Senator John McCain (R-Az), the Republican who has emerged as President Trump’s leading foreign policy critic, spent Tuesday in talks with Saudi officials in Riyadh. McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, arrived in Saudi Arabia after a trip to Turkey where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Details of the meetings were not forthcoming by either McCain’s people or by the hosting governments beyond the basic diplo-speak about useful meetings. But the McCain tour comes on the eve of another round of talks in Geneva aimed at ending the six-year old Syrian civil war. Besides the fighting by rebels to oust President Bashar Al-Assad, separate battles to neutralize the Islamic State are also taking place on Syrian soil and that battle includes the participation of American forces. The McCain visit also comes against the backdrop of the give-and-take between the Senator and the President over relations with Russia. While Trump is being accused by both Republicans and Democrats of being too close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, McCain strongly opposes acting warm-and-fuzzy with the Russian strong man. Some observers are suggesting that the disunity between Trump and McCain will result in an unclear and confusing presentation to US allies of America’s foreign policy.
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