He came late. He pouted. He left early. Even converted into Latin, it wouldn’t make for a stirring motto. But that didn’t stop Donald Trump’s surrogates from marching across the dial to spread the word that Trump was “forceful,” that he presided over a “successful” G-7, and that he only called in from Air Force One to order an international takesy-backsy because he was “betrayed” by people who earned “a special place in hell” for crossing Trump.
Strangely enough, this is not the consensus opinion of the rest of the world. It’s not what they think in Germany, where Der Spiegel reports that “President Donald Trump is intent on treating America's allies worse than its enemies.” They also have a recommended action, namely that Europe should actively work to “isolate Trump on the international stage.”
The Toronto Globe and Mail emphasized that the remarks from Trump, and even more over the top statements from Trump’s advisors Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro had served to unite Canada. In response, political opponents of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged their support and Canadian officials hardened their line on Trump’s proposed changes to NAFTA.
The Toronto Star was a bit more vocal about their feelings. They not only practiced some international rubber-glue to point out that most of Donald Trump’s insults are a result of his projecting his own faults onto Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but had a few of their own to send back.
In London, The Guardian looked at just how damaging Trump’s actions were to an alliance going back decades, with the G-7 meeting not just ending in disaster, but showcasing Trump’s willingness to turn his back on allies. But that’s not to say they didn’t have something nice to say.
A horrified European political establishment sees Trump, like Vladimir Putin, backing the populists of Europe, especially in eastern Europe, Austria and Italy. These are forces that threaten the liberal order in a way that Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May and Angela Merkel are only beginning to understand.
Trump and Putin taking on May, Merkel and Macron. That’s an idea that shouldn’t just please Trump, it’s a fair description of the world today.
The London Times also looked ahead to the upcoming NATO meeting and how the Trump-strained relations will affect the military alliance. Meanwhile, their opinion page gave a blunter assessment of how things already are by headlining “The US is no longer a country we can trust” and tossing on a judgement that Trump isn’t just a “mere blowhard” and “rhetorical bully,” but a genuine guide to where American policy is heading—away from the liberal democracy that has preserved Europe since World War II.
Meanwhile, across the Channel at Le Monde, everything gets even more pointed.
The misconduct of the lopsided lout who runs the White House is not just a passing aberration, the causes of which are merely psychological and the effects reversible, once this character disappears from the landscape.
Like the London Times, Le Monde finds that Trump isn’t a passing fad, but just the most visible expression of underlying tendencies in trans-Atlantic relations. Trump’s “brutality and his vulgarity” have only served to bring on the crisis more quickly.
The Japan Times reserves their critique for the editorial page. They point out that Trump seems intent on making every event about Trump, and that he’s been very successful.
If he aims to undermine the legitimacy of international institutions, he is making progress. If, however, he seeks to make America great again, his actions are working at cross purposes to his goal.