Diplomats Jarred by Trump's 'Cavalier' Phone Calls

White House wants him to tap State Dept. expertise before the calls
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2016 9:01 AM CST
Diplomats Jarred by Trump's 'Cavalier' Phone Calls
President-elect Donald Trump speaks during the first stop of his post-election tour on Thursday in Cincinnati.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(Newser) – Donald Trump isn't exactly known for following protocol, but his penchant for picking up the horn to talk with world leaders is causing special concern among US and world diplomats, the New York Times reports. The president-elect has been speaking with heads of state—some say with no preparation and on personal phone lines—including a recent call with Kazakhstan President (and "enduring dictator") Nursultan Nazarbayev in which he called the country's "success" a "miracle." The paper says this week's call with Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif has so far "caused the most angst" due to what White House press secretary Josh Earnest deems the "quite complicated" relationship between the two countries. The Times notes the Pakistani readout of that conversation left some DC diplomats thinking it was a joke.

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Daniel F. Feldman, a former special rep to Afghanistan and Pakistan, says Trump's "cavalier" approach to the calls could be dangerous, especially those involving nuclear-armed regions. "He's made himself not only a bull in a china shop, but a bull in a nuclear china shop," he notes. The White House has offered to help Trump out. "I'm confident that as ... Trump takes office, those same State Department employees [who helped Obama] will stand ready to offer him advice as he conducts the business of the United States overseas," Earnest says. "Hopefully he'll take it." The Times piece has more on how Obama has carefully handled Pakistan, a country he never visited as president. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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