It’s hard to pick a highlight, but for me this David Rowe cartoon of Trump paying his respects at 10 Downing Street after a gala welcome and a sedate dinner gets the gong:
The trip began with NATO, where:
- He blasted allies for not spending enough on defense, calling them “delinquent” and even suggesting they double their commitments.
- He repeatedly interrupted NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, at one point making Stoltenberg praise him.
- He insulted Germany, calling it a “captive to Russia” because it imports energy from the country.
In the end Trump claimed victory in what looked to everyone else like chaos. Maccron and Merkel say nothing changed in relation to their commitment, but in the end NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg:
- abandoned a session discussing moves towards Nato membership for Georgia, diplomatically sensitive because it sits on Russia’s flank, and beefing up Nato’s role in Afghanistan.
He cleared the room of all non-Nato leaders, from countries such as Georgia and Afghanistan, and held a closed session with Trump and the other 28 Nato leaders.
Stoltenberg said: “We had a very frank and open discussion … That discussion has made Nato stronger. It has created a new sense of urgency. A clear message from President Trump is having an impact.”
Trump’s visit to Britain was accompanied by a 6-metre balloon of POTUS:
Trump criticized Theresa May’s Brexit strategy, praised Boris Johnson as a potential leader and said if the UK does any kind of deal with the EU it could threaten a trade agreement with the US. Theresa May says Trump wanted her to sue Europe (in what court?)
Trump was unconscionably rude, but do you know, he could have been close to the mark. May’s Brexit strategy looks a dud and has left her nowhere.
To the Europeans, the EU is more than an economic union. Four elements are indivisible – free movement of goods, services, capital and people. May’s plan sees free movement of goods only, but in doing so, having to accept EU standards applying to the production of goods. For the hard-line Brexiteers, that is too much.
As a result Andrew Rawley in the link above reckons she will be 60 votes short on her own side when she brings the plan to parliament, which she must. Then the Irish are never going to accept a hard border.
It’s a mess, but Trump’s intervention actually gives her a better chance. People don’t appreciate being told what to do by a narcissistic git like Trump.
And a Britain with a smashed economy is not in Europe’s interest, so something might be cobbled together.
Then there was the meeting with Putin in Helsinki. Trump’s people have been trying to keep him away from Putin, lest he give away the family silver.
For Putin, the meeting itself was a win. Russia is not a superpower. It’s economy is about a fifth of that of the US and of the EU, behind India, Japan and Germany, ahead (probably not for long) of Indonesia and Brazil. He wants to be taken seriously.
The EU can’t forgive him for what he did and is doing to Ukraine, which goes well beyond the annexation of Crimea.
The meeting, I think, exceeded Putin’s wildest dreams, but has achieved the impossible – bipartisan outrage with Trump behaviour seen as ‘disgraceful’ as the US president sides with Russian leader over election meddling.
Donald and Vlad being best buddies in solving the world’s problems is superficially fine and good, but accepting Putin’s assertion that Russia did not interfere with the US election is extraordinary when Moeller indicted 12 real Russians with names and has now gone on from there:
- The special counsel’s team has now indicted 32 people and three Russian companies and secured five guilty pleas — with several of Trump’s former associates also agreeing to cooperate. Mueller appears to be far from finished.
Derek Shearer, former US ambassador to Finland, thinks it may be a watershed moment in Trump’s presidency.
“They consider him a stupid, unstrategic politician.”
That was before the meeting from a newspaper often critical of Putin.
I think Davis Rowe’s cartoon, appearing after NATO is brilliant and prescient.
Putin has succeeded in landing the out of control, chaotic Trump.