7 June 2018   Leave a comment

In retaliation for US tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, a number of countries have announced that they will impose tariffs on a number of US exports.  Notably, the countries have singled out bourbon whiskey which is made primarily in the US state of Kentucky, home state of the Senate Republican Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.  So far, Senator McConnell has yet to break with President Trump on the issue of trade, but I suspect that many of his constituents are not pleased with the new US trade policy.  Perhaps the tariffs may induce a change to other kinds of whiskey.  The tariffs are likely to be a top agenda item at the G7 summit meeting, where the US will stand alone on the issue of tariffs.

Infographic: To Where American Whiskey Flows | Statista

 

Miranda Carter has written an essay comparing Donald Trump to Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German leader who famously told German soldiers in August 1914:  “You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees.”  The comparison is spookily accurate:

“The general staff of the German Army agreed that the Kaiser couldn’t ‘lead three soldiers over a gutter.’ He had neither the attention span nor the ability. ‘Distractions, whether they are little games with his army or navy, travelling or hunting—are everything to him,’ a disillusioned former mentor wrote. ‘He reads very little apart from newspaper cuttings, hardly writes anything himself apart from marginalia on reports and considers those talks best which are quickly over and done with.’ The Kaiser’s entourage compiled press cuttings for him, mostly about himself, which he read as obsessively as Trump watches television. A critical story would send him into paroxysms of fury.”

Let’s hope that the comparison does not include a tragic world war.

Kaiser WIlhelm II

 

At one point, US President Trump claimed that French President Macron was “perfect”.  During their meetings in Paris and Washington, DC, it appeared as if the two had a good relationship.  The French, however, did not think too highly of the relationship.

“A new poll from Odoxa shows that 55 percent of French people disapprove of Macron’s relationship with Trump. The firm also found ‘that the words ‘sycophantic,’ ‘painful’ and ‘failure’ were among the most frequently used on social media to describe the Macron-Trump relationship.’”

However, the Macron-Trump relationship appears to have crumbled in the wake of Trump’s trade decisions.  The Hill quotes President Macron in a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau prior to the beginning of the G7 meeting in Canada:

“The six countries of the G-7 without the United States, are a bigger market taken together than the American market…..There will be no world hegemony if we know how to organize ourselves. And we don’t want there to be one…..Maybe the American president doesn’t care about being isolated today, but we don’t mind being six, if needs be.”

Later in the press conference, Macron raised the stakes of his criticism:

“We are all engaged in conflicts in Syria, in Iraq, in the Sahel, in different places in the world. We are allies. Our soldiers stand shoulder to shoulder to defend liberty and our values……You can’t, among allies in this international context, start a trade war. For me it’s a question of principle.”

This G7 meeting will be more interesting than usual.  We will see how President Trump is received.

Posted June 7, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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