Contributor

Nick Wadhams

Saudi Demands of Qatar Test for Tillerson’s Gulf Strategy

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted this week that Saudi Arabia spell out exactly what Qatar must do to end the diplomatic and economic isolation its neighbors imposed. Now the Saudis have answered, and the results probably aren’t what the top U.S. diplomat had in mind.

Russia Cancels Talks With U.S. Over Latest Round of Sanctions

Russia canceled talks with a top U.S. official to protest the latest sanctions punishing Russian companies and individuals over the conflict in Ukraine, in a fresh setback for President Donald Trump’s bid to improve ties with President Vladimir Putin’s government.

New Saudi Heir Built the Right Ties in Trump's White House

The new heir to the Saudi throne has been cultivating ties to some of the most influential officials in Donald Trump’s White House, already dining twice with the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Tillerson Signals Impatience With Saudi-Led Allies Over Qatar

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s spokeswoman signaled his patience is wearing thin as a dispute between a Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Qatar drags into a third week, saying the U.S. is “mystified” that the group hasn’t done more to show how the country can end its isolation.

Venezuela Crisis at Center of U.S. Diplomatic Push in Mexico

The Trump administration is seeking to spur negotiations to end Venezuela’s political crisis, pressing Western Hemisphere nations meeting in Mexico this week to set up a mechanism for new talks to resolve a threat to regional stability.

Tillerson Cancels Mexico Trip to Focus on Qatar Crisis

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson canceled a trip to Mexico to try to resolve a crisis in the Persian Gulf sparked by a Saudi-led coalition’s move to isolate Qatar over its ties to Iran and militant groups.

Senators Slam Tillerson for Proposed State Department Cuts

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson faced withering criticism from senators of both parties over President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash his agency’s budget by about 28 percent, with lawmakers saying in a day of hearings there was no chance the cuts would be allowed to pass.

Trump Weighs Slowing Cuba Opening by Curbing U.S. Tourism

President Donald Trump plans to follow through on a campaign promise by rolling back the Obama administration’s effort to open Cuba to U.S. tourism and trade, with new limits being considered on travel and investment as the administration targets the country’s human rights abuses.

Trump Says He Backed Saudi-Led Diplomatic Isolation of Qatar

President Donald Trump said he backed a Saudi Arabia-led movement to isolate Qatar over its funding of extremist groups, once again sending conflicting signals about the U.S. stance in a dispute between American allies in the Gulf region.

Trump Says He Planned to Fire ‘Showboat’ FBI Chief All Along

President Donald Trump said he would have fired former FBI Director James Comey, who he called a “grandstander,” no matter the recommendation from two top Justice Department officials, contrasting with earlier White House assertions that he was merely accepting their advice.

FBI Chief Disputes Trump on Comey as Hearing Veers Off Course

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe dismissed White House claims that the bureau’s rank and file had lost confidence in James Comey before President Donald Trump fired him, defending his former boss and vowing to press ahead with a probe into links between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign.

Tillerson ‘Emphatic’ About Need to Halt South China Sea Buildup

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered an “emphatic” message to foreign ministers from Southeast Asian nations that militarization and construction in the South China Sea must stop while territorial disputes in the area are worked out, a senior U.S. official said.

Tillerson Seeks to Lift Damaged Morale at State With a Pep Talk

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told his department’s 75,000 employees that the U.S. must leave behind Cold War-era thinking during an appearance aimed at dispelling anxiety about his intentions amid planned budget cuts and a slow pace in hiring for top positions.

Branstad Open to Sanctions on China Over North Korea

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to China, said there “may well be” a role for sanctions to punish Chinese companies that do business with North Korea in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Tillerson Seeking 9% Cut to U.S. State Department Workforce, Sources Say

The State Department plans to cut 2,300 U.S. diplomats and civil servants -- about 9 percent of the Americans in its workforce worldwide -- as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presses ahead with his task of slashing the agency’s budget, according to people familiar with the matter.

U.S. Pushes Sanctions, Diplomacy as North Korea Threat Grows

U.S. national security leaders emphasized economic sanctions and diplomacy to persuade North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, even as the Pentagon ramps up its military presence in the region with an aircraft carrier battle group and submarine.

Trump Personally Intervened to Toughen Iran Deal Letter

President Donald Trump personally intervened to inject tougher language into a State Department letter to Congress last week that found Iran was in compliance with the deal limiting its nuclear program, according to an administration official familiar with the matter.

U.S. Says It's Encouraged by China's Help Pressing N. Korea

The U.S. has gotten encouraging signs that China will act to pressure Kim Jong Un’s regime to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, a State Department official said, but the Trump administration is holding on to military action -- alone or with allies -- as an option.

Tillerson's Hard Power Focus Leaves Little Room for Human Rights

Just a few feet from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Turkey’s foreign minister stood at a podium lambasting the U.S. for supporting Kurdish fighters in Syria, refusing to extradite a cleric his government blames for a 2016 coup attempt and arresting a banker accused of sanctions violations.

Next Stop Beijing: Tillerson to Press China on North Korea

For Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the easier part of his Asia trip is over. After checking in with allies Japan and South Korea he heads Saturday to China, a country President Donald Trump blasted again on Friday for not doing enough to rein in North Korea.