President Trump is THE rockstar of the global political world. I don't even know why other leaders bother showing up when this POTUS is in town . . . was anybody else at the meeting? Who knows? Who cares?We can make the same observation and ask the same questions after the just-concluded G-7 meeting in Canada. Was there anybody else there who matters? Look at the photos. All the other leaders seem to be crowding around Trump, all eyes on him. As in the GOP primary debates, one would be hard-pressed to recall anything said by any another participant. I don't think we have seen anybody dominate international meetings in this manner since . . . since, uh, well, maybe since Jackie Kennedy accompanied her husband to Paris . . ?
Trump sets the agenda, determines the pace, and sucks the oxygen out of the room at these meetings. And--surprise!--the others have no choice but to go along and serve as his foils; they highlight that Trump alone among them seems the nationalist concerned about his people first, and not at all about the international bureaucrats, their bureaucracy, and communiques.
Trump was correct to call for having Russia back into the G-7-8 process. What have we gained by excluding Russia? It was an act of virtue signaling by Obama and the other "leaders" of the West in the wake of Putin's take-over of Crimea. Is Crimea any more free now than it was when Russia was kicked out? Over four years ago, I wrote about dealing with Russia and Putin which,
will require resolve and determination. With the right policies, however, it should prove considerably less difficult than dealing with the once more powerful USSR. Russia is a much smaller nation, and one in serious demographic decline. It has not resolved its economic problems and has a shaky political system that is not certain to survive the departure--whenever that is--of Putin. What Putin has is Putin. He understands the multiplier effect of determined leadership and how that can make up for many orders of military inferiority.Before that, I wrote a piece on sanctions on Russia which basically said forget about sanctions and just go for energy independence as a way to cripple untoward Russian ambitions. We seem to be doing that, unlike the hapless Obama misadministration. It is now time for serious discussions with Russia, and to bring them into the international game. Russia will always be a problem, but we should be able to handle it better if they're inside the tent rather than out. There is no need to have Russia as an enemy.
Finally, please watch the press conference he held just before leaving Canada (skipping the climate meeting) and heading off to Singapore to meet Kim Jung-un. Can this man handle the press or what? Notice the loaded CNN question at about minute 17; Trump takes no prisoners.
Anyhow, this old Foreign Service Officer stands in awe of Trump's dominance of the international scene.