Friday, June 8, 2018
With Friends like the European G7 Leaders, President Trump Makes the Right Decision and Heads to Asia
THE REAL NEWS TODAY STRETCHES FROM QUEBEC TO SINGAPORE. Presidsent Trump sepnt time with his G7 counterparts in Quebec on Friday before heading off to Singapore for his summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un on June 12. • • • THE G7 -1 TRIES TO ISOLATE TRUMP. Business Insider reported late on Friday afternoon that : "French President Emmanuel Macron was once President Donald Trump's closest friend in Europe. But Trump's recent trade fight with the European Union has turned that relationship rocky. Macron blasted Trump's policy in a speech Thursday. 'The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be,' Macron said. Trump was running late arriving at the G7 summit on Friday, forcing the postponement of a bilateral meeting between the two leaders. The tight relationship between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron appears to be crumbling as the French leader gets tough on the US president's trade policy. The rocky turn represents a dramatic change from just over a month ago, when Trump welcomed Macron to the White House for the first state visit of Trump's presidency." • President Trump's recent decision to hit the EU, of which France is a member, with tariffs on steel and aluminum has put Trump at odds with every other member -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK. They are reportedly goinf to form a group to chastise the President over his trade policy decision. • President Macron set out to rope President Trump into his corner in his ambitious goal of becoming the de facto leader of the EU, displacing German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But, the trade tariffs seemed to stun Macron and he shifted his attitude prior to the G7 meeting in a belligerent press conference, where he said and then tweeted : "The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be. Because these six countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force....No leader is eternal. We inherit commitments which are beyond us. We take them on. That is the life of nations." • Gone are the days when, even before his April visit to the White House, the French leader explained what he considered a "special relationship" in an interview on Fox News, clearly xhosen because it is Trump's favorite US cable news network : "Look, I think we have this very special relationship because both of us are probably mavericks of the systems on both siides." It didn't take long for that very special relationship to face up to reality when Trump last week rescinded the EU's exemption from tariffs he had announced earlier this year. European leaders rushed to condemn the decision, and the economic bloc announced retaliatory measures on roughly $7 billion worth of US goods. CNN reported that the tariff decision led to a very nasty call between Macron and Trump. When asked about the call, Macron referred to a famous quote from the German statesman Otto Von Bismarck : "As Bismarck used to say, if we explained to people how sausages were made, it's unlikely they'd keep eating them." • Macron, only 40, and a former French economic minister, insisted that even without the US, the other G7 nations are an economic powerhouse : "The six other G7 countries combined form a larger market than the American market. This must not be forgotten." • The Tariff-fight at OK Corral has led the French leader to try to rally the other G7 members in not signing the official G7 communique unless the US is willing to make serious concessions on trade. Such a move would mean nothing, but it highlights the deep divisions between MAcron and Trump, according to Business Insider. • Macron has a vocal ally in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has repeatedly criticized Trump, calling the move "totally unacceptable." Trudeau, like Macron, also attempted to create a watrm relationship with Trump in the early days of Trump's presidency. • Appearing together, Trudeau and Macron said : "A trade war doesn't spare anyone. It will start first of all to hurt US workers." For his part Mr Trudeau described Mr Trump's citing of national security to defend his steel and aluminium tariffs as "laughable." BBC said : "Never one to back down, Mr Trump fired off a series of tweets, keeping up the tirade on Friday." • What neither Macron nor Trudeau seem to appreciate is that President Trump means it when hesays he puts "America First." Trump response to Macron and Trudeau came in a Thursday tweet : "Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the US massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the US is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow." • • • TRUMP'S OTHER UNEXPECTED MOVE AT THE G7. BBC News reported early on Friday evening that : "US President Donald Trump says he wants Russia to be part of the G7 group of key industrialised nations. Russia was expelled in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea, but Mr Trump said he wanted the country readmitted. The build-up to the meeting has seen major disagreements between the US President and other nations over his imposition of trade tariffs. There are also likely to be disagreements with Mr Trump over Iran and climate change....The leaders of the nations, which represent more than 60% of global net worth, meet annually. Economics tops the agenda, although the meetings now always branch off to cover major global issues." • What President Trump said about Russia was this, according to the BBC : "You know, whether you like it or -- and it may not be politically correct -- but we have a world to run and in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in." Trump found support from the newly installed Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who tweeted that it was "in the interests of everyone" for Russia to be readmitted. But, Canada, France and the UK immediately signalled they remain opposed to Russian re-entry. A Kremlin spokesperson said they were interested in "other formats", apart from the G7. As the BBC put it : "Relations between Donald Trump and America's leading allies were already at a new low over trade tariffs before the President casually dropped his Russia hand-grenade. Most G7 leaders think the decision to expel Russia in 2014 was right then, and remains right today. Even Russia itself seems lukewarm about rejoining. In many ways, this seems to be a deliberate Donald Trump tactic, to distract attention from his war of words with the rest of the G7 over trade and rotectionism." • The BBC says that President Trump "dislikes the whole idea of the G7 : a club of nations which traditionally comes together around shared values rooted in a world order based on agreed rules. Last to arrive, he'll also be first to leave." But, President Trump got in one more tweet about the tariff fight : "Looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries. If it doesn’t happen, we come out even better!" The BBC said that when speaking to reporters before the summit, President Trump again criticized other nations for their treatment of the US but predicted tensions would ease and "we'll all be in love again." • Only UK Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to take a more conciliatory approach, saying she wanted the EU to act with restraint and proportion in retaliating to the US tariffs. The BBC said : "Unlike Mr Macron and Mr Trudeau, she won't be having a bilateral meeting with Mr Trump, but insisted on Friday it was not a snub. The EU has called Mr Trump's tariffs 'protectionism, pure and simple' and are among others in announcing retaliatory measures." • President Trump will be in Quebec for the G7 discussions on economic and security issues, but he will leave for Singapore before the G7 leaders discuss inclusive economic growth, gender equality and women's empowerment, world peace and security, jobs of the future, and climate change and oceans. • Perhaps it is better for Trump to miss those discussions. We can imagine what the G7 leaders would hear from him about climate change and the environment, especially the Paris agreement that Macron has vowed he will bring Trump back into. And, there is Iran, also an issue that divides the EU members of the G7 from Trump and the US. The EU is angry at Trump's recent pullout from the 2015 agreement with Teheran amd have tried to shore it up, thus far not very successfully. • Leaders in Europe, Canada and Mexico are furious over Trump’s invocation of national security to justify tariffs on their shipments to the US of steel and aluminum. But, they may be reading Trump wrong on his statement -- he could simply be saying that it reduces US national security when the US lacks basic manufacturing capacity for key basic industrial materials -- like steel and aluminum -- and he is not accusing them of being a direct national security threat. • But, the G7 must be chafing about Trump's willingness to conciliate China in hopes of a trade deal by agreeing that one of Chinq's largest companies -- ZTE -- can pay a $1 billion fine and fund a new in-house compliance team staffed by US experts, in order to remove a seven-year ban on ZTE buying American parts, which the US Commerce Department levied in April. The Washington Post said : "At the time, the Chinese government complained that the action could put the company, a major employer and star of the Chinese technology industry, out of business and make it impossible to conclude a US-China trade deal....After staking out a tough position on trade with China -- demanding in March that Beijing enact sweeping changes in its industrial policies -- Trump appears to be moving toward a less ambitious deal involving Chinese promises to buy $70 billion worth of US products....Commerce Secretary Ross announced that the US and China had reached a 23-page definitive agreement on ZTE in an early morning televised interview. 'We are literally embedding a compliance department of our choosing into the company to monitor it going forward. They will pay for those people, but the people will report to the new chairman,' Ross told CNBC. 'This is a pretty strict settlement. The strictest and largest settlement fine that has ever been brought by the Commerce Department against any violator of export controls.' Under the agreement, ZTE also is required to change its entire board of directors and executive team within 30 days. The government will hold $400 million of ZTE’s money in escrow as a hedge against future violations by the company, which last year settled criminal and civil charges in connection with its violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea. ZTE was found to have shipped its sophisticated telecommunications equipment to both countries, which the State Department lists as supporters of terrorism, and to have repeatedly lied to US investigators about its actions. The company paid $892 million in fines, with an additional $300 million suspended to encourage compliance with the settlement. The $400 million escrow likely includes those suspended funds, according to Doug Jacobson, a Washington, DC, trade attorney....Carlos Gutierrez, who was commerce secretary under President George W. Bush, said the change in the US penalty likely averted a worsening in relations with China. Since the original US action would have put ZTE out of business, Chinese authorities would have retaliated against a prominent US company, he said. 'I think where we ended up on ZTE is in a better place,' said Gutierrez, who has been critical of other Trump administration trade policies. 'The Chinese public was up in arms because they believed the US was destroying ZTE.' ” • • • IS FRANCE A REAL ALLY OF THE US? Gatestone Institute published an article asking that quesioyn on May 13. It was written by Dr. Guy Millière, a Europe and France expert and professor at the University of Paris. Millière wrote : "During his recent State visit in Washington, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of the 'long friendship' between France and the United States, and tried to present himself as a reliable ally. His statements, essentially empty words, should be taken with extreme caution. Today in France, repeated strikes in the public transportation systems degrade economic activity and create an atmosphere of permanent unrest. Riots are frequent and every protest now ends with dozens of cars burned and many shops ransacked. Terrorist attacks continue to take place : 250 people killed in the last six years, more than in any other European country. No-go zones are growing rapidly in the suburbs of all main cities. Shanty towns built by illegal migrants from Africa and the Middle East have sprung up in parts of Marseilles and Paris in the last few years. Islamization is everywhere. In hundreds of mosques, imams delivery fiery anti-Western speeches. Churches are vandalized....Jews by the thousand hide or flee the country. The government appears to have lost all hope of restoring order; it limits itself to trying to avoid the worst, without even being sure it can. A climate of creeping submission holds sway." Millière says : "Pluralism has almost completely disappeared. President Macron's popularity is fading, but the country's political parties are in ruins. The population seems to have lost all reference points; no leader embodies a vision likely to bring improvements. A Marxist left, still dreaming of a 'proletarian revolution,' persists in conflict with an extreme right mired in failed socialist ideas. Those include increased spending on public services and calls for more 'social justice.' The moderate right has not recovered since its disastrous defeat in last year's elections. For the first time under the Fifth Republic, the moderate right was eliminated in the first round of the presidential election; it is still disintegrating." • Dr. Millière argues that : "The pervasive decomposition of the country and the exhausted leadership of those who are supposed to rule has affected foreign policy as well....In Washington, Macron denounced terrorism in general, but avoided the words 'Islamic terrorism.' When he spoke to students, he did not hide the existence of hatred towards the Jews in France, but attributed it only to the far right. In his speech to Congress, Macron [said] that he wants France to contribute to a 'sustainable peace in a united Syria.' He never said that the country has been totally devastated, emptied of half of its population, and under the control of Russia and Iran, which are busy populating the place with military bases. Macron also said, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that with some adjustments, the Iran nuclear agreement could prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons." • Dr. Millière notes that : "In December 2017, a few hours after President Trump announced his decision to move America's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, an official statement by the French government announced that the French embassy in Israel will remain in Tel Aviv, and that 'East Jerusalem' must be the capital of the future 'Palestinian State.' Macron called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; together they decided to try to persuade President Trump to reconsider his decision. Since then, Macron has stipulated that President Trump's decision supposedly 'goes against international law' and that the United States has lost its position of 'honest broker' in the Middle East....When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Paris, in December, 2017, Macron told him undiplomatically that Israel must stop the 'colonization of the Palestinian territories.' A few months earlier, Macron had welcomed Mahmoud Abbas to Paris and....He kissed Mahmoud Abbas as warmly as he kissed Donald Trump at the White House. He did not react to Abbas's most recent anti-Semitic rant. When Abbas has praised the murderers of Jews, Macron never said anything....On May 8, President Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement and restore sanctions on Iran. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani replied that 'Iranian uranium enrichment may resume,' and that Iran will now negotiate with countries remaining in the agreement. Macron said that he 'regrets' President Trump's decision, and added illogically that 'the international fight against nuclear proliferation is at stake.' He recently spoke of a 'risk of war,' overlooking that Iran is already at war in much of Middle East -- Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon -- and even with its own citizens. In a joint statement, Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke of their 'continuing commitment' to the deal, and added that Iran 'meets its own obligations under the deal.'....It will be difficult for Macron to repeat that he is an ally of the United States, or that he is reliable. Sadly, it will also be difficult for Macron, May and Merkel to hide that they are appeasers of Islam and the weak commanders of countries they are allowing to decay." • • • DEAR READERS, what is clear is that European leaders, including French President Macron, are friends of the United States when the US is paying for their defense, fighting a long-term war in the Middle East to try, among other things, to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into Europe, and when America turns a blind eye to the unfair tariffs and trade practices Europe routinely aims at America. • Frankly, with friends like these, who needs enemies. President is better off going to Asia, where America seems to have some real friends.