Now that President Donald Trump has totally alienated the leaders of the traditional U.S. allies before escaping from Canada, it’s easy to see what he hopes to gain from that experience when he sat down with Kim Jong Un in Singapore. North Korea could give him some pointers on how the United States will exist as another pariah nation.
No, we’re not one yet, but the other G-7 heads of state could barely hide their disgust and were talking openly about becoming the G-6 now that Trump is blasting the Old World Order of trade agreements and so many geopolitical arrangements, turning things into the New World Disorder. The group used to be the G-8, but the other members tossed out Russia in 2014 over Vladimir Putin’s decision to take over Crimea. Now the president has added another layer to the antagonism, by pushing to have Russia readmitted.
First Vlad, then China’s Xi Jinping, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and now Kim. I’m hardly the first one to wonder why the leader of the free world, meaning POTUS, seems to get along with those who rigidly rule their unfree countries while picking fights nonstop with those who govern countries with a tradition of democracy.
Mind you, there is much to improve in a rigged worldwide system that has calcified since it was cobbled together after World War II. Still, mindlessly upending the intricately woven military, diplomatic and economic tapestry will leave it in tatters if change is not accompanied by careful planning and execution. Now at the G-7’s latest confrontation (everything with Donald Trump is a confrontation), Trump threatens to end trade with our longstanding international trade partners. That is obviously absurd — unless he comes up with a way to make up for it with North Korea as an economic cohort.
As he was winging away, the Trumpster disclosed that the U.S. had refused to sign on to the usual communique that glosses over diplomatic disappointments. He exploded on Twitter, referring to the G-7 host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as “dishonest and weak.” That was after Trudeau had made uppity statements describing what really was a Trump-vs-everyone-else series of arguments. By now, just about anyone who deals with Donald Trump understands that part of that process will inevitably involve personal attacks. After a while, some might conclude that with the unavoidable abuse from such a crass individual, it isn’t worth it, even though he is temporarily in charge of the world’s most significant economy, at least until he fritters it away.
His base might be thrilled by all his tough bluster, but how would they feel being unemployed when there’s no market for American goods and the jobs shrivel away. Maybe his millions of followers would be excited if he were to demand another wall, this one along the border with Canada.
There’s always the possibility of new alliances, the United States joining with China, Russia and now North Korea. He can leave the old gang behind, even those who tried to be buddies, like French President Emmanuel Macron, who said of Trump’s approach: “There is no winner, there are only losers when you take that strategy.”
Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN.