Foreign Policy

How do you sum up Donald Trump’s G-20 meetings? Let’s just say that in one session Ivanka Trump took his place and it made no difference. It did, however, raise the question: Why her? Didn’t we have a Secretary of State, or some other qualified person, available? Substituting your kid when you need a break is something done in monarchies. And this close to the Fourth of July, is hereditary rule an image we want to celebrate?

Ivanka Trump “Bring your daughter to work today”.

And we can thank the Russians for the image of Ivanka hanging out with Theresa May and Vladimir Putin. You know they like stirring the pot.

Talking about stirring the pot, the Russians have done better than they could possibly have dared hope. Vladimir Putin announced that Trump is satisfied that they didn’t interfere in the election. Is he satisfied? We’ll have to assume so, as he hasn’t said anything to the contrary. In fact, his only comment on the meeting was that it was ‘tremendous’ – whatever that means.

Back in the US, he tweeted, “I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion…..” Because of course if someone denies they did something – especially if the deny it vehemently – then they didn’t do it.

Reince Preibus went further. He said, “The President absolutely did not believe the denial of President Putin.” I suppose we’ll just have to take his word for it. Although Trump does throw doubt on how absolute ‘absolutely’ is with another tweet saying, “Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded..”

The idea that we should hold hands with an enemy has caused consternation – and engendered black humor – across the political spectrum. Epitomized by suggestions that we should form a partnership with ISIS to combat terrorism.

But while Russia is in the headlines – especially as Donald Trump Jr. admitted that he had met with a Russian lawyer, who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton – Trump Sr.’s general incompetence hurt America’s interests more severely.

Trump talks to all his friends.

Trump may fancy himself a ‘tough negotiator’, but he is a hero only in his own mind. His dismissive attitude to climate agreements and trade pacts has alienated allies – to the point that the world has moved on. And the G-20 is now the G-19.

The Chinese, Japanese, Germans, and French don’t do feckless. Russia has nukes and China is building a military. The West thought it needed America. But now that America has proved an inconstant friend – and as such too unreliable to be counted on.

On second thought perhaps we would be better off if Ivanka substituted for dad on a permanent basis.

 

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