Wednesday Night #1892

Written by  //  June 13, 2018  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Donald Trump’s disruption of the G7 (or G6+1) gave way to the Singapore (Sentoas) Summit, amidst some distinctly veiled euphoria on the part of the adults in the room. The circus is bound to distract from the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of  illegal immigrant families, torn apart by ICE agents, with small children separated from anguished parents.

First the Charlevoix 2018 G7 and Trump’s inexcusably rude and disruptive behaviour.
The casting aside of long-term allies with some pretty flimsy excuses is inexplicable, but perhaps Paul Krugman has an answer and it is definitely frightening.:
Paul Krugman: Debacle in Quebec
“He didn’t put America first; Russia first would be a better description. And he didn’t demand drastic policy changes from our allies; he demanded that they stop doing bad things they aren’t doing. This wasn’t a tough stance on behalf of American interests, it was a declaration of ignorance and policy insanity. … Was there any strategy behind Trump’s behavior? Well, it was pretty much exactly what he would have done if he really is Putin’s puppet: yelling at friendly nations about sins they aren’t committing won’t bring back American jobs, but it’s exactly what someone who does want to break up the Western alliance would like to see.”

Tony Deutsch drew our attention to Diplomacy Trump-Style: Understanding Narcissism – it helps to explain the outbursts.

As Trump spewed nasty tweets, seconded by his acolytes Navarro and Kudlow, it was difficult to avoid a visual comparison to the shocking pictures of the eruption of  Guatemala’s Fuego volcano – the Trumpian orange glow, the flow of deadly lava on unsuspecting inhabitants … we could go on with the symbolism.

Canadians of all political stripes quickly rallied to  PM Trudeau’s side, but commentators warn that the road forward will not be easy. Chantal Hébert: Response to Trump’s attack leaves little wiggle room for Trudeau and Andrew Coyne: Limiting the harm that Trump does to Canada is now Job 1 for Trudeau
If the prime minister should not automatically be blamed for failing to avert Donald Trump’s wrath, neither should he be above all criticism
“We are unlikely to frame an effective counter-strategy if it is not open to debate and criticism. It is one thing to say we should be united in rejecting the president’s personal attacks on the prime minister, as we are in defense of Canada’s national interest. But how to defend that interest is a matter on which reasonable — and patriotic — people can differ.”

All of this, if not so serious, might otherwise be a welcome distraction for the government from the Kinder Morgan controversy, especially in light of recent revelations the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Oil Spill was 48 Times Larger Than 1st Reported and Kinder Morgan broke rules for months before Canadian officials noticed company put marine life in danger.

A fascinating sideshow regarding the pesky question of supply management: Andrew Scheer removes Maxime Bernier from Tory front bench
“A Conservative MP provided the reason for Bernier’s removal on condition he not be identified. He told CBC News that Bernier was removed because of his decision last week to post on his website a chapter from his book, in which the MP said Scheer’s victory as party leader was owed to “fake Conservatives” who only joined the party to defend supply management in the dairy industry.”

The focus of the world media instantly turned from bucolic Charlevoix to the Singapore Summit spectacle whose outcome is currently greeted with  at best guarded optimism, as expressed by Victor Cha, a former National Security Council director for Asia, Trump and Kim Have Just Walked Us Back From the Brink of War.
“To be sure, the joint statement that Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim released after their meeting left a lot to be desired. Mr. Kim did not commit to verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear programs. Mr. Trump gave props to a dictator who, according to the United Nations, belongs in a docket before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Mr. Trump surprised his South Korean ally by announcing that he would cancel joint United States-South Korea military exercises that help to keep the peace on the Korean Peninsula. The photo opportunity of a face-to-face meeting with the leader of the free world is the ultimate legitimizer for this nuclear rogue state. Yet, in the case of North Korea, there are never good policy options — there are only choices between the bad and the worse.”
Uri Friedman writes in The Atlantic Trump Got Nearly Nothing From Kim Jong Un – Maybe this is the beginning of something big. But it started off small.
Our friend C Uday Bhaskar writes that Winner takes all – Sentosa Summit was a win-win for one
“President Donald Trump made an effort to overcome the hurdles that led to the Singapore Summit between him and DPRK Chairman Kim Jong Un. But the meeting’s big winner wasn’t Trump – it was Kim.”
And there is near consensus from eleven Brookings experts that, in the words of Jonathan Pollack, “The joint statement is a decidedly underwhelming document, consisting largely of generalities and platitudes that Trump quickly tried to oversell.”

Oh well, at least there appears to be cause to celebrate the news that Canada is to co-host 2026 World Cup, although for the moment the details are pretty confusing.

Bon courage, Chrystia Freeland, headed to Washington for a series of meetings with U.S. lawmakers, before accepting her well-deserved Diplomat of the Year award from Foreign Policy magazine on Wednesday evening. Stay tuned for what may be a major speech.

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