Friday, 2 June 2017

In May 2017 Trump lumbered across the international stage dragging his knuckles in the dust

This is Donald Trump front and centre at every NATO photo opportunity……

This is how he gets there…….
Trump putting his right hand on the right arm of Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and pushing himself ahead.

Not content with a single display of adolescent dominance Trump went for the gorilla grab with French President Macron......
These bully moves perhaps reflecting his reaction to the cool reception his policy stance received……

Politico, 26 May 2017:

In Europe, where he’s attended group meetings with other world leaders — first in Brussels at the European Union and NATO and now at the G-7 summit in Sicily — Trump has appeared less at ease.

While he avoided any major gaffes or serious diplomatic breaches, Trump’s lack of rapport with European leaders raises serious questions about his ability to effectively team up with critical U.S. allies.

“Like when there's a new strange kid in the class nobody likes,” said a senior EU official who was briefed on the closed NATO meetings in Brussels. “You behave civilly when teachers [media] watch but don't spend time with him in private because he's so different.”

Raw Story, 25 May 2017:

President Donald Trump on Thursday delivered a speech at NATO headquarters in which he did not explicitly endorse Article 5, which outlines a policy of collective defense among all members of the alliance.

While this might seem like a small oversight to casual observers, Brookings Institute fellow and top foreign policy scholar Tom Wright said Trump’s refusal to endorse Article 5 has rendered his entire foreign policy trip a “failure.”

“The White House told the NYT yesterday Trump would finally endorse Article 5,” he wrote on Twitter. “The fact that he did not is astonishing and shows that someone in the White House or [Trump] himself took it out. This will come as a huge shock to NATO members.”

Wright went on to say that Trump’s trip can now be considered “close to a disaster” unless he explicitly fixes things by endorsing Article 5 later on Thursday. He also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “will be thrilled at Trump’s refusal to endorse Article 5,” which he described as “unimaginable under any other president.”

The New York Times, 25 May 2017:

Instead of stressing an Article 5 commitment, Mr. Trump used his remarks at the NATO headquarters to criticize the other leaders assembled behind him for not contributing 2 percent of their countries’ gross domestic product to their defense. The allied nations have agreed to do so, but have often fallen short.

“Two percent is the bare minimum for confronting today’s very real and very vicious threats,” Mr. Trump said. “If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today.”

The president said he had been “very direct” with the leadership of NATO about what he said was a failure on the part of many nations to pay their fair share. “Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying,” he said.

Earlier, Mr. Trump, a blunt critic of the European Union during his campaign for the White House, received a chilly reception from his European counterparts as they began meetings in Brussels, clashing over tradeclimate and the best way to confront Russia.

The Washington Post, 26 May 2017:

During a meeting Thursday with European Union officials in Brussels, Trump allegedly said, “The Germans are bad, very bad,” according to Germany’s Spiegel Online, which cited unnamed sources in the room. He continued, the outlet said, by saying: “See the millions of cars they are selling in the U.S.? Terrible. We will stop this.”……

Asked about Trump’s alleged comments, Germany’s deputy government spokesman, Georg Streiter, said in Berlin on Friday that “a trade surplus is neither bad nor evil; it’s the result of the interplay between supply and demand on world markets.”

Yahoo! 7 News, 27 May 2017:

Taormina (Italy) (AFP) - A summit of G7 leaders on Friday failed to make progress on narrowing differences between the United States and its partners on climate change, hosts Italy said.

With President Donald Trump still reviewing the US position, Washington is resisting intense pressure to commit to remaining within the framework of the 2015 global accord on curbing carbon emissions.

"The question of the Paris climate accord is still hanging," Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni told a news conference after the leaders held talks on the issue.

Gary Cohn, Trump's economic advisor, said the president had told his colleagues that he regarded the environment as important.

"His views are evolving, he came here to learn," Cohn said. "His basis for decision ultimately will be what's best for the United States."

The optics in Israel were not good…….
An obviously puzzled Israeli Prime Minister as Trump exits.

Even his ceremonial visit with the Roman Catholic pontiff did not appear to go well……..

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