Look, Donald Trump has a “very special friendship” with Emmanuel Macron, ok?
And if you don’t believe me, just think back to Macron’s visit to Washington in April, when Trump brushed imaginary dandruff off the French President’s shoulder and proceeded to parade him around like a trophy wife in front of the press, who were more than happy to produce the following set of truly absurd (and wholly indelible) images:
During that trip, Macron attempted to talk Trump out of withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal but that effort was for nought. Just three weeks later, following Netanyahu’s bombastic “Iran lied” presentation, Trump officially pulled the U.S. out of the JCPOA, setting the stage for an escalation with Tehran and leaving commodities strategists scrambling to predict what the implications might be for global crude markets.
Fast forward to last Thursday and Trump further alienated America’s European allies by refusing to extend temporary waivers on steel and aluminum tariffs.
Now, Trump is going to have to confront Macron at the G-7 meeting in Quebec and by all accounts, that’s going to be a tedious affair. Specifically, Macron now says he will refuse to sign the traditional joint statement unless the U.S. makes meaningful concessions on everything from trade to Iran to the Paris climate accord.
“Macron has concluded that the other members of the G-7 — the U.K., Germany, Japan, France, Italy and Canada — must stand up to the U.S. over Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico as well as other issues,” Bloomberg writes, in a Thursday article summarizing the burgeoning drama.
But Macron isn’t Trump biggest problem at the G-7. He’ll also need to contend with Angela Merkel, the most respected politician on the planet (fuck your feelings on that assessment, it just is what it is) and the real “leader of the free world.”
Ever the diplomat, Merkel told the Bundestag lower house on Wednesday that she’ll “of course try to speak to the U.S. president about the current problems that we have overall, in particular on Iran and on trade tariffs.”
“We should take a common stance, all those who are concerned with tariffs,” she added.
More to the point, Merkel (in the same Q&A with German lawmakers), called Trump’s “America first” doctrine “a serious problem [for] multilateral agreements.”
Right. And that gets back to the same old issue, which is that what Trump is trying to do isn’t possible. Rolling back globalization isn’t desirable but if all you care about is the logistics of the push, it isn’t doable. It’s not a realistic proposition. You can’t slam the brakes on humanity’s evolution towards a shared destiny and this sweeping effort to piss on multilateral agreements and multiculturalism more generally is an exercise in futility. No one is on board with this outside of Trump’s Roseanne voter base and the misguided souls that back the likes of Marine Le Pen, Brexit and AfD across the pond. In other words, even if isolationism and a return to nationalism were desirable goals, they aren’t achievable. Trump may think he can “win” this fight, but he can’t and what you’ll invariably see from Trump at the G-7 is weakness disguised as pompousness. And while the likes of Macron and Trudeau may be willing to accommodate that up to a point (and it appears they’ve reached their limits with it too), to people like Angela Merkel, Trump is a joke.
I’m sure he thinks he’s going to run roughshod over everyone in Canada at the summit this week, but the thing about bullies is that when they’re finally confronted, they invariably fold like wet cardboard and Trump’s time is coming in that regard. It’s just a matter of who finally calls his bluff. If it’s Merkel, he should be so lucky. Because the other option is Xi Jinping who, whether or not Trump realizes it, could put a stop this bullshit overnight by simply devaluing the yuan and then using the market’s inevitable frontrunning of further devaluation as an excuse to intervene in the spot market by dumping U.S. Treasurys.
For now, we’ll just leave you with the following excerpt from the above linked Bloomberg piece which just underscores the notion that Trump has no idea who his friends really are:
Trump is to attend the summit Friday and Saturday before flying to Singapore for a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12.