Amidst simultaneous global crises, Trump’s unpredictability stands as an unexpected, and perhaps unwelcome factor in the delicate world of high-stakes diplomacy.
No one is sure what the new American president will deliver during his debut in front of that iconic green marble wall.
No one can predict whether his scripted remarks will match with his off-the-cuff thoughts during photo ops with world leaders.
WATCH: Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly
North Korean aggression and the Iran nuclear deal are the kinds of meaty subjects that the UN was meant to deal with.
Now world leaders are preparing to hear from a president who isn’t even sure if the organization has much value.
Last year Trump slammed the UN as “not a friend of democracy” and “not a friend of freedom.”
Since being elected, he has tended to moderate his tone, but during a Monday session on reforming the organization he again complained about “bureaucracy and mismanagement,” saying he hopes to “make the United Nations great,” but noticeably “not great again,” perhaps implying that he believes the UN has never really accomplished much at all.
It’s against that backdrop that other heads of state and government are left to navigate their encounters with Trump, and it’s safe to say they’ll do so based on impressions gathered from afar.
By now, foreign delegations have no doubt seen video of Trump’s June cabinet meeting during which the very people he appointed to positions of power attempted to out-do each other when it came to public flattery of their boss. They went around the room offering increasing praise, as though their very survival depended on it.
The message that flattery guarantees access was no doubt heard loud and clear, leading to expectations that world leaders will play to Trump’s sizeable ego to get what they want.
WATCH BELOW: Cabinet members praise Trump in first full meeting
As a result, no one knows if the American president will stick with a strategy (if there is one), or whether all of that will be trumped by his desire to be acknowledged, accepted and even applauded.
Where all of that leaves the burning issues on the table is the big unknown. Trump may find the world is ready to work with him, or simply work around him.