How they see us: Shedding allies at the G-7
There’s simply no dealing with Donald Trump, said the Toronto Star (Canada) in an editorial. The U.S. president “sulked his way through” the G-7 meeting of Western leaders in Quebec last week and grudgingly gave his OK to sign the “summit’s pallid final communiqué” endorsing a rules-based international order. Then he “threw a hissy fit and tore it up as soon as he was back on Air Force One.” Trump accused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of being two-faced by acting “meek and mild” in private negotiations and then declaring in a post-summit press conference that Canada would respond to new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum with duties on American imports. But Trudeau has been anything but duplicitous: He has warned publicly of retaliatory duties for weeks. The lesson from this embarrassing episode is that the “dishonest and amateurish” Trump “can’t be trusted from one moment to the next.”
This was a G-6+1, not a G-7, said Marc Semo in Le Monde (France). At the leaders’ lunch, Trump launched into a 15-minute tirade, “crudely laying out grievances against the others,” such as trade deficits and the cost to America of NATO. The other leaders “rolled their eyes or looked down at their shoes.” French President Emmanuel Macron, who has previously shown a special talent for charming Trump, gently explained to his American counterpart “that his numbers were wrong.” But the U.S. president is not receptive to reason.
If Trump insists on a trade war, he will get one, said Mark Schieritz in Die Zeit (Germany). German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she believes in “win-win situations” but added that European powers will not let themselves “be ripped off again and again.” If the U.S. taxes our cars, we’ll tax their iPhones, search engines, and social networks. Treat Germany like a foe, and it will react like a foe. Merkel came into her own at this summit, said Stefan Braun in Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany). When the international media proclaimed Merkel leader of the free world following Trump’s 2016 election, the German chancellor was “uncomfortable with the label.” No longer. She has recognized that she cannot sit idly by as Trump tears down the postwar world order. Merkel is now working to bring all European Union nations together—even wayward members such as Hungary and Poland—to create a bulwark against this Trumpian chaos.
Everyone now knows they can’t count on Trump’s America, said Alex Massie in The Times (U.K.). Given that Trump pulled out of the Paris climate pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Iran nuclear accord, and even the G-7 statement he had OK’d not two hours earlier, “what value would you now put on defense commitments made to U.S. allies?” With America, the rest of us must now verify, then trust. “These people are not our friends.” ■