Why would an American president offend allies and cozy up to adversaries?
If there was an answer in Mr. Trump’s tumultuous week on the global stage, it may be that he disregards the traditional preoccupations of American foreign policy — power and values — in favor of a more narrow worldview shaped by his experience as a businessman.
Mr. Trump’s bitter clashes with Canada and Europe over trade, as well as his solicitous courtship of North Korea’s brutal dictator, all reflect this mercantile perspective. In his transactional approach to foreign policy, considerations of financial profit or cost — often measured in ways that economists deem simplistic — can outweigh virtually any other consideration.
.. Trump, like a lot of businessmen, doesn’t pay much attention to Canada, or Europe, or Japan,” Mr. Bader said. “Businessmen pay attention to the growth markets: Vietnam, Brazil, India, China.”
.. A slick promotional video that Mr. Trump showed Mr. Kim sketched out a gleaming vision of a prosperous, nuclear-free North Korea, with swooping construction cranes and high-speed trains.
.. ”They have great beaches,” Mr. Trump said to reporters. “You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean, right? I said, ‘Boy, look at the view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo behind?’ And I explained, I said, ‘You know, instead of doing that, you could have the best hotels in the world right there.’”
.. Mr. Trump considers it a prime location amid booming economies. “Think of it from a real-estate perspective,” he said.
.. “We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith — which both sides are!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.
.. The president expressed particular spite at the B-52 bombers that the United States has flown over South Korea in missions from Guam.
.. a potent manifestation of the American commitment to protect its Asian allies. But to Mr. Trump, they burn a lot of fuel and serve little purpose
.. “I know a lot about airplanes,” he said. “It’s very expensive.”
.. Asked on Tuesday about his clash with Mr. Trudeau after the Group of 7 meeting in Quebec, he answered with a long list of grievances — some based on erroneous data — about the trade deficits the United States runs with Canada, Germany, and other allies.
.. “They don’t take our agricultural products, barely. They don’t take a lot of what we have and yet they send Mercedes into us. They send BMWs into us by the millions. It’s very unfair.”
.. If anything, experts said, this common history is a red flag to Mr. Trump.
.. A consistent theme of the Trump administration has been to downgrade the value of allies and alliances,”
.. “To the contrary, they tend to be judged as military free-riders or economic rivals or both. That many are assertive, independent-minded liberals that regularly challenge the president only makes it worse.”
.. In his single-minded focus on economic gain
.. “The bottom line,” said Daniel R. Russel, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs now at the Asia Society, “is that President Trump paid retail for a few warmed-over promises and appears to have given away both leverage and deterrence.”
.. “The containment doctrine has given way to the condominium doctrine.”
Donald Trump lobs a grenade from afar into the G7
The risks of a trade war were already high. This will not help.. FOR a moment, the Group of Seven (G7) leaders attending their annual summit, in a mountain village in Quebec, looked like they had managed to paper over their differences with President Donald Trump and present a united front. They found just the right wording to secure American agreement on matters that never used to be in question, such as supporting democracy, abiding by international-trade rules and fighting terrorism... It was unclear whether Mr Trump’s reversal was because of Mr Trudeau’s confirmation that Canada would retaliate against America’s steel and aluminium tariffs (the two leaders had already discussed this). Or was it a rejection of Mr Trump’s claim that a new deal for a North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would have a sunset clause?.. On trade, at one point it seemed as though Mr Trump was in search of some sort of grand bargain, as he called for the end of all subsidies, tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade. But this was more an indication of how poorly Mr Trump understands the global trading system than a serious summons to the negotiating table... But his combination of bullying rhetoric and aggrieved victimhood is well-known... It is perhaps more surprising that Mr Trump still faces people who think he can be persuaded by facts... At the meeting, Mr Trump’s counterparts brought binders of figures to the session devoted to trade in an attempt to persuade him that his belief that the rest of the world was unfair to America was mistaken. Tellingly, the desk in front of Mr Trump was bare.He later told reporters the others had been smiling at him as if they could not believe they had got away with using America as a “piggy bank” for so long. “The gig is up,” he said.
Trump turns the G-7 into the G-6 vs. G-1
February 2016, I warned in an article co-written with economist Benn Steil that “a Trump presidency threatens the post-World War II liberal international order that American presidents of both parties have so laboriously built up — an order based on free trade and alliances with other democracies. His policies would not make America ‘great.’ Just the opposite. A Trump presidency would represent the death knell of America as a great power.”
.. In just the past few weeks, he has taken a giant step toward destroying the global system that the United States created after 1945.
.. Trump has now exited three major treaties — the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear accord — and thrown into doubt the future of another — the North American Free Trade Agreement — while launching a reckless trade war against our closest allies.
.. Trump continued to push his irrational idée fixe that the United States — the richest nation in the world — has been victimized by its friends.
.. Trump looks like a defendant who has just been found guilty by a jury of his peers.
.. Justin Trudeau did not mince words, calling the U.S. tariffs “insulting” and saying: “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”
.. Larry Kudlow accusing Trudeau of a “betrayal” and Peter Navarro saying there’s a “special place in hell” for the Canadian prime minister.
.. No U.S. officials have ever spoken this way about any U.S. ally, ever. These are the kind of words that normally precede military action.
.. Trump seems amazed to discover that the European Union (gross domestic product: $17.1 trillion), Japan ($4.8 trillion), and Canada ($1.6 trillion) — which together produce more than the United States ($19.3 trillion) — will not be pushed around as easily as the contractors he has gotten used to stiffing.
.. add Russia. This was a bizarre suggestion, given that Russia is not only an international outlaw but also an economic pygmy whose GDP does not even rank in the top 10.
.. If the G-7 were to expand, it should include India and Brazil, both democracies that have larger economiesthan Russia’s.
.. invasion of Ukraine — an act of aggression for which Trump perversely blames President Barack Obama — and it has done nothing since 2014 to deserve readmittance. Instead, its meddling in U.S. elections its and war crimes in Syria demand more punishment.
.. Trump is doing precisely what Putin hoped would happen when he helped Trump get elected.
.. A new poll finds that only 14 percent of Germans consider the United States a reliable partner, compared with 36 percent for Russia and 43 percent for China. That the citizens of one of America’s staunchest and most important allies now look more favorably upon our illiberal foes is a testament to Trump’s unrivaled wrecking abilities.
.. none of those disputes called into question the fundamental unity of the West in the way that Trump’s stupid and self-destructive actions do. The Atlantic alliance was born in Canada in 1941 and may well have died there in 2018.
Trump Faces Tensions at G-7 Summit
The two-day summit offers leaders a major opportunity to confront the new U.S. administration on a range of divisive issues that also include relations with Russia and immigration. The talks will culminate in a final communique on Saturday.
.. “No doubt this will be the most challenging G-7 summit in years,”
.. He also declined to explicitly endorse NATO’s common defense provision, to the disappointment of some European diplomats.
.. Germany’s large trade surplus with the U.S. has been a persistent source of anger for Mr. Trump.