Saturday, June 9, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He agreed to, and then angrily withdrew from, a generic statement of support with America's allies.

Trump's brief appearance at the G7 summit in Quebec was reluctant at best. He came late, left early, and threw a bomb into the proceedings with his unscripted demand that Russia be allowed to rejoin the talks. But he tried to put a good face on the meetings he barely attended today, saying that in spite of all evidence to the contrary, scored the "level of the relationships" between the United States and its closest allies as a "ten"--out of ten, presumably. 

Later in the day, at the actual end of the conference with Trump en route to Singapore, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that all member nations, including the United States, had agreed to sign a joint communique.

The text of that statement is deliberately non-controversial, and had little to do with what Trudeau said next: that Canada would go ahead with retaliatory tariffs against the United States in response to the steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump imposed on Canada. Trudeau repeated his statement from last week that labeling Canada as a national security threat to the United States (a necessary legal condition for Trump to impose them without Congressional approval) was insulting.

Aboard Air Force One, a seemingly enraged Trump retracted the US endorsement of the joint statement via Twitter, calling Trudeau "very dishonest & weak." 

Destabilizing the relationship between the United States and other leading democracies is a major foreign policy goal of the Putin regime. 

Why is this bad?

  • A president who levies tariffs on major trade partners and then is surprised when there is retaliation is economically illiterate.
  • As a general rule, a president who consistently angers our allies and pleases our enemies is doing a bad job.
  • Canada is not a national security threat to the United States.