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By Olivia Pierson
[First published on Insight @the BFD 29/8/19]
After watching the extraordinary G7 Summit coverage and press conferences; President Trump, leading directly from the front – in contrast to his predecessor President Obama who liked to lead from behind – lends validity to the title “leader of the free world.”
This summit was all about world trade, specifically the readjustment of it, and Trump commandeered the whole event with the prowess and ease of a great businessman turned statesman.
Though there are still the nuts and bolts of wording and terms yet to be agreed upon, Japan and the United States struck an important deal “in principle” at the summit. Japan has agreed to buy surplus corn from America’s farmers and cut the 38.5 percent tariffs on American beef to 9 percent.
The United States expects Japan to join a coalition to protect ships in the Strait of Hormuz. Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, said that there were “no discussions specifically on Iran” between Trump and Abe at the summit, but previous negotiations with the United States have already been made clear on this issue.
President Trump, in a sympathetic remark about Britain’s former PM, Theresa May, reiterated just how tough and difficult the European Union were to negotiate with: “Just ask Theresa May”, he said during his press conference.
Germany is a nation that is export-dependent, especially when it comes to their car market. With her country facing economic recession, Angela Merkel told the press that Germany wants the EU to reach a trade deal with the US as quickly as possible:
“We want to talk now about the EU and the United States having deeper talks as quickly as possible,” Merkel told reporters, “We have a great interest in our trade being intensified. I think we can find solutions, Germany, within the framework of the EU, is working hard on this.”
President Trump, whilst hailing Boris Johnson as the right man to lead Brexit and saying that he’s “been waiting for about six years for him to become Prime Minister”, has promised the United Kingdom a speedy free-trade deal if, as planned, they leave the EU later this year.
A notable highlight of the summit was President Trump and US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, announcing that China had made contact on Sunday night saying that they were interested in conducting trade talks after the latest round of brutal trade-war tariff escalations. Remembering that the Chinese have a huge cultural stake in “saving face” and also that they are under the world microscope with chronic tensions and riots unfolding presently in Hong Kong, the Chinese are not admitting to much publicly about these said contacts being made to the US, but Vice Premier Liu stated on Monday at the Smart China Expo in Chongqing:
“We are willing to solve the problem through consultation and cooperation with a calm attitude. We firmly oppose the escalation of the trade war… it is not conducive to China, the U.S. and the interests of people all over the world.”
President Trump responded to that statement:
“They want to make a deal very badly… the tariffs have hit them very hard. He wants to see a deal made, he wants it to be made under calm conditions. He used the word ‘calm,’ I agree with him.”
This is movement in the right direction, but nobody expects trade talks with China to be solved immediately; after all, the status quo has been the result of decades of appeasement. What is clear is that Trump has now managed to get the other G7 countries to sing from the same song-sheet that he has been singing solo from since he decided to make his bid for the presidency.
President Macron of France performed a peculiar attempted ambush on President Trump, when he invited the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, to attend the summit with the intention of getting Zarif and Trump to the negotiating table, amidst rising tensions between their two countries due to crippling sanctions and the withdrawal of the U.S from the JCPOA deal in 2017.
President Trump refused to meet with Zarif; but he said he’d be open to talks in the near future, should the Iranian regime be so inclined – which obviously they are, despite their fanatical bravado and rhetoric to date.
This was an excellent move on Trump’s part and a very shady one on Macron’s, however, Trump stated that he didn’t mind Macron’s actions in the least, as Macron had sought his approval with a phone call to apprise him of the situation beforehand. Macron, slightly petulantly, counteracted that statement by saying that he had “informed” the president of the rogue invitation. An odd business indeed. What it does make clear is how much the EU needs the US to move ahead on all matters pertaining to Iran. Trump handled this curve-ball beautifully, showing just how diplomatically clever his instincts are. The ambush was quashed, and Iran has now revealed just how desperate they are to alter the dire (for them) status quo. All the G7 nations remain unanimous that Iran must not get a nuclear weapon.
President Trump floated the idea that Putin be brought back to the annual summit, considering that so many of the talks involve Russia when Putin is never in the room to answer any of the important geopolitical questions. This is particularly strange considering how much gas and oil Europe continues to purchase from Russia; with a much higher consumption rate on the cards with the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine. Spearheaded by President Obama, Russia’s membership was suspended from G8 after Putin’s 2014 aggressive annexation of Crimea. President Trump has come under harsh criticism by the American media for making the point at this summit that “Putin outsmarted Obama.”
This is actually an incredible understatement on President Trump’s part.
During the 2008 American election, Sarah Palin, who was then on the Republican ticket as John McCain’s running mate, stated that “Putin’s intention might be to invade Ukraine.” She was widely derided as an ignoramus and mocked for it while being laughed out of every single newsroom. Then later in 2012, during the election debates, Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, stated that President Obama was “naive when it came to Russia’s intentions” as a recovering world power and that they remained a “powerful geo-political foe.” Obama laughed out loud, and told Romney that “the Cold War was over.”
So Obama was not just outsmarted by Putin, he was bent over a barrel and reamed by him. Then Putin found himself disinvited from further world summits. Good on President Trump for reminding the folks who may have forgotten all this; especially now, when many of them may be wishing for a more naive, softer touch from an American president at the same time that the EU furthers its agenda for an even higher energy dependence on Russia while simultaneously they prefer Putin not to be in the room as world trade talks take place.
The fake news media are reporting that “President Trump demands that Putin be reinstated at world summits.” He did no such thing. He pointed out the facts of where the issues lie in the real world, in real time.
The main take-aways from this summit were a powerful America attracting new trade deals with Europe and the UK, a great trade deal with Japan later this year, unanimity concerning Iran’s not being able to acquire a nuclear weapon, unanimity that China has acted against WTO rules (and that it is unacceptable), potential talks between the US and Iran and the likelihood of new negotiations on the horizon to be furthered between China and the US.
But don’t look to the MSM to be anything other than a hundred percent negative about the entire event – we’re used to this bad faith reporting from them. All they are hoping for is a world recession and an American economic collapse in order for the Democratic party to be able to run its 2020 election campaign message on “Trump brought about a recession and ruined trade.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Next, they’ll be calling the president Hitler, Stalin and Mao combined; oh wait…
If you enjoyed this article, please buy my book "Western Values Defended: A Primer"
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