Category Archives: G7

Rocking the G7: Trump Stomps His Allies

Disruption, disturbance, eruption, the words crowning the presidency of Donald J. Trump, who has effectively demonstrated an idea made famous by Nazi doodler of law and political theorist Carl Schmitt: politics is defined, not by identifying with friends in cosy harmony but with enemies in constant tension.

There are many ways that Trump might be seen as a creature of Schmittian reaction.  Alliances may well be lauded as good (the diplomat’s clichés of “eternal friendship”, “special bonds” and the treacly covering that comes with it), but then again, potential adversaries can also be considered in accommodating fashion.  In every enduring friendship between states is a potential enemy in wait, a dormant instinct that, given certain circumstances, might awake.  In every alliance, a potential shift might undermine, if not threaten, the national interest.

In short, the current US president likes the bruising, the bullying and the cajoling in the abstract name of US self-interest. Forget the distinctions and the similarities.  There are no values in any shared sense.  There is only his road.

The press conference concluding the summit with Kim Jong-un on Sentosa Island provided the platform for Trump to round on his supposed allies even as he praised Little Rocket Man as his newly made friend, Chairman Kim, no less.  The spectacle was terrifying for groupies of the US empire, those who have praised the virtues of alliances and bonds with Washington as necessary for the Pax Americana.  Before them, the spectacle of US hegemony was being challenged with a brazen confidence. The Chairman seemed to be getting what he wanted, even if it all seemed a touch vague.

As the Kim-Trump show unfolded, the rubble at the G7 seemed to be growing, a sentiment captured by the satirical Borowitz Report in The New Yorker.  The meeting preceding the gathering in Singapore had put many a nose out of joint.  After leaving the Quebec summit, Trump got his fingers busy by tweeting that he had asked US representatives not to endorse the customary joint communiqué from the G7 leaders calling for “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade” over the devil of protectionism.

The cooling towards Canada’s Justin Trudeau was a case in point, mixed with the usual air of berating condescension and sulkiness.  Much of it had arisen because of a disagreement on whether a sunset clause would find its way into any renegotiated trade agreement between Mexico, Canada and the United States.  Trump’s own version of reality was that negotiators were “pretty close on the sunset provision”.  Trudeau differed on such a reading, wanting nothing of the sort.  The bad blood was taking time to dry.

“Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at tariffs on automobiles flooding the US market!”

In Singapore itself, Trump wished to add some flesh to the remarks, getting a few jocular asides in.  “When I got onto the plane,” considered Trump, “I think that Justin probably didn’t know that Air Force One has about 20 televisions, and I see the television.  And he’s giving a news conference about how he will not be pushed around by the United States.  And I say, push him around?  We just shook hands.  It was very friendly.”

Then came that picture, poured over by aroused pundits and eager commentators, showing Trump sitting down like a bemused, bright coloured Buddha, seemingly defiant, with Germany’s Angela Merkel leaning across with grave school teacher disapproval. “In fact,” he explained, “the picture with Angela Merkel, who I get along with very well, where I’m sitting there like this, that picture was we’re waiting for the document because I wanted to see the final document as changed by the changes that I requested.”

For Trump, the visuals are nigh everything, and this titillates the pundits he lures like starving waifs to a banquet.  Academics are also getting on board, being brought into Trumpland’s sordid undergrowth.  “Critics of President Trump say this is President Trump isolated,” suggested Dan Nexon of Georgetown University on the G7 snap, “so it feeds into the pre-existing narrative.”  But then came the other side, those supporters who considered the show “a sign of American strength, status and position in the dominance hierarchy.”

Others have also fallen for tissue-like substance and liberal readings, suggesting that Trump is seducing those who should know better.  “The symbolic meaning of a 13-second handshake in the visual form is the establishment of a physical and therefore a personal bond between the two leaders,” came the distinctly unscientific observation of political science professor Bruce Miroff.  The G7 meeting did the opposite of the Sentosa Island summit, suggesting a spectacle “of alienation, opposition and even international condemnation of Trump.”

Any amount of time might be spent on such performances, but Trump, for all the displays, remains heartily consistent in what superficially seems to be jolting anarchy.  On the issue of mistrusting, badgering, even punishing allies economically, he has remained true to his word, carrying through attitudes nursed since the 1980s. “I’d throw a tax on every Mercedes-Benz rolling into this country,” he claimed in his 1990 Playboy interview should he ever become President, “and on all Japanese products, and we’d have wonderful allies again.”  And, prophetically, he promised a Schmitt-inspired attitude: don’t “trust our allies” and “perfect” that “huge military arsenal”.

Privately, Donald Trump thinks that Crimea is part of Russia

During the G7 dinner at Charlevoix, Donald Trump explained to his partners that he considered that the peninsular of Crimea really belonged to Russia. What is significant is the US President's reasoning: all the inhabitants of Crimea speak Russian and not Ukrainian. Up till now, the West was united in accusing Russia of using force to annex Crimea. The G7's final communiqué does not seem to include the annexation of Crimea in the dispute with Russia but only the conflict in Eastern (...)

The USA and the EU quarrel, but remain united against Russia and China, by Manlio Dinucci

It is particularly important, in this period of accelerated evolution of international positions, not to become blinded by one element or another, but to conserve all the elements under close scrutiny. By observing simultaneously the G7, NATO and the OCS, geographer Manlio Dinucci reveals the direction chosen by the Western powers.

The USA and the EU quarrel, but remain united against Russia and China, by Manlio Dinucci

It is particularly important, in this period of accelerated evolution of international positions, not to become blinded by one element or another, but to conserve all the elements under close scrutiny. By observing simultaneously the G7, NATO and the OCS, geographer Manlio Dinucci reveals the direction chosen by the Western powers.

French-Canadian statement

France and Canada maintain a solid relationship founded on common values, which are liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the primacy of the rule of law. This relationship is based on strong ties between our peoples and cultures, the shared French language, and our ever closer and developed cooperation on economic, social and societal issues and in areas of defence, peace and security. In a complex geopolitical context, marked by issues crucial to the future of the globe and (...)

G7 Leaders’ Statement on Venezuela

We, the G7 Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union, are united in rejecting the electoral process leading to the May 20, 2018, Presidential election in Venezuela. By failing to meet accepted international standards and not securing the basic guarantees for an inclusive, fair and democratic process, this election and its outcome lack legitimacy and credibility. We therefore denounce the Venezuelan Presidential (...)

G7 foreign ministers’ statement on the Salisbury attack

We, the G7 foreign ministers, of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal, using a nerve agent in Salisbury, United Kingdom, on March 4, 2018. A British police officer and numerous civilians were exposed in the attack and required hospital treatment, and the lives of many (...)

G7 Leaders’ Statement on Syria

We, the G7 Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union, are united in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the use of chemical weapons in the April 7 attack in Eastern Ghouta, Syria. We fully support all efforts made by the United States, the United Kingdom and France to degrade the Assad regime's ability to use chemical weapons and to deter any future use, demonstrated by their action taken on April 13. (...)

The G7 «order» is the Nato order, by Manlio Dinucci

“An international order based on rules that promotes peace between nations, safeguards sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all states and ensures the protection of human rights”: this is what the G7 leaders say they want. These leaders have gathered at Taormina, near the Sigonella base, the strategic centre in the Mediterranean for US /Nato wars and covert operations that have demolished the Libyan state and tried to do the same thing in Syria, accelerating the (...)

G7 Taormina Leaders’ Communiqué

Preamble 1. We, the Leaders of the G7, met in Taormina on May 26-­‐27, 2017 to address, in a spirit of cooperation, the global challenges we face today and to respond collectively to the greatest concerns of our citizens. Our common endeavor is to build the foundations of renewed trust, both towards our governments and among our countries. 2. We are bound together by our shared values of freedom and democracy, peace, security, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. We are determined (...)