Donald Trump’s lone wolf mentality towards foreign policy has become a detrimental issue for the United States. President Trump has goaded our enemies with dramatized negotiations without sticking to promises. The administration has lost the faith of our allies by focusing energies on twitter and fruitless trade wars. He has allowed tensions to worsen when he pulls out of global promises. His international track record is crucial. This may be why President Trump had the limelight at the G7 gathering past week.

For starters, President Trump shocked the international world when he openly expressed regret over the escalating trade war with China. “I have second thoughts about everything,” he said. Later his aides walked that comment back, reiterating that Trump’s only regret was not placing higher tariffs on Chinese goods. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham later issued a statement. “This morning in the (meeting) with the UK, the president was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China. His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.” However, a transcript of Trump’s back and forth with journalists clarifies that Trump was questioned on three separate occasions whether he had any regrets on the trade tensions with China. During each instance, Trump indicated that he did have regrets. That being said, the U.S. will apparently sign a new trade agreement with Japan at an upcoming NATO meeting and talks are back on with Beijing. Stocks are predicted to rise as Japan and China trade optimism will ease investors’ concerns about economic instability caused by tariffs.

The President expressed on multiple occasions that he would like Russia to rejoin the G7. Russia was removed from attending these summit meetings when it annexed Crimea several years ago. Since, the Russian government has displayed more aggression toward the Ukraine. Russia will not be welcome to attend unless all member nations agree on their return. This invitation is highly unlikely as Russia would have to reverse its annexation of Ukraine. Many international leaders were taken aback when Trump pushed for Russia’s attendance at summits in the future. The President denied Russia’s responsibility in the past and instead cast blame on former President Barack Obama for Russia’s violation of international law, expressing his sympathies for Putin.

Prior to the G7 summit, Emmanuel Macron, the French president wrote on Twitter, “The Amazon rainforest—the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen—is on fire…Our house is burning. Literally. The French President referred to the Amazonian fires as an “international crisis”. Across the board, leaders agreed to join forces to battle the disastrous Amazon rainforest, including a surprising show of support from Trump and U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson. Soon afterward, $20 million in aid was announced by French president Emmanuel Macron.

Sadly, climate change did not receive  much attention from our POTUS. As international leaders gathered to discuss climate change and what could be done to address the gradual warming of our planet, President Trump made himself scarce. “The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead,” press secretary Stephanie Grisham claimed. However, both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were witnessed as attending the climate change meeting. For many this does not come off as a surprise, as Trump has  repeatedly voiced skepticism about climate change in the past.

Iran’s foreign minister made a surprise appearance at the G7 summit. This was an unanticipated occurrence to an already heated gathering, adding only one more controversial subject to stand between President Trump and our western allies. Mohammad Javad Zarif, flew to the summit in southern France by way of an invitation from President Emmanuel Macron of France, in an attempt to reconcile relations with the United States and Iran. All in attendance agreed on a common interest in obtaining stability in the Middle East and not wanting Iran to obtain access to nuclear weapons. Officials claim Macron discussed Iran at length with Trump and by the next day the Group of 7 leaders had agreed on a common outreach to Iran.

During the 2019 Group of Seven summit, President Trump faced backlash from international leaders over his policies on China, trade, Russia and Iran. Disappointingly, President Trump did not attend the global climate meeting and at one point reportedly suggested using nuclear weapons to combat hurricanes. Trump went as far as to offer that next year’s summit be held at his Miami resort.  “They love the location of the hotel,” he said, referring to the G7 leaders.

However it was not all a loss. When it came to international relations,  Trump said Iran is “not the same country that it was two and a half years ago,” and he noted that the US is “not looking for leadership change.” When questioned about whether he was willing to come to a trade agreement with China, Trump said, “Only if it’s a fair deal and a good deal for the United States. Otherwise, I will not make a deal.” This may not seem like much but in comparison to his past comments in regards to trade with the country in the far east, this was an improvement.

Engagement Resources:

  • Rainforest Alliance announced earlier this month that it would be redirecting 100% of its donations to frontline organizations in Brazil working to “protect the Amazon and defend the rights of its Indigenous people,” including the Brazil chapter of Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin and sustainable agriculture partner IMAFLORA.
  • The Rainforest Foundation is one organization that works to support thousands of indigenous communities, especially those that depend on the Amazon’s habit to survive. The group is accepting donations, 100% of which will go to support “on-the-ground indigenous organizations in Brazil” focused on stopping illegal deforestation and securing land claims, as well as building campaigns aimed at mobilizing government action.
  • Amazon Watch works with the Munduruku people and has supported the community’s efforts to stop the proposed dam, and this year, helped convene an assembly of Munduruku youth with Munduruku chiefs. Amazon Watch helps provide legal defense, convening community assemblies and workshops, as well as mapping and monitoring initiatives.
  • Earth Alliance is a joint environmental conservation project founded by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, and private equity guru Brian Sheth. On Sunday, the organization formed an Amazon Forest Fund, with an initial $5 million pledge from DiCaprio. The fund will be focusing resources toward local communities and groups working to protect the Amazon, as well as those affected by the fires.

Photo by unsplash-logoJose Moreno

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