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John Dickerson: Trump's Global Stance Remains Unclear

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Face The Nation Moderator John Dickerson questioned the consistency of the Trump administration's foreign policy message, pointing out contrary statements and positions Trump and his staff have taken during their first two weeks in office during an interview with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.

In discussing an attack by Iranian-backed Houthi militants on a Saudi Arabian ship in Yemen, Dickerson said Trump's reaction seems to clash with the tone he set on the campaign trail.


"You've got the National Security Adviser telling Iran that they're on notice because Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi ship. Now, for an administration that's come in and talked about not being adventuresome all over the world, I wonder if people think that Houthi rebels who attack a Saudi ship are a reason for the US to put Iran on notice? It's a little complicated. You've got to know that Iran is backing the Houthis. But are they backing the Houthis as much as the Russians are backing forces in Ukraine?

He stated that the White House also seemed hypocritical in threatening a response following an Iranian missile test.

"In Donald Trump's inauguration, he said countries have a right to pursue their national interest within their own borders. Well, Iran can argue that having missiles to defend itself are a part of pursuing its national interest. Everything that's happening is interesting to me because it's not just the specific facts of the case, but it sets up some understanding of what and how the new President is going to react to things that are happening in the world."

Dickerson also pointed to statements from UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reaffirming that sanctions leveled against Russia for interfering in our election to ask whether or not too many voices are claiming to speak for the administration?

"That was fascinating, basically saying that, until they get out of Crimea, the sanctions are going to stay. That, exactly, is really interesting. Is Nikki Haley sending the administrations message? Or is Donald Trump? It's certainly been a question since he became President-elect, which is who is the one who speaks for US policy? Is it Michael Flynn? Is it Nikki Haley? Is it Donald Trump? How do countries know who to listen to? Not just the countries that are being spoken to directly, but what do the Balkan states take about the US position now towards Russia?

He thinks the world is watching the Trump transition and waiting to see how they will deal international crises and incidents.

"The reason this is, obviously, all important is because the President launched his first his first raid as President in Yemen and it was quite hairy and there was a US serviceman who died and it did not go smoothly, not that a SEAL Team Six raid, it's not a picnic but real things are exploding and real people are dying and real decisions are being made. It's just not a decision that was made in Yemen for the US strike, but also what's being set up for confrontations with Iran, confrontations that are not happening or are going to happen with Russia and that's the big deal stuff that's happening here in Washington."


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