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After Donald Trump’s G7 Meltdown in Quebec, What Lies Ahead in Singapore?

Now that Trump has alienated our closest allies, he’s off to meet Kim Jong Un with no preparation.

Donald Trump, with Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, leaves the G7 summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, June 9, 2018.

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? I’m speaking, of course, of the frolics over the weekend between our president and the rest of the world. If you wanted a president who would tell his friends to go pound sand, then Donald Trump fulfilled your every wish.

He went to Quebec for the G7 summit meeting with the intention of putting American allies in their place. They were to understand who was in charge and who makes the rules: The Trump States of America. On the White House lawn prior to taking off in Marine One for the Canadian summit he made it clear:

We’re going to deal with the unfair trade practices. If you look at what Canada, Mexico, the European Union, all of them have been doing to us for many, many decades, we have to change it. And they understand it’s going to happen . . . European Union treats us very unfairly. Canada, very unfairly. Mexico, very unfairly.

(If you don’t understand why this is nonsense, read this from Paul Krugman, who won his Nobel Prize for his work on international trade.)

Trump showed up late and left early and declared victory over his allies in a rambling press conference on his way out the door:

The European Union is brutal to the United States. They don’t — and they understand that. They know it. When I’m telling them, they’re smiling at me. You know, it’s like the gig is up. It’s like the gig is up. They’re not trying to — there’s nothing they can say. They can’t believe they got away with it. Canada can’t believe it got away with it . . . But a lot of these countries actually smile at me when I’m talking. And the smile is — we couldn’t believe we got away with it. That’s the smile. So it’s going to change. It’s going to change. They have no choice. If it’s not going to change, we’re not going to trade with them.

It was an astonishing press conference, with Trump pretty much rubbing America’s allies’ faces in the dirt while strutting around figuratively pounding his chest and proclaiming his dominance. He warned the other countries not to “retaliate” against his attacks or they would be sorry. Nobody knew at that moment if he was going to sign the usual allied communiqué or not. It was impossible to tell. When the word came that the administration planned to sign it, a sense of relief was felt around the the world.

And then all hell broke loose. This picture was released on Twitter and Trump wasn’t happy:

It’s impossible to know if that’s what triggered Trump into a vituperative rage and a refusal to sign the G7 communiqué, but it doesn’t make sense that it was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s anodyne press conference in defense of his nation. After all, Trump had trash-talked Canada in his press conference on his way out of town. If he expected Trudeau to simply say, “Yes, sir, may I have another?” he was mistaken. Trudeau has voters too.

No, it was the picture. It was Angela Merkel looming over Trump, with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face, looking all the world like a five-year-old, that made him lose his mind. Like the cowardly sandbox bully he is, he turned on his closest ally:

Everyone probably would have just chalked that up to Trump being Trump, which is to say an embarrassment and a fool. But instead of letting it go, his team decided that this was their chance to give Rudy Giuliani a run for his money.

Last week I noted that Giuliani seemed to be under the influence of Red Bull and Limoncello in his Great Israel Adventure, but he was as sober as Oliver Wendell Holmes compared to Larry Kudlow on the Sunday morning shows. It’s hard to know what was afflicting the president’s top economic adviser, but something was. Kudlow’s performance on CNN’s “State of the Union” will be remembered for decades.

Kudlow slurred and rambled in defense of his boss in a thoroughly unconvincing manner, trying to say that the G7 had negotiated in bad faith because Trudeau said in a press conference that the Canadians would not be pushed around. In fact, he pretty much had a hysterical fit over it on national television. Trump’s extremist trade adviser, Peter Navarro, got down and dirty, suggesting “there’s a special place in hell for Justin Trudeau.” They seemed to be competing for how far up Trump’s royal robes each of them could get.

Kudlow, who should know better but seemed somewhat “under the weather,” didn’t recognize the total absurdity of such pearl-clutching in light of the thuggish threats his boss has been issuing for months. But 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.

Kim may have led a cloistered life, but he’s not that dumb. He has already shown that he largely has Trump’s number, and what he didn’t know before, Chinese President Xi Jinping has surely shared with him in their meetings leading up to this summit. All Trump has done is degrade the alliances between the U.S. and its closest allies for reasons that only he knows.

I didn’t even bring up the fact that aside from Trump’s trade war against US allies, the one big thing about which he was most adamant was his desire for Russia to be readmitted to the G7 because, as he said, “We have a world to run.” I don’t know who voted for Trump and Vladimir Putin to run the world, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a majority of Americans.

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