Foreign Affairs

Merkel Laments Loss of Reliable Global Alliances

In the aftermath of a contentious Group of 7 meeting, where leaders failed to persuade President Trump to back the Paris climate accord, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said that tried and tested global alliances were no longer as reliable as they once were, citing her experience “in recent days,” the New York Times reports.

“Ms. Merkel, who is campaigning for a fourth term in the September elections, did not name the country or leader she had in mind.”

“It seemed clear, however, that she was referring mainly to the United States and Mr. Trump, who refused to commit to the goals of the 195-nation climate agreement hammered out in 2015. He has said it would be bad for the United States economy.”

Macron Called Handshake a ‘Moment of Truth’

French president Emmanuel Macron said his now-famous white-knuckle handshake showdown with Donald Trump was “a moment of truth” designed to show that he’s no pushover, the Guardian reports.

Said Macron: “My handshake with him, it wasn’t innocent. One must show that you won’t make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but also not over-publicize things, either.”

“At their first meeting, ahead of a Nato summit in Brussels on Thursday, the two men locked hands for so long that knuckles started turning white. The French leader held the shake for a few seconds more. Both men’s jaws seemed to clench.”

Trump the Outsider

From the Los Angeles Times:

Trump’s image as an outsider continued in Italy on Friday at the G-7 meeting in Taormina, Italy, where the distance between Trump and the others was as much physical as political. The presidents, chancellor and prime ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom walked the streets of Taormina.

Trump followed in a golf cart.

Trump Turns First Foreign Trip Into a Disaster

President Trump “punctured any illusions that he was on a fence-mending tour of Europe, declining to explicitly endorse NATO’s mutual defense pledge and lashing out at fellow members for what he called their ‘chronic underpayments’ to the alliance,” the New York Times reports.

“On a tense day when Mr. Trump brought the ‘America first’ themes of his presidential campaign to the very heart of Europe, he left European leaders visibly unsettled, with some openly lamenting divisions with the United States on trade, climate and the best way to confront Russia. The discord was palpable even in body language. When Mr. Trump greeted Emmanuel Macron, France’s new president, they grabbed each other’s hands, jaws clenched, in an extended grip that turned Mr. Trump’s knuckles white. When the leaders lined up to pose for the traditional photograph at NATO headquarters, Mr. Trump appeared to push aside the Montenegrin prime minister, Dusko Markovic, to get to his assigned place in the front.”

Former Russia ambassador Michael McFaul: “In Saudi Arabia, Trump promised no lectures. But at NATO, he lectured our allies at length.”

First Read: “Two days ago, you wouldn’t have been wrong to declare Trump’s overseas trip a relative success. But after yesterday — the ‘push aside,’ critical comments about Germany, no firm Article 5 embrace by Trump, and no formal position on Russia sanctions (!!!) — the trip became a disaster.”

Trump Chastises NATO on Payment Obligations

President Trump “exported the confrontational, nationalist rhetoric of his campaign across the Atlantic, shaming European leaders for not footing more of the bill for their own defenses and lecturing them to stop taking advantage of U.S. taxpayers,” the Washington Post reports.

“And he held back from the one pledge NATO leaders most dearly wanted to hear: an unconditional embrace of NATO’s solemn treaty commitment that an attack on a single alliance nation is an attack on all of them.”

Trump Condemns ‘Alleged Leaks’ After U.K. Complaints

President Trump condemned “leaks of sensitive information,” responding to a complaint by Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, over disclosures of details from the investigation into Britain’s deadliest terrorist attack since 2005, the New York Times reports.

Said Trump: “I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and, if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

An Awkward First Meeting

President Trump met newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time. From the pool report:

The two presidents, each wearing dark suits and blue ties (Trump’s was thick and royal blue; Macron’s was skinny and navy) sat in antique cream-upholstered arm chairs, with two American and French flags behind them. They shook hands for an extended period of time. Each president gripped the other’s hand with considerable intensity, their knuckles turning white and their jaws clenching and faces tightening.

U.K. Police No Longer Sharing Information with U.S.

Police investigating the Manchester Arena bomb attack have stopped sharing information with the U.S. after leaks to the media, the BBC reports.

“UK officials were outraged when photos appearing to show debris from the attack appeared in the New York Times. It came after the name of bomber Salman Abedi was leaked to US media just hours after the attack, which left 22 dead.”

Trump Administration Leaked U.K. Bomber’s Name

Trump administration officials were criticized for leaking the identity of the Manchester bomber before British police officially named him, The Guardian reports.

“Salman Abedi was identified in media reports that attributed ‘US officials’ as the source even as their British counterparts remained tight-lipped… The disclosures renewed concerns over leaks from Donald Trump’s administration two weeks after the US president revealed classified information, apparently from Israel, to Russia’s foreign minister in a White House meeting. Critics warn that US allies may be less willing to share intelligence in the future.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem. Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I wanted to tell you that.”

— President Trump, quoted by The Intercept, in a phone call with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has called for extrajudicial murders of drug dealers.

Trump Called Kim a ‘Madman’

President Trump labeled North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un a “madman with nuclear weapons” during a private phone conversation with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last month, just days before stating publicly that he would be “honored” to meet with Kim, the Washington Post reports.

Trump sought Duterte’s input on whether Kim is “stable or not stable” and expressed some satisfaction in North Korea’s recent failed missile tests, noting that “all his rockets are crashing. That’s the good news.”

How Trump Stayed Out of Trouble in the Middle East

“For four straight days, President Donald Trump did not live-tweet the cable shows. He didn’t mention his unlikely electoral win. And in visits to two countries where he was greeted with great fanfare, he never once complained about being treated unfairly,” Politico reports.

“Trump’s relatively successful swing through the Middle East was due to the fact that, for the most part, he didn’t get in his own way. It was also the result of months of careful planning.”

“But a key factor was the role played by Dina Powell, H.R. McMaster and Jared Kushner, who brought a combination of government experience and understanding that Trump wanted to get some negotiated wins on the board.”