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World Lives to the Beat of Trump’s Surprises | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Painted Matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, bearing the faces of U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and other political leaders are displayed for sale at a souvenir shop in central Moscow, Russia, November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Washington- U.S. President Donald Trump has shocked the world by a series of executive decisions taken during his first week at the White House, and disturbed international relations and Washington’s allies who are now following his foreign policy on Twitter.

On Thursday, Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a scheduled visit to Washington after Trump ordered the building of the Border Wall between the two countries.

Trump had tweeted that it would be better to skip the meeting if Peña Nieto continued to insist Mexico would not pay for the wall — something the Mexican leader had said as recently as Wednesday evening.

“If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting,” Trump tweeted.

However, Trump later announced that cancelling the visit was a joint decision taken by both parties.

Also, in another escalatory step, the White House announced on Thursday that Trump is planning to make Mexico pay for the border wall expenses by imposing a 20 percent tax on imports to the United States, which he said would raise billions of dollars.

At the same level, Moscow and Ankara were both surprised when Trump ordered on Wednesday the Pentagon and the State Department to form a plan for setting up “safe zones” in Syria to protect refugees fleeing violence.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov commented on Trump’s remarks, saying that the U.S. has not consulted with Russia on the decision to create a safe zone.

“No, our American partners have not consulted with us. It is their own decision. What is important to us is that it [the decision] does not make the situation for refugees worse, and all of the outcomes must be assessed,” Peskov said.

For its part, Turkey said it was waiting to see the outcome of Trump’s pledge to order safe zones in Syria.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Huseyin Muftuoglu said on Thursday in Ankara: “We have seen the U.S. President’s request for conducting a study. What’s important are the results of this study and what kind of recommendation will come out.”

Trump’s decision sprawls many question marks concerning the policy followed by the new administration and which contradicts the one that preceded it, particularly that enforcing a safe zone in Syria would require the immense military presence of U.S. forces in the region.