At the outset, other members of the G-7 must be grateful to the American President for making their meeting memorable. Otherwise, it has been a long time since G-7 affairs have become big yawns. It is a forum for the Europeans and Canadians to bask in exaggerated self-importance. That gathering had become irrelevant and more so since the G-20 was formed. Not that it is much effective either. But, that it has made G-7 even more irrelevant than it has been is undisputed. The G-7 is a relic. Trump had breathed some ‘life’ into its proceedings. For that, they have to be grateful.
Developments in Italy have overwhelmingly vindicated the warnings of Yanis Varoufakis after the troika captured the young and inexperienced Alexis Tsipras and humilated Greece and the collective will of its people. To call them democratic is hilarious and risible. By all accounts, Ms. Merkel is an over-rated international leader. For a while, circumstances made her look effective in her country and only in her country.
All the commentators who are quite aghast at the way President Trump had dealt with the rest of the G-7 would have, in normal circumstances, written requiems to the gathering and the ‘institution’ of G-7. But, now that Trump had treated the gathering with disdain, they are very nostalgic about the mythical importance of the gathering.
After his shocking article in April on the machismo of politicians which included a gratuitous broadside characterised by an off-the-cuff partonising and insulting remark thrown at Professor Jordan Peterson, Mr. Buruma only partially redeemed himself with his next article on the anti-Semitism of the British Labour because, in the final portions of his article, he could not resist veering off track and dvelving into the historical anti-Semitism of the British Conservative Party, abandoning the core theme of the article. Now, he has another article titled, ‘Tweets of infamy’.
Mr. Buruma is entitled to his views as we are entitled to ours. Only history will determine later whether this President is acting impulsively, whimsically and unthinkingly. Clearly, much change is afoot and not all of it can be un-pre-meditated. What we do not understand does not become unacceptable. That is hubris.
That apart, I do admit to failure in fathoming what the American President is doing. This little blurb on the long Anne Krueger article (behind paywall, depending on how many you had read already) might have come closer to the truth. Clearly, he is intent on bringing the existing structure down but that does not absolve the President of the responsibility of explaining his actions and pronuncements.
I wonder if it makes sense for the American President to open multiple fronts. He has to battle China. I am not quite sure he is really following through. There is a supposed deal with ZTE. Cannot quite figure out why.
Also, I fail to understand how Canada and Europe slap so much tariffs on American goods. I do not think the tariff percentages he is touting – 270% and 300% – are correct.
It is hard to figure out quite what the game plan is.
Shouldn’t the President, at some point in time, explain and articulate his Grand Strategy, if he has one?