G7 turning into G6+1?
That President Donald Trump is getting isolated at international fora is obvious from the fact that during the G7 meet, several exasperated leaders decided to call it G6+1. It was not just because Trump, it was felt, had let old and true allies down with his steep tariffs on steel and aluminium but lacked the attitude towards such a meet. He had fallen out with host Justin Trudeau, Emmanuelle Macron, and relations with Angela Merkel and Teresa May had turned frosty. True, they all smiled during the group photo but the animosity had started long before they all convened in Quebec. In the latest salvo Trump accused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of making "false statements" and said that the US will not endorse a G7 communique.
"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 U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!," he tweeted. In another tweet, he commented that "PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, 'US Tariffs were kind of insulting' and he 'will not be pushed around.' Very dishonest and weak. Our tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!" Shortly after Trudeau said that he was "happy to announce that we have released a joint communique by all seven countries" indicating that the US had signed on, Trump announced the US would reverse its decision and not sign on to the statement after all. The group of seven nations that make up the G7 includes Canada, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Italy.
The G7 communique references a number of shared priorities, including trade, economic growth, national security, and sustainability. At one point, the agreement states, "we acknowledge that free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade and investment, while creating reciprocal benefits are key engines for growth and job creation." Trump's tweets taking aim at the leader of a country that has long been a US ally came after the President left the G7 summit in Canada to travel to Singapore ahead of a planned diplomatic meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.
Trudeau said that Canada will "move forward with retaliatory measures" on July 1 in response to the Trump administration's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, the European Union, and Mexico. "I have made it very clear to the President that it is not something we relish doing, but it something that we absolutely will do," Trudeau said. "As Canadians, we're polite, we're reasonable but we also will not be pushed around." President Trump addressed the subject of international trade saying that he does not want to see other countries take advantage of the US over trade. "It's going to change," he said."Tariffs will come way down. We're like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing and that ends."
The Canadian Prime Minister's office responded to Trump's tweets accusing Trudeau of "false statements" on Saturday, saying that the Prime Minister said nothing during the G7 summit that he had not said previously.
"We are focused on everything we accomplished here at the #G7 summit. The Prime Minister said nothing he had not said before — both in public, and in private conversations with the President," the statement read. Former FBI Director James Comey also weighed in, tweeting Saturday night on the US-Canadian relationship. "Our national security relationship with Canada is vital and saves American lives. It was built over generations and is bigger than any person or dispute. This too shall pass," said Comey in the post. As matters stand, Trump has turned into Mr. Unpredictability personified. Indeed, just before leaving for the Summit, he wondered aloud why the Russians are not brought back to the table to turn G7 back to G8? This was a point he carried into Canada and kept reiterating. He was reminded time and again that Russia had been expelled from the Group in 2014 because it had attacked Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Despite this, Trump carried on with his insistence relentlessly. The once snubbed Vladimir Putin issued a terse statement from China stating that he was just not interested and would rather be part of much larger groups. But there was no stopping the isolated Donald J.Trump. It is but natural that other leaders should now be thinking in terms of G6+1.
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