Last week's G-7 Summit was a total fiasco, a first since the foundation of the G-7 back in 1975. This time, even by U.S. President Donald Trump's standards, a line has been crossed. As incredible as it sounds, Trump accused his partners in the G-7 of making "false statements." He arrived late to the summit, he left early and to add insult to injury, he torpedoed the final statement of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.The latter has been a popular target of the Trump administration, in a very non-diplomatic way. A Canadian daily, The Star, very clearly summarized the events, "Trump began the onslaught with a Saturday tweet in which he called Trudeau ‘dishonest and weak.' In Sunday interviews on CNN and Fox News, Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow and senior trade adviser Peter Navarro used still more disparaging adjectives – ‘amateurish,' ‘rogue,' ‘sophomoric' – and vaguely accused Trudeau of a ‘double-cross' and ‘betrayal'." Navarro delivered the most incendiary comment, "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."
It seems incredible that the prime minister in question is not Iranian or North Korean, but the beloved international leader Trudeau. Canada has been a very close ally to the U.S. – in fact, it is almost impossible to find a stronger economic and social interpenetration than the one between the U.S. and Canada. Still, Trudeau has been portrayed as the root of all the problems in U.S. international relations. He is not the only one, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are both extremely disappointed and irritated by Trump's shocking attitude.
Merkel, who is extremely cautious and delicate when it comes to public declarations, denounced and even castigated Trump by saying after having spent a lot of time and effort organizing a joint communiqué, Trump has decided, once again through a tweet, to desist. She said she found it "sad and disappointing."
Keep in mind that the U.S. is not just another random country. After World War II, the whole international economic and political system was constructed around the U.S., with dollar set as the world's reserve currency and the presupposition that American democracy would remain the moral guardian of the whole system.
So, it is hard to believe that this is also Trump's idea of the U.S.' role in the world. Susan B. Glasser, from the New Yorker, offered an alarming analysis, "The rift between the world's great democracies that Trump's election portended is coming to pass, and it is about far more than Iran policy, obscure trade provisions or whether Germany spends 2 percent of its GDP on NATO. Many senior European officials speak of it, as one ambassador to Washington did to me recently, as nothing less than a ‘crisis of the West'."
This behavior is leading to a full-fledged crisis in cooperation and mutual confidence. Each time neoconservative policies are implemented, a larger margin of maneuverability opens for countries like Iran and China. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit that took place a day after the G-7 disaster was buoyant. It consolidated Chinese leadership and demonstrated an incredible rapprochement between China and Russia. In fact, an agreement was signed between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping that goes beyond the style and content of the association between the communist regimes of Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong.
On one hand, countries with nondemocratic regimes – with the exception of Pakistan and India perhaps – are working more closely with the SCO; on the other hand, democratic regimes are being consumed by petty squabbles that might result in deeper crises. This is not good news for anyone, least of all Turkey. We will have to establish a dynamic of rapprochement with the EU at a time when the EU has other fish to fry.