I spent the last week abroad in both Europe and Asia watching as the Trump administration continued to inject chaos into the world of domestic and international politics.

First came the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the President’s travel ban, targeting mostly Muslim-majority countries. It’s important to state upfront that this is the way our country – and constitution – works. The Supreme Court has had the final say in many of the major milestones in America’s history. I’m no legal scholar, so I won’t try to argue the details of the decision itself.

However, while the Court may have reached what it thought was the correct legal decision, it is certainly unhelpful for America’s interests abroad. There are so many Muslim-majority nations we need on our side right now (Indonesia, Malaysia, Jordan, the UAE, Egypt – just to name a few) to stabilize the region. How are we to expect that they’ll stand with us in defending Israel or the fight against ISIS, when we are projecting an image of intolerance and fear? Furthermore, as I told the team at Morning Joe, this decision will serve as an influential recruiting tool for al-Qaida, ISIS, and the other extremist groups we’re trying, desperately, to contain.

Moving from SCOTUS to POTUS, the President has reverted to his campaign stance of attacking NATO, allegedly calling it “as bad a NAFTA,” just weeks before heading to the annual NATO Summit in Brussels. To add salt to the wound, President Trump will meet with Vladimir Putin just days after meeting with NATO leaders. A quick reminder: Putin’s number one foreign policy goal is to dismantle the NATO alliance. I don’t need to tell you how this looks.

POTUS’ comments provide another layer of distraction and diminish the key issues that should be up for discussion: Russian aggression and interference in elections, Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan, where 25,000 NATO troops are still engaged in serious fighting.

The NATO alliance is crucial to finding a path to a negotiated ending to Afghanistan’s violent civil war. As I wrote in Bloomberg, two vital fronts of this challenge are closely linked: addressing the endemic problem of corruption and finding a viable economic model for the country.  And a key source of both potential wealth and ongoing corruption is Afghanistan’s abundance of minerals, thought to be worth as much as $1 trillion by some sources. Unlike illegal drugs, mineral resources could be generating major legal revenue for the Afghan government. Instead, they are fueling conflict and corruption.

This directly relates to one of the key weaknesses of the U.S. – and NATO’s – mission since 2001. Afghanistan’s mines powerfully illustrate how governance problems like corruption and illegal mining are not just about development – they are hard-edged issues of national security.

Corruption is a weapon system in the hands of the Taliban – and, increasingly, the Islamic State – which uses it to fund their military offensives, undermine the democratically elected government, and harm the people they once ruled with astonishing cruelty. Corruption is also at the heart of the West’s failure to stabilize this war-torn nation and ultimately find a path to peace.

If our world leaders were able to focus on issues like this, and not the latest rogue comment from the White House, they might be able to come up with some sustainable solutions.

As always, thanks for reading.

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