No, that's not a typo in the headline. Yes, technically, it's still the G-7 because Trump hasn't officially withdrawn the United States from it. But clearly he'd like to. His hostility toward the Atlantic Alliance and America's other allies is not far from legendary status. He's spent decades making absurd and economically ignorant accusations about how our trading partners are "screwing" us and "shaking us down" on mutual defense through NATO. His 2016 campaign was marked by threats to scuttle NATO altogether as well as pulling back from the Western Pacific and leaving Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to fend for themselves, even to the extent of the reversal of seventy-plus years of U.S. nuclear nonproliferation policy by suggesting that the Pacific Rim nations build their own nukes. He absolutely revels in playing the victim and depicting America as the hapless dupe of the world that never "fights back". If he's not pretending to be Captain America being swarmed over by Thanos's Outrider army, he morosely doesn't know what to do with himself.
The thing is, Trump can never play the part of Thor, eyes aflame, clearing the field of battle with one mighty swing of Stormbreaker. Besides, he'd much rather pal up to Thanos himself, or in this instance, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jin-Ping, and the other dictators he seems to admire so much. They had their own gathering over the weekend in Qingdao, China, dubbed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization - kind of a Legion of Doom to counter the G-7's Justice League - and it went far smoother and more cordially and coherently than the Battle of Quebec:
As U.S. President Donald Trump left the Group of Seven nations in turmoil this weekend, China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin were putting on a very different show on the other side of the world.
On Sunday, Xi and Putin toasted the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an eight-member bloc designed to coordinate security policies across Asia. The group, which welcomed new members India and Pakistan, as well as the presidents of Iran and Mongolia, pledged to increase cooperation on energy and agriculture and create more favorable conditions on trade and investment.
Remember all the time and effort President Bush43 put into crafting an Indo-American alliance last decade? Good times, good times.
The carefully choreographed affair contrasted with the discord in Canada, as Trump disavowed the G-7’s joint statement and criticized his host, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Even as the scope of the breakdown over U.S. tariffs became clear, Xi was taking the podium to criticize what he said were new forms of “unilateralism” and “protectionism.”
“We oppose the practice of sacrificing other countries’ security for their own absolute security,” Xi told a gathering of the SCO’s heads of state in the Chinese port of Qingdao. “We need to reject selfish, short-sighted and closed policies, uphold the rules of the World Trade Organization, support the multilateral trading system and build an open world economy.”
China’s state-run media had fun with the contrasting images of the feuding democratic states and the orderly proceedings of the China- and Russian-led bloc. The English-language Twitter of account of the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper posted photos of a tense scene in La Malbaie, Quebec, and another of Xi and Putin smiling, with the caption, “G7 vs SCO: two meetings on the same day.”
Leave it to Donald Trump to achieve the seemingly impossible feat of enabling the ruler of the biggest communist power on the planet to sound like a Western, capitalist statesman - even, God help us, a constitutionalist. A role that is supposed to belong to the president of the United States, but which Barack Obama forfeited and Trump has not the slightest desire or inclination to revive. He prefers to make a complete ass of himself and humiliate his country in front of the entire world by drowning himself in contrived fits of puerile, chowderheaded pique.
Let's recall that it was Trump who launched this unprovoked economic attack on Europe, Canada, and Mexico in the first place as a cudgel to bully his way into new trade negotiations, including fixing what isn't broken with NAFTA, boasting that "trade wars are fun and easy to win!" He even "magnanimously" granted his targets - who, again, are our closest allies - temporary waivers for a couple of months, then abruptly rescinded them, declaring that negotiations weren't proceeding to his satisfaction - which is to say, Europe, Canada, and Mexico weren't lying prostrate before him, groveling obsequiously like the bulk of Republicans have been reduced to doing. Having discovered that trade wars aren't as "fun" or "easy to win" as he thought they would be, and that, just as in shooting wars, no plan survives first contact with the "enemy" - in other words, his bluff has been called and our trading partners, far from rolling over, are retaliating in kind - he doesn't know what to do now except angrily double-down, like he always does when he screws up.
This was the context in which the Ultimate Trade Warrior and Destroyer of Global Economies journeyed north of the border. He may as well not have bothered, and joined his real friends in Qingdao instead (the cocktail party with Hassan Rouhani would have been a tad awkward, but I'm sure Mafia Don could have broken the ice). There certainly was no constructive reason for Trump to attend. I'm sure he had visions of Douglas MacArthur accepting the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. He certainly was trying to rip off Ronald Reagan's idealistic speech about imagining a world free of nuclear weapons when he attempted to apply the same motif to tariffs, which would have been a bad joke coming from him in any case but was a blatant insult coming from the very man who launched the Second Great Trade War. The Gipper didn't wax poetic about a world without nukes after having laid waste to dozens of Soviet cities, after all.
Yet despite this urine hurricane of pissing matches, this G-6/7 summit, as they all do, rolled out a "joint statement" that amounted to an eight-page "Boris The Animal Protocol" ("Let's agree to disagree"). On trade ("combat [American] protectionism and cut [Trump-imposed] trade barriers"), "climate change," Iranian nukes (on both of which our allies are tetched in the head), and Russian aggression (of which Trump is a yuge fan). As joint pledges go, it was rank diplodiddling fiction and everybody knew it, but it's just what is done.
None of the above is to extol the virtues of the allied leaders in question. Justin "Boy" Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister, is an orthodox liberal, which doesn't make him an enemy, but simply....Canadian. French President Emmanuel Macron is a "centrist," which on the European ideological scale makes him Boy Trudeau's sidekick. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's crazy open borders policy via-a-vie the flooding of Europe with Muslim "immigrants" isn't any less insane than it ever was, and her "center-right" status doesn't mean what it used to mean over here prior to Trumpageddon. But they and their countries are - or were - our allies. And Trump's whiny petulance made them, just like Chairman Xi, sound like statespeople of Churchillian stature.
Trudeau, as was his prerogative as summit host, got in the last word:
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has closed the G7 summit by issuing a strong rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade threats, calling them “kind of insulting” and saying they would be met with retaliatory measures from July. “Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will not be pushed around,” Trudeau told reporters on Saturday....
“What we did this weekend was come together, roll up our sleeves and figure out a consensus language that we could all agree to,” Trudeau said in the town of La Malbaie where leaders have been meeting since Friday morning.
“Obviously the president will continue to say what he says.” Trudeau again denounced Trump’s decision to invoke national security concerns to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel as “insulting” to the Canadian war veterans who had fought alongside U.S. allies.
And he said he told Trump “it would be with regret but it would be with absolute clarity and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on July 1st, applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that the Americans have unjustly applied to us.”
Good for Trudeau. He did what any good "nationalist" would do: stood up for his country and its interests. You'd think that would be something that Trump could respect. A true "nationalist" could and would respect it, but not an insecure narcissist masochistically infatuated with the butthurt of a thousand imagined slights. Having bailed early for his hot date with the Un-dictator, Trump rage-tweeted about Trudeau's "lies" and being "very dishonest" - another appallingly oblivious jab coming from the man who lies like he breathes- and to renege on the summit joint statement. Which may have been the only honest thing Trump did at this shindig.
He sent his surrogates out on search and destroy sorties as well:
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow blasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Sunday for what he called “double crossing” President Trump with critical comments about U.S. trade policy.
Kudlow called Trudeau’s press conference a “sophomoric, political stunt for domestic consumption.”
“President Trump played that process in good faith. So, I ask you: He gets up in the airplane and leaves, and then Trudeau starts blasting him at a domestic news conference? I am sorry, that’s a betrayal. That’s a double cross," Kudlow told Tapper.
My God, what has happened to Larry Kudlow? The same thing that has happened to every other formerly reputable conservative who has swilled the Trump-Aid: he's been corrupted into a mindless hack. He was once an honest, free-market capitalist of impeccable integrity and eloquence. Now he's just another chickenbleep redcap spewing the psychologically projective Cheeto Caesar party line. "Played the process in good faith" by mounting a pre-emptive economic attack? Accusing Trump's victims of "back-stabbing" and Trudeau of "sophomoric political stunts"? Does Kudlow not know who his boss is? Or does The Donald just resent the perceived gimmick infringement?
The Canucks only paused long enough to reload and then returned fire:
Canada is standing firm on its displeasure with Donald Trump’s tariff moves — and is calling out sharp attacks by Trump advisers of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as neither “appropriate or useful.”
At a news conference Sunday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called out remarks by Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow and White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro.
She also said that Canada is "very measured" and that country officials "use fact-based arguments."
I guess "alternative facts" aren't allowed, then?
France warned Sunday that "fits of anger" could not dictate international cooperation after U.S. president Donald Trump abruptly rejected a joint statement agreed following a bad-tempered G7 summit in Canada.
"International cooperation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks," President Emmanuel Macron's office said in a statement to AFP.
"We spend two days working out a (joint) statement and commitments. We are sticking to them and whoever reneges on them is showing incoherence and inconsistency.
"Let's be serious and worthy of our people. We make commitments and keep them," the presidency said, adding that "France and Europe maintain their support for this (G7) statement."
....as did the Germans:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s allies attacked Donald Trump for reneging on a Group of Seven joint statement, saying the remaining G-7 countries must now stick closer together to steer global policy.
“The step he took after the meeting, withdrawing his acceptance of the communique, is an affront,” said Juergen Hardt, a lawmaker and spokesman for foreign policy within Merkel’s CDU/CSU caucus. “Without question, we need to remain in talks with the USA. The remaining G-7 states must move even closer together in order to remain advocates for rational global politics.”...
“An extraordinary amount of trust can be destroyed very quickly with just a tweet,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted on Sunday. “It’s that much more important that Europe stands together and defends its interests even more aggressively.”
What a colossal FUBAR. Whereas Barack Obama meekly prostrated the United States to the rest of the world, Donald Trump is actively doing everything he possibly can to turn the rest of the world against us. Except for enemies like Russia, Red China, Iran, North Korea, etc., who were already against us but Trump obstinately persists in courting anyway.
I bet he really will attend next year's Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in lieu of the G-6/7 meeting. Czar Vlad will make sure of it.