Diplomats headed to France for the G7 are approaching it with a great deal of trepidation at the idea of spending a weekend with President Donald Trump who is escaping the U.S. at a time when a global recession appears to be on the horizon.
Put more bluntly the Washington Post reports, "Like an annual holiday gathering where the main goal is to get through the day without a family explosion, one of France’s main objectives as host of this weekend’s Group of Seven summit is to minimize the chances that President Trump will blow it up."
Of concern is Trump's penchant for telling other countries how to manage their affairs and their economies as he tries to hog the limelight -- particularly when he is facing an uncertain political future.
"Already, Trump has shaken up the schedule, calling at the last minute for a special meeting Sunday morning to discuss the global economy. Senior administration officials said he will contrast U.S. growth with Europe’s economic doldrums and press his pro-jobs and 'fair' trade messages," the report states. "It is unclear how receptive the others will be to whatever thoughts Trump might offer as to how they should shift their own economic approaches. Many world leaders blame Trump’s trade war with China and his threats against Europe and Japan for a major contraction in investment and spending, and are frustrated with what they see as attempts to use weaknesses elsewhere to demand changes he thinks will benefit U.S. companies."
One G-7 diplomat, referring to Trump's Greenland overtures that led to him criticizing Denmark's prime minister for refusing to consider the idea of selling the nation, admitted, "When countries like Denmark are in the firing line, you just try to get through the summit without any damage.”
Added another who asked that his name not be used, "Every one of these, you just hope that it ends without any problem. It just gets harder and harder."
Another concern is the desire of officials wanting to talk about global climate change with the president who has bucked world leaders on the topic.
"John Kirton, director of the G7 Research Group at the University of Toronto, said he was 'somewhat optimistic' that Macron could navigate dealing with an unpredictable U.S. president and perhaps even find a way to accommodate Trump on climate change," the report states. with Kirton stating, "Most people are serious enough to know that if you want to waste all your time and energy lecturing the president, ‘Donald, say you were wrong’ . . . then we all fry and die."
Another diplomat was much more resigned.
“You have to plan going into the summit that he is going to try to divide and conquer,” he conceded.
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