President Trump ended his first international tour at the NATO and G7 Summits by throwing away American power, displaying personal weakness on the world stage, and pushing key allies away from American influence.
The G7 Summit was immediately preceded by a NATO Summit.
Trump Throws NATO Under the Bus
This year’s 2017 NATO Summit was held in Brussels Belgium on May 25. It is only held when threats require it.
Trump has been threatening NATO since his 2016 campaign. At his first Summit, Trump astonished NATO members by refusing to restate America’s commitment to Article 5, the principle of collective defense. Article 5 is the whole point of belonging to NATO. It’s the idea that if one country is attacked, other NATO members will come to its defense.
Trump keeps claiming that America is getting bad deals in international agreements. “Bad deals” are his standard opening negotiating position. Ignoring Article 5 weakens NATO and invites opponents to pick off NATO countries one-by-one. Stating American commitment would have cost nothing and was the one important thing NATO leaders needed to hear Trump say.
His staff tried to correct the mistake right away, but nobody trusts the administration any more. Trump’s position invites instability which will cost far more in the long run.
Trump becomes a “Tiny, Tiny, Little Man” on the World Stage
Trump is supposed to be a great salesman and showman, but his body language shows insecurity and weakness. On the international stage where people don’t speak the same language, body language says everything.
Mr. President put on a show of extreme vacuity at a photo op with NATO leaders when he shoved aside the Prime Minister of Montenegro, jutted his chin, and straightened his jacket in a telling act of false confidence.
You tiny, tiny, tiny little man.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 25, 2017
Writer J.K. Rowling called him a, “tiny, tiny, tiny little man” on Twitter. Instead of strengthening American positions, Trump keeps weakening them. The “bad deal” is coming from the dealer.
Trump Abdicates American Leadership at 2017 G7 Summit
The 2017 G7 Summit was held in Taormina, Italy from May 26-27. The theme was “Building the Foundations of Renewed Trust.” President Trump abdicated American power by showing up unprepared and again looked weak.
The G7 is an annual political conference for the leaders of the world’s major economies. It’s something of a cocktail party for world leaders. French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (term 1974-1981) created the G7 in 1975 (it was the G6 then) in the hope that getting world leaders to know each other personally would help them solve problems together.
The G7 is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union. Russia was added in 1997, but expelled in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea, Ukraine.
Things are Heating Up
2016 was the warmest year on record since recordkeeping began in 1880. 2016 surpassed the previous warmest year which was 2015. The big issue of the 2017 G7 was climate change.
American oil companies have understood the human factors of climate change since at least 1977 when senior scientist James Black told Exxon’s management committee about it. He said then, that we had five to ten years to make changes before decisions became critical.
Have you noticed the trees budding in New York City in the middle of winter lately?
Climate change became a public issue in 1988 when NASA scientist James Hansen told a congressional hearing that the planet was already warming. So both private and public scientists were sounding warnings.
Exxon responded in 1989 by creating the Global Climate Coalition. It’s purpose was to deny the human factor in climate change. The Global Climate Coalition was a disinformation campaign, what we now call fake news. Exxon shut it down in 2002, but the damage had been done. Climate change deniers got their “scientific proofs.” The U.S. tobacco industry famously used the same tactic to deny the link between smoking and lung cancer for years.
Nations Agree on Climate Change
Getting nations to agree on anything important is difficult, especially if it means they have to control themselves.
American leadership put together the UN Paris Agreement of April 2016. It committed 195 countries in the world to making the economic changes necessary to keep the global average temperature increase to below 2° Celsius from pre-industrial levels.
The only countries who didn’t sign on were Syria and Nicaragua. Syria is at war with itself. Nicaragua boycotted because the agreement didn’t go far enough and isn’t legally binding. Even North Korea signed.
Talk is just talk, but it was hoped that the Paris Agreement was a turning point for the world to begin doing something about the human factors in climate change.
Trump Hasn’t Had Enough Time to Think
During his 2016 campaign Trump promised to cancel the deal. We are the world’s #2 producer of carbon pollution and were long the biggest polluter, but Trump claims that we shoulder too much of the burden of the agreement.
Everyone else came to the G7 prepared, but Trump is still unable to make up his mind. He says he’ll decide what to do next week.
Have you ever noticed how a child can’t put together a great event, but they can sure spoil it with a self-centered tantrum?
Trump is too slow and weak to keep up with the world. While all the other G7 leaders took a stroll through Taormina, Trump had to be driven behind in a golf cart.
The World Responds Quickly
We are still waiting for the President to decide what he wants to do about the Paris Agreement, but the fallout of world leaders getting to know him better was immediate.
After spending three days in Trump’s company, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the defacto leader of Europe, said publicly that Germany and the European Union could no longer rely on the United States. The German Foreign Minister spoke of Trump weakening the West.
Trump’s behavior is a shocking and wasteful abdication of American power, power that took decades and a lot of American blood and treasure to build.
The President also threw away American power when he discarded the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on his first day in office. The TPP was a trade agreement designed to connect Pacific economies with the U.S. as a bulwark against growing Chinese economic power. Throwing it away was an invitation for China to eat our lunch. Abandonment was simply a bad trade.
China is on a multi-dimensional infrastructure buildout to make China the economic center of the world. Pacific economies are now turning towards China and China is positioning itself as the world leader of free trade.
Damaging important world institutions, discarding hard won international agreements, and pushing countries away from American influence is not going to save any money or jobs.
Trump’s displays of selfishness, insecurity, and his willingness to trade strength for weakness in hopes of getting a better deal are going to cost us, “bigly.”
Just who is the President working for? It doesn’t seem to be the American people.
2018 G7 Summit
The 2018 G7 Summit will be held at Le Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie, Quebec. The date is to be announced.