Okay, let’s just acknowledge this right up front: Canada is nice. If Earth handed out a Miss Congeniality prize, Canada would win. Canada is the neighbor everybody wants. Canada wouldn’t just lend you their shovel if you asked to borrow it, they’d offer to help you use it — then, when you failed to return the shovel, they’d wait for a few months then ask to borrow their own shovel back so they could help a Nigerian orphan hold a funeral for a beloved stuffed Koala bear named Tulip. Canada is the type of nation that comes to a complete halt at stop signs, even when there’s no traffic. If you ask Canada how it’s doing, it’ll say “Just fine, thanks” and mean it. And then Canada will ask how YOU are…and it’ll mean that too.
You have to be a total jackass to piss off Canada. It’s pretty easy to piss off France and Italy, and it’s really not hard to get Germany to make a face at you. The U.K. is fairly piss-offable, but that’s partly because they really enjoy making harumphing noises. It’s hard to tell if Japan is pissed off or not; Japan can play poker. But Canada? You have to be a total jackass and work hard to piss off Canada.
Comrade Trump did it. Did it easily. Trump’s super power is the ability to drop a turd in the punch bowl. And let you know he did it. And that he did it just because he knows it pisses you off, and because he’s sure he can get away with it. In other words, Trump is a total jackass.
At the end of every G7 summit for the last 40 years, they’ve issue a statement “guided by our shared values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and our commitment to promote a rules-based international order.” It’s a general affirmation of their common principles and economic aspirations. The language of the statement is nitpicked by policy experts from all seven nations, making sure there’s nothing in it that will offend anybody while still being hopeful. All seven nations agree on the statement and sign it. You can read the 2018 joint statement here.
Comrade Trump signed it. Well, wait…I don’t think Trump actually signed it himself, because he left early. He came late to meetings, told the G7 leaders they ought to allow Russia back into the group (they’d kicked Russia out after it invaded and seized Crimea along with a big chunk of Ukraine), imposed tariffs on their goods, got pissy when they said they’d impose tariffs right back, refused to wear headphones for translation when other G7 leaders spoke, then left the summit early. And Canada was fairly polite through all that. At the news conference at end of the summit, Prime Minister Trudeau answered a question from the press about imposing counter-tariffs against the U.S. He said:
“I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing. But it is something that we absolutely will do. Because Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”
Comrade Trump believes he has the right — even the obligation — to push people around. He…get this: he ordered his people still on the ground in Canada to officially rescind the U.S. signature on the joint statement. Seriously, after hearing Trudeau say Canada won’t be pushed around, Trump (who’d been complaining that the U.S. was tired of being pushed around) had a tantrum and said he’d unsign the joint statement. Not only that, he had his cadre of spokespersons accuse Trudeau of ‘back-stabbing’ and ‘betrayal’.
Total jackass. Trump went to a summit with an incredibly receptive and friendly group of nations who’ve been allied with the U.S. for decades, and managed to alienate them. After which he insulted them. He essentially dropped a turd in the G7 punch bowl then got pissed off because they didn’t like it.
And now Trump is about to hold another summit with the Aggressively Reckless and Paranoid Boy King of North Korea (a nation which, let’s face it, unlike the members of the G7, isn’t disposed to be friendly to the U.S. to begin with). A summit for which Trump said he didn’t really need to prepare. A summit with a hostile nuclear state that’s threatened “unimaginable” destruction of the U.S.
I don’t know. Maybe it’ll turn out okay. But I’m not confident. It’s one thing to drop a turd in the punch bowl when you’re among friends. It’s another thing altogether to drop a turd in the atomic stew when you’re meeting with an unstable dictator you called Little Rocket Man. I figure the best case scenario will be that Trump agrees to give Kim Jong Un a nuclear submarine in exchange for a chance to run a beauty contest for the ‘Army of Beauties’ that cheered on North Korean athletes in the Winter Olympic.
I don’t even want to think about the worst case scenario.