Foreign Affairs

Royal Family Snubs Trump

“Prince Charles and Prince William were unwilling to meet Donald Trump on his visit to Britain, leaving the Queen to greet the US president alone,” the Sunday Times reports.

“The first two in line to the throne let it be known during informal discussions about the arrangements for the president’s four-day trip that they did not want to take part.”

Trump Advised May to Sue the European Union

The Guardian: “Theresa May has revealed that Donald Trump advised her to ‘sue the European Union’ rather than negotiate with the 27-country bloc, in a private conversation that the US president referred to during his visit to the UK on Friday.”

“The prime minister was asked on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show what the ‘brutal’ Brexit negotiating advice was that Trump had talked about in their joint press conference outside the prime minister’s Chequers country retreat.”

For Putin, It’s All About the Meeting

Masha Green: “The mere fact of the meeting, followed by a joint press conference with the American President, will be a demonstration of power for Putin. He needs to deliver nothing else. If, however, he is also able to nudge Trump toward a verbal acknowledgment of the legitimacy of Russia’s interests in its old sphere of influence—something that Putin will almost certainly bring up in conversation, making Trump likely to parrot an attitude he instinctively understands—Russians will perceive it as Putin restoring Russia’s superpower status.”

“Putin may also suggest a deal whereby the United States pulls out of Syria. Being able to make such an announcement would make Trump feel like the dealmaker he longs to be. To Russians, it would look like they had won the war. If any deal happens, though, it will be merely an accidental substantive bonus attached to a performance designed to be empty.”

On Wrong Side of Our Most Important Struggle

Max Boot: “In short, across the West, politics is once again being reduced to an atavistic struggle between the radical right and the loony left. We have avoided disaster only because there are still a few sensible leaders left such as Britain’s Theresa May, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Germany’s Angela Merkel who are trying to hew to the rapidly vanishing center. But they are facing virulent assault from both left-wing and right-wing extremists often supported, one way or another, by the Kremlin.”

“Trump’s insincere praise for Merkel and May cannot disguise the disturbing reality that, in the existential struggle of our time — the battle between moderation and extremism, democracy and authoritarianism — the U.S. government is on the wrong side. Long the champion of Western freedom and unity, the United States under Trump has become a dark, destabilizing force that threatens to destroy the unprecedented post-1945 period of peace and prosperity.”

Trump Is Colluding with Russia Now

David Rothkopf: “This is an extraordinary moment. It is without equal not only in American history but in modern history. A hostile foreign power intervened in our election to help elect a man president who has since actively served their interests and has defended them at every turn.”

“Trump may deny collusion. But given that this the attack continues, denying it is collusion, distracting from it is collusion, obstructing the investigation of it is collusion — because all these things enable it to go on.”

“That the president is abetted in his aid for the Russians — again, in the midst of this ongoing attack — by the leadership of the Republican Party makes the situation all the more extraordinary and dangerous. As they seek to undermine the investigation, they serve Russia as directly as if they were officers of the GRU.”

New York Times: “Whether it is Russia’s interference in the election, its annexation of Crimea or its intervention in Syria, Mr. Trump’s statements either undercut, or flatly contradict, those of his lieutenants. The disconnect is so profound that it often seems Mr. Trump is pursuing one Russia policy, set on ushering in a gauzy new era of cooperation with Mr. Putin, while the rest of his administration is pursuing another.”

Trump Avoids the Public on Foreign Trips

Washington Post: “Hewing to a formal itinerary limited to working sessions with Prime Minister Theresa May and a tea ceremony with Queen Elizabeth, Trump has studiously avoided interacting with the public at large.”

“Aides have said the schedule was intentionally designed to keep the president far away from the mass protests in London that greeted his arrival… But Trump also has largely eschewed public events during his previous foreign trips, and this weekend he is cloistered at his private golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland.”

Schumer Calls on Trump to Cancel Putin Meeting

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called in a statement for President Trump to cancel his one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Said Schumer: “President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections. Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) also came out against the meeting, writing that if Trump “is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward.”

Trump’s Dubious Claims of Success

“Declaring victory over freeloading partners, President Trump claimed he had secured significant new concessions from NATO member nations on military spending after days of public haranguing. But even before Air Force One completed its 50-minute flight across the English Channel to the next stop on his European tour, Trump’s claims of accomplishment were challenged by the same allies he claimed had caved,” the AP reports.

“Trump’s head-spinning 28 hours at the NATO summit in Brussels before visiting Britain reaffirmed a familiar pattern for the salesman-turned-president, who left a chaotic trail behind and whose self-proclaimed accomplishments abroad proved once again to be more show than substance. In the space of eight hours, Trump had moved from doubting the utility of the mutual defense alliance and provoking an extraordinary emergency session of its members to declaring the pact stronger than ever.”

“It’s a playbook Trump has followed before: Trump claimed world-altering success following last month’s meeting with Kim Jong Un, when he stated that North Korea was ‘no longer a nuclear threat’ after their historic summit in Singapore. And in May, he took a victory lap on a supposed trade deal with China, only to see it morph into the beginnings of a trade war.”

Trump Praises May Just Hours After Bashing Her

Tacking in a different direction, President Trump said that the relationship between the United States and Britain is “very, very strong” and praised Prime Minister Theresa May for working “very hard” with him during a just-finished NATO summit in Brussels, NBC News reports.

“Trump’s remarks came just hours after the British tabloid The Sun published an interview with Trump in which he torched May over her handling of the U.K.’s impending divorce from the European Union and, perhaps more important, said that if her plan for Brexit goes forward it would “probably end” the chances of a bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and Britain.”

“When asked directly whether he regretted the interview, which appeared at a time when May’s job is on the line over her proposal for a ‘soft’ Brexit, Trump closed his eyelids and rolled his eyes.”

Jonathan Swan: “This is Trump saying whatever’s on his mind and damn the consequences — always playing to his base, and refusing to put himself in another leader’s shoes. Trump’s doesn’t have a great relationship with May, but it’s not as bad as his relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

Trade Talks with China Have ‘Broken Down’

New York Times: “The trade war between the United States and China showed no signs of yielding on Thursday, as Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, told lawmakers there was no clear path to resolution and Beijing blasted the administration over its approach. Mr. Mnuchin, who has tried to avoid calling the trade tensions with China a ‘war,’ said talks with Beijing had ‘broken down’ and suggested it was now up to China to come to the table with concessions.”

“The Chinese, meanwhile, accused the United States of ‘acting erratically’ and said the administration had ‘blatantly abandoned the consensuses that two sides have reached and insisted on fighting a trade war with China.’”

Washington Fears Trump Will Be No Match for Putin

Susan Glasser: “Beyond the allure of aggrandizement and the mystery of President Trump’s affinity for the Russian strongman, why the meeting is taking place now remains a mystery. Is the purpose to discuss arms control? Syria? Ukraine? To rehash the 2016 election? Remarkably, it’s not clear, and that is and of itself marks this as a most unusual summit.”

“Needless to say, one preparatory trip, no formal agenda, and no ‘deliverables’ is not normal for a summit between the heads of the world’s two biggest nuclear-armed nations. Washington usually spends months, or even years, working up to a meeting between the President and the leader of Russia. But not this time.”

Trump’s Long Obsession with the Royal Family

Boston Globe: “The brief meeting with Queen Elizabeth — the Trumps are set to have a 25-minute tea with the monarch — is a moment for Trump to bathe in some of the pomp and ceremony he’s tried to copy in his own life with gold adornments and rococo style. He has recounted how, as a boy, his mother — whom he says he gets his sense of showmanship from — sat for an entire day watching Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Even his youngest child is named with royal flair: Baron.”

Trump Says He Warned Theresa May About Brexit

President Trump told The Sun that British prime minister Theresa May “ignored his advice by opting for a soft Brexit strategy. And he warned her any attempts to maintain close ties with the EU would make a lucrative US trade deal very unlikely.”

Said Trump: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.”

The Western Alliance Is Unraveling

Robert Kagan: “But even Trump must know the likely response in Europe. The insults and humiliations he inflicted on allied leaders will not be forgotten or forgiven. They will make it impossible for European leaders to win public support for the spending Trump disingenuously claims to want. What German leader after such a tongue-lashing could do Trump’s bidding and hope to survive politically?”

“Any student of history knows that it is moments like this summit that set in motion chains of events that are difficult to stop. The democratic alliance that has been the bedrock of the American-led liberal world order is unraveling. At some point, and probably sooner than we expect, the global peace that that alliance and that order undergirded will unravel, too. Despite our human desire to hope for the best, things will not be okay. The world crisis is upon us.”