BY ALAN HOLMAN
So, Donald Trump is now going to meet with Vladimir Putin after failing to convince the other members of the G7 to re-admit Russia to the exclusive group of the western world’s leading economies.
Russia was ejected from the G7 as one of the sanctions the West imposed following the its invasion of Crimea, a part of Ukraine. The Putin meeting comes at a time when American justice officials are continuing to investigate allegations that Russia interfered in the election that brought Mr. Trump to the presidency. An allegation that both he and Mr. Putin deny.
The move is just another slap in the face to the Western leaders, who Mr. Trump goes to great pains to deride while he lauds some of the world’s most outrageous leaders and dictators; men like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the Phillipine’s Rodrigo Duterte, who shoots suspected drug dealers rather than arresting them.
After the Second World War the United States cemented its position as the world’s leading economy by working with other countries to form organizations like the World Trade Organization to bring order, regularize and promote global trade. And, it negotiated and signed treaties to lower tariffs, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These agreements brought benefits to all parties as their economies grew and developed. But, things changed, the economies modernized, new technologies and methods were introduced. Some people were left out and others feel they aren’t doing as well as they should. In the U.S., they looked for someone to blame.
Donald Trump capitalized on this. He blames illegal immigrants. He imagines horrors that didn't happen. He blames America’s trading partners for supposedly taking advantage of her largess. He rants to followers about the supposed disadvantages of treaties they signed. He never mentions the benefits.
He insults America’s allies, England, France, Germany, and Canada while he cozies up to her foes, Russia, China and North Korea.
Using the flimsy excuse of ‘national security’ he imposes tariffs on Canadian steel. To see Canada as a security threat to the USA requires a very fertile imagination. If the implications weren’t so serious, it would be consider a joke.
A consummate liar, Donald Trump either creates facts, or cherry picks them, to suit his narrative. In his constant harping about a 270 per cent by Canada on American dairy products he never mentions the billions of dollars Americans pay to subsidize their dairy industry.
For the most part Islanders were bemused by Mr. Trump’s actions and comments, feeling somewhat unaffected and apart from the consequences. But, this changed when it became known that in his war on illegal immigrants Donald Trump would go to almost any length. That he had no qualms about separating young children from their parents, and then warehousing them in cages in an abandoned Walmart Store in Texas.
That’s when people started seriously asking, what is wrong with this guy? Why isn’t someone doing something about him?
As individuals there is very little Canadians can do. But, as Islanders there is one thing we can do. We’re small, and we get lots of American tourists in summer. Occasionally we interact with them, either at the beach, in line at a theatre, or in a restaurant.
Without being obnoxious about it, we should tell them what we think of their president. Tell them it’s impossible to understand how a country that had such an incredible reputation for doing good in the world, for standing against oppression, is now being led by someone who admires the bullies of the world and forsakes his country’s friends and allies.
American visitors should go home knowing that the world no longer holds their country in the high regard it once did. They should know that blame lies with the man that they elected, and they should do something about that.
- Alan Holman is a freelance journalist living in Charlottetown. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org