After G-7 Embarrassment, What Could Possibly Go Wrong in Singapore? Actually Quite A Lot

An unhinged President heads to Singapore after trashing our closest allies at G7. One couldn’t be optimistic. What could go wrong? Two mentally unstable leaders, each with nuclear capacity, getting together for a chat. So what happens: an agreement.

Ranked Choice Voting Comes to Maine and Big Gubernatorial Primary in Nevada.  We reported last week that Las Cruces had adopted Ranked Choice Voting and in today’s primary the state of Maine will become the first state to use the system. All eyes will be on the results. There are primaries in Nevada, Maine, South Carolina and Virginia with battles pitting DCCC/Emily’s List favored candidates being challenged by political neophytes and a very contentious battle for Governor in Nevada   Vox always does an excellent job of handicapping what is at stake in the primaries and they did once again. Click here to review a who’s who for today’s primaries.

A Momentous Meeting in Singapore On the Heels of the G-7 Catastrophe

Body language. G7 leaders do not seem amused.

Truth-Out journalist, Heather Digby Parsons, penned a hilarious report on Trump’s G7 meltdown, complete with screenshots of a myriad of insulting tweets aimed at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other G7 leaders. Trump’s top trade advisor, Larry Kudlow ranted and raved incoherently on Jack Trapper’s State of the Union, asserting that a deal had been done at the summit and that a joint communique was agreed to and ready to be signed. Kudlow then claimed that Trump walked away from the deal because Trudeau had the effrontery to call a press conference to defend Canada and indicate that it would not be bullied by the US.  So, on the basis of this one comment, our Diplomat-in-Chief walked away from the deal and insulted our six closest allies. What’s more, he began the G-7 by suggesting our allies welcome Russia back into the fold, stunning our allies, who were not amused at all by the suggestion.

In summarizing Kudlow’s interview, Parsons went on to state: “Somewhere in the middle of his bleary tantrum he opened a new front, indicating to Jake Tapper that the G7 countries had been expected to kowtow to Trump and allow him to dominate their industry and trade, as a way to impress North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with Trump’s manly superiority. He portrayed their unwillingness to sacrifice their own voters to make Trump look like a Real Man as a betrayal of world peace.” Parsons goes on to quote another Trump trade advisor who was not about to be outdone by Kudlow: “Trump’s extremist trade adviser, Peter Navarro, got down and dirty, suggesting ‘there’s a special place in hell for Justin Trudeau.’”  This is diplomacy? This is the team headed to Singapore to meet with Kim Jong Un?   Click here to read a very entertaining and humorous view of Trump at G7. The full Kudlow interview appears at the bottom of the blog.

More body language as Trump, Kelly and Kudrow exit G-7

In the New York Times, Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote about the G7 fiasco: “Still, there has never been a disaster like the G7 meeting that just took place. It could herald the beginning of a trade war, maybe even the collapse of the Western alliance. At the very least it will damage America’s reputation as a reliable ally for decades to come; even if Trump eventually departs the scene in disgrace, the fact that someone like him could come to power in the first place will always be in the back of everyone’s mind.”  Krugman went on to assert that Trump used a litany of false assertions about US and G7 trade policies to justify his bullying behavior. He also asserted that the whole tawdry mess could have profound long-term consequences that serve one and only one interested party, Vladimir Putin who must be grinning from ear-to-ear over the collapse of the G& meeting. Krugman went on to write:  “Still, there has never been a disaster like the G7 meeting that just took place. It could herald the beginning of a trade war, maybe even the collapse of the Western alliance. At the very least it will damage America’s reputation as a reliable ally for decades to come; even if Trump eventually departs the scene in disgrace, the fact that someone like him could come to power in the first place will always be in the back of everyone’s mind.”

Many in the GOP have found fault with the Trump trade team, even suggesting that they’d incorporate language in a pending Defense Budget legislation that would reverse Trumps’s trade tariffs and his ability to unravel pre-existing agreements. Asked whether he’s concerned about the U.S. relationship with Canada, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) replied: “Of course.” Navarro “should have kept his big mouth shut because I don’t think that helps us in foreign policy. And frankly, I think that’s out of line,” Hatch said, adding that Trump’s visit to Quebec for the G-7 meeting “could have been handled a lot better.”

“What was it that [Trudeau] did that was so offensive that it required that type of a comment?” asked Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). “This was very disconcerting. And I do not like to see that type of language being used without having a real strong basis for it.”

And So We Turn to Singapore

More body language: exulting in the spotlight. Un is thinking: “This will play very well back home. What a fool.”

You can’t make this up. While there are really no details to “the agreement” merely a commitment to continue talks, Trump did a 180 degree about face from the day before when he excoriated Canada and our European allies and then made nice-nice with Kim Jong Un even stating that he was “honored” to meet with him. The media has made quite a deal about how Trump at once can scorch our allies while fawning over a North Korean dictator. While Trump called the two page agreement “comprehensive” others described it as merely a framework, an agreement to continue talks with the goal being to demilitarize the region, a worthy end, but with many pratfalls along the way.

What is most troubling about the last 48 hours is how erratic our President and his team has been. Willing to tear up an agreement with allies while making threats and tacitly approving unheard of level of hostile language toward Canada and then fawning over North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. There is something frightening about the degree to which the President is offended by even the most benign challenge to his ego while being so taken by ceremonial pomp that feeds his ego. Recall his visit to China (another dictator) where he claimed that his welcome was the most ornate in history, just as his inaugural was the largest in history. Like a king, Trump responds well to flattery and ceremony. But if asked to negotiate with peers who do not fawn all over him (see again the photo above of Merkel scowling at Trump), he takes offense taking mere statements of national autonomy (Trudeau) as a personal affront.

Lord help us if Trump is ever in the room when some truly testy issue is on the table with much at stake. The last 48 hours has revealed a psychologically unbalanced male with too much testosterone and too little self-assurance, too sensitive to criticism or challenge and to moved by pomp and praise. Can we just fast forward to 2020?

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Foreign Relation & Trade Policy, National Security & Defense

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2 replies

  1. I learned that the G 7 first met in 1975 and that it is still composed of the 6 most powerful and richest western economies and Japan. Maybe it also should include China. These countries, through their corporations (although most corporations are transnational entities), control the world economy. They do not meet to solve problems like poverty, mini and large conquests and occupations (mostly by the US) of countries and places to facilitate corporate control and theft of resources. They do not meet to solve the problems generated by global warming. They meet to insure their economic supremacy which comes at the cost of people and planet. They do not meet to discuss the failures of capitalism and the neoliberal economic model but to improve them so these models can better serve the politicians and plutocrats in power. Their economic model has created a new epoch, the Anthropocene, and the 6th mass extinction of Life on Earth. Both well underway and unstoppable since the representatives of the G7 do not seem to know this is happening.
    So, I do not care much about this kind of meeting.

    But I do care about the fact that our city abides by the same economic model and thus it will never truly solve the problem of poverty and its inhabitants dependency on transnational corporations like Walmart, the Real Estate and developers’ grip on the city, and the control big banks like Wells Fargo exert over the city finances.
    This is from our city finance department.
    Department of Economic Develpment Mission:
    “The mission of the Office of Economic Development to achieve long-term sustainable and focused economic growth by building a diverse, innovative economy with high-wage, high impact jobs that provide opportunity and prosperity for the City’s residents, businesses and entrepreneurs.”
    Economic growth has proven to be unsustainable and detrimental to life. Their economic model, if they have one, is not innovative since the first order of things for the city is to grow, as its recent history shows.
    Most important, its economic, or business model, follow the same model used by the G 7 so it is not designed to end poverty but to perpetuate it.

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