Sunday, June 10, 2018

Blame Canada? No, Blame the Projecter in Chief

I thought it felt strange to be an American in Canada during the Bush Administration, but the past 24 hours?  Oh my.  Trump and then his team of enablers have said that it is Justin Trudeau's fault that the G7 summit ended in tears and anger.  As I said on twitter, this is the worst retconning I have seen since that scene in Phantom Menace where Qui-Jon discusses the role of midichlorians in the Force.

Here is the order of relevant events during this summit:
Trump arrives late, the women are not thrilled.
  • Before the summit, Trump imposes tariffs on allies for the alleged national security posed by steel and aluminum imports.
  • The allies, including Canada, develop a variety of retaliatory tariffs, to be imposed if the US continues its course of action.
  • Trump decides to skip most of the second day of the summit
  • Trump arrives late for the first session of the second day.  That it was the session on gender equality was kind of perfect, as Trump spent 75% of the allotted time or so, kind of like how women are paid 77% or so of what men make.
  • Trump leaves summit.
  • Trudeau, at the ending press conference (a standard part of these events), says that if the US tariffs are in place, Canada will respond in kind.
  • Trump throws snit, says US won't sign the communique.
  • Trump's team accuses Trudeau of stabbing US in the back and arguing that if summit with NK fails, it is Trudeau's fault.

There is, I think, a simple explanation.  Trudeau has spent the past year and a half trying massage Trump's ego and make nice, hoping that would smooth out the relationship.  While it was a good idea and the best Canada could do, I think Trump interpreted it as Trudeau being weak and that Canada would not respond if Trump pushed Trudeau around.  So, when Trump does finally give the Canadians a hard shove with the tariffs, he is surprised and offended that Canada pushes back.  Trump was angry because he expected Trudeau to fold, and he was angry because most of the other six members of the G7, including Macron, pushed back.

Again, if you watch Trudeau's statement, it really is not offensive in the least.  But it shocked Trump because he thought he had cowed Trudeau.  This is no betrayal, this is no stab in the back.  It is a leader of a democracy standing up for its interests.  And, yes, it pains me when the discussion is focused on dairy since I would like the Canadian Dairy Cartel to cease to exist, but, remember, this started with aluminum, steel and the opportunistic use of a national security opt out clause that allows Trump to impose tariffs.

Trump should get used to this: publics in the democracies are not fans, so politicians will outbid each other to stand against him.  So, he probably should hang out with dictators as hanging out with leaders of democracy will only disappoint him.

Finally, in all of this, once again, he doth project too much.  It is Trump doing the betraying, it is Trump stabbing the allies in the back.  It is Trump negotiating in bad faith.  Any noise created by his advisers should be ignored as they seek to displace blame.  The fault is clearly not in the stars but lies with Trump.


Rob Chasen said...

I think "reconning" is an excellent Freudian slip.

Steve Saideman said...

Oops, fixed

Rob Chasen said...

Reconning was apt in it's own way