visit where he compromised the security of the operation with a selfie and delivered a widely panned political stump speech complete with his customary entrance and exit music from his campaigns.
Iraqi leadership was given almost no notice of the visit, for what the Trump team claimed were security reasons, and took the jaunt as an affront to their nation's sovereignty. The Iraqi government may soon vote to expel American troops.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill said Trump's visit underlined what's wrong with his foreign policy, and how things could play out in the future now that the relationship is fractured.
"We are contributing to the problems," he said. "I mean, look at the visit to the troops. I mean, long overdue, better late than never, so it's done. But it is someone else's country. It's the Iraqis' country. Why not have a meeting with the prime minister? These things don't seem to happen because, frankly, the president doesn't seem to care. The consequences, you have a whole Iraqi parliament now sort of wondering, do they want any U.S. Troops there."
Former President Barck Obama had to engage in sticky negotiations with the Iraqis after ISIS became a threat to the U.S., Hill said, and trump just made such a deal impossible.
"You recall that one of the big issues back during the Obama Administration was not just that President Obama wanted to pull the troops out. It was more complex than that. He had a problem because the Iraqis were not giving us a status of forces agreement for our troops, meaning that if our troops stayed, they would be subject to Iraqi law," he said. "And now the president I think has made it much more difficult. And the reason is, he just doesn't care."