President Donald Trump appears to be adopting more conventional positions aligned with decades of U.S. foreign-policy making and diplomacy, pulling back from some of the more unorthodox promises he advanced as a candidate.
In recent dealings with Asia and the Middle East, Russia and European allies, Mr. Trump has showed more deference to the consensus views taken by past Republican and Democratic administrations. The coming week provides another set of tests, with visits by the leaders of Canada and Israel scheduled.
A weekend missile launch from North Korea offered a vivid illustration of how Mr. Trump has abandoned crowd-pleasing campaign rhetoric in the face of real-world threats. As a candidate, Mr. Trump said a U.S. defense agreement with Japan was unfair, permitting the Japanese to sit home and watch “Sony” TV while the U.S. was attacked.
With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting his Mar-a-Lago estate, the two men made a joint appearance Saturday night in response to the missile launch and Mr. Trump proclaimed that the “United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100%.”
Mr. Trump’s evolution comes as his foreign-policy team has taken shape, with Jim Mattis and Rex Tillerson confirmed by the Senate and firmly in place at the Defense and State departments, respectively.
“He’s getting more advice and he seems to see wisdom in greater orthodoxy,” said Jon Alterman, who runs the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a think tank.