The image is telling.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is leaning in across a long table. Over her left shoulder is Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, arms crossed in consternation. Standing just over Merkel’s right shoulder is French president Emmanuel Maron, British prime minister Theresa May flanking him.
Seated across from them is Donald Trump, arms crossed in recalcitrance as National Security Advisor John Bolton looks down at him.
Trump, the outlier, appears isolated, immature, vapid.
That table separating them is the ideological gulf the United States now peers across at what used to be its western allies.
Last weekend’s G-7 summit in Charlevoix, Quebec sent a tacit message to the countries we rely on for trade, negotiations, and diplomacy: “The U.S. is going it alone from now on. Don’t call us. We won’t call you.”
Trump did not want to attend the meeting, and did so only in protest.
He arrived late.
He insulted the other world leaders.
He maintained his obstinate stance on tariffs, even those he imposed on Canada, because of “national security” reasons.
“It used to be the G8 because Russia was in it. Now, Russia’s not in it. Now, I love our country. I have been Russia’s worst nightmare. But with that being said, Russia should be in this meeting. Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting? They threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in, should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
Instead, he left early for his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
That’s right–the president of the United States shuns those who are supposed to be his democratic allies to share a photo op with a man whom a 2014 United Nations report says engages in practices that:
“Entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”
“[Kim is a] tough guy. Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have – if you can do that at 27 years old, that’s one in 10,000 could do that. So he’s a very smart guy, he’s a great negotiator and I think we understand each other.”
So much for the United States continuing the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman who forged a post-World War II network that has so far prevented another similar global catastrophe.
So much for the position of leadership and cooperation the United States once had in maintaining stability.
So much for keeping our friends close and enemies closer, as the saying goes.
In response to the president’s embarrassing performance, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) tweeted:
“To our allies: bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro-globalization & supportive of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn’t.”
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) tweeted:
“With every brash tweet, President Trump concedes the US’s role as leader of the free world.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded:
“This week started with
@realDonaldTrump boosting a Chinese company identified as a national security threat to the U.S. It ended with him standing up for Russia and alienating our allies at the G7. #MAGA“
Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY), followed with:
“Are we executing Putin’s diplomatic and national security strategy or AMERICA’s diplomatic and national security strategy? After the last few days, it’s hard to tell.”
“The rules-based international order is being challenged…not by the usual suspects but by its main architect and guarantor, the United States. We will not stop trying to convince our American friends and President Trump that undermining this order makes no sense at all, because it would only play into the hands of those who seek a new, post-West order, where liberal democracy and fundamental freedoms would cease to exist.”
French president Macron–not one to tweet his foreign policy views as liberally as Trump–tweeted last week:
“The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be. Because these 6 countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force.”
Those who celebrate Trump’s isolationist policies are getting their wish.
Just hope and pray we don’t have the war Trump wants lest we have no allies on which to rely.
Image credit: edition.cnn.com