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G-6 Plus Two a More Appropriate Label

Jun 13, 2018 | Editorials, Featured

Only Putin benefits from Trump’s summit antics.

Marco Levytsky, NP-UN National Affairs Editor.

Many commentators dubbed the G-7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, June 8-9 as G-6 plus one, meaning the leaders of Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, versus U.S. President Donald Trump. At issue are the steel and aluminum tariffs Trump decided to impose upon his traditional allies, which threaten to undermine world trade.

A more appropriate label for this event, however, would be G-6 plus two – the second being Trump’s puppet-master, Vladimir Putin.

Trump underscored his affection for Putin just as he left for the conference, with the surprise announcement that Russia should be brought back into the G-7. “Why are we having a meeting without Russia in the meeting?” Trump said at the White House just before departing. “They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

This was immediately rejected by five of the other G-7 countries (Italy, with its newly formed right-wing, populist government being the exception) who pointed out Russia was kicked out of the G-8 in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine.

“Canada’s position is absolutely clear that there are no grounds whatsoever for bringing Russia, with its current behaviour, back into the G7,” stated Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Ironically, Russia itself was officially lukewarm to Trump’s announcement. “Russia is focused on other formats, apart from the G-7,” stated Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov. Whether Russia really does not care, or whether Peskov is deliberately downplaying the importance of the G-7 is a matter for conjecture.

Trump showed up briefly at the summit, arriving late and leaving early, without even bothering to sign the joint statement which, among other things condemned Russian actions, because he considered rubbing noses with North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-Un on some delusional fantasy he was going to get Kim to actually denuclearize, far more important than working with the traditional allies of the United States on resolving global issues. And before leaving Charlevoix, he fired another broadside at his traditional allies – especially host Trudeau, blasting him as being “dishonest” and “weak” for standing up for Canada in the face of Trump’s tariffs.

Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro went even further in an interview nationally broadcast a day later in the United States, stating: “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.”

Canada, Mexico and the European Union have all responded with strategically focussed retaliatory measures against Trump’s tariffs leading to a full-scale trade war. And let’s not mince our words, it is a full-scale trade war and not the “family dispute” that the White House claims. “This is the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era,” says Freeland. “It is perfectly reciprocal. This is a very strong Canadian action in response to a very bad U.S. decision.”

What’s more, while igniting a trade war with Canada, Mexico and the European Union which will cause massive disruption of global trade and the global economy, Trump’s tariffs do nothing to help the U.S. economy – in fact they will hurt it considerably. The latest edition of the Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook survey, a quarterly poll of major U.S. CEOs, found that many of those executives are worried about the effects Trump’s trade policies and believe his tariffs could slow U.S. economic growth and lead to higher costs.

What’s more, even a White House economic analysis of Trump’s trade agenda has concluded that his tariffs will hurt economic growth in the United States. The findings from the White House Council of Economic Advisers have been circulated only internally and not publicly released, as is often the case with the council’s work, making the exact economic projections unknown, reported the New York Times which revealed the existence of this memo after confirming it with several people familiar with the research. Despite this, top White House officials continue to insist publicly that Trump’s trade approach will be “massively good for the U.S. economy.”

The only beneficiary of the trade war instigated by Trump, as with Trump’s many other actions including his downgrading of NATO and his stubborn refusal to admit to Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, is Vladimir Putin. Whether Trump acts the way he does simply because he is a moron (the Manchurian Idiot) or is deliberately following orders from Moscow due to his financial connections with Russian oligarchs (the Manchurian Candidate as was noted in our November 21, 2017, Editorial), is irrelevant because the end result is still the same. Trump’s foreign policy definitely benefits the Kremlin and that is an indisputable fact.

Vladimir Putin must be rubbing his hands in glee.

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