The G7 photo that really tells the story (Photo: German Federal Press Office).

A photograph of last weekend’s G7 conclave in Quebec showing several national leaders apparently trying to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to act like a grownup was doing the rounds on social media in the aftermath of the post-summit trainwreck.

With the G7 gathering in La Malbaie already nearly universally acknowledged as a debacle thanks to Mr. Trump’s erratic behaviour and bizarre attacks on Canada and its prime minister, which together seemed an awful lot like symptoms of the serious personality disorder we’ve all suspected for a spell now, the story the image suggests is at once tragic and hilarious.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, leans across the table, a look of disbelief on her face, as if she were trying just one final time to get Mr. Trump to snap out of it. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe stands in the background, not quite rolling his eyes in either disgust or dismay. Mr. Trump, arms crossed defensively, looks like the little boy who ate all the cherry Jell-O and feels no remorse. Everything about his posture says, “Fuck You!” To the President’s right, John Bolton, his chief of staff and deranged Iago, surveys the tableau squinty-eyed, presumably pondering what to say to Mr. Trump, who always takes the advice of the last person he talks to, the instant they’re alone on Air Force One. The president of France, the prime minister of Britain and other minor players look on aghast.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who is obviously Donald Trump’s kinda guy (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).

There’s enough to be read in that picture for a book.

What did the Canadian right-wing social media rage machine make of it? Not quite attuned to their cooler-headed leaders’ assessment of the situation, they initially jumped on the fact Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wasn’t visible in the shot – no surprise, since it was taken by a photographer employed by the German Government, whose job presumably was to make Dr. Merkel look good.

This meant Mr. Trudeau wasn’t doing anything, some of them suggested, although, as Russian President Vladimir Putin proves, you didn’t even have to be in the room, let alone the photo, to cast a shadow.

Now that Mr. Trump has declared himself to be an enemy of Canada and his flunkies have consigned our prime minister to a special corner of hell – language harsher than American presidents past used for the likes of Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi – the leadership of the Canadian Right appears to be cautiously reassessing its love affair with the U.S. President.

Leastways, in what is clearly seen among sane people on both sides of the border as a serious breach between longstanding allies caused by the president’s disordered mind, Conservative leaders in Canada deemed it prudent to stand with Mr. Trudeau rather than face the consequences from Canadian voters who were instinctively doing the same thing.

We will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Prime Minister and the people of Canada. My number one goal is to protect jobs in Ontario, starting with my unwavering support for our steel and aluminum workers,” Tweeted Doug Ford, the Progressive Conservative premier elect of Ontario and no fan of Mr. Trudeau, whose name he couldn’t quite bring himself to mention.

“I’m in complete agreement with the Prime Minister’s statement,” Tweeted Alberta Opposition Leader Jason Kenney in what surely must be a first for the former Harper Government cabinet minister. “A reasonable, balanced and firm assertion that Canada will not be bullied, and that we will retaliate if the US Administration does not end its attack on our steel exports.”

Sketchy far-right British politician Nigel Farage (Photo: David J. Climenhaga)

Even former Conservative PM Stephen Harper himself managed to choke out some mild criticism of Mr. Trump, although you could tell from his qualifications his heart wasn’t really in it.

Known Trump fanboys on the Canadian political right are mostly gritting their teeth and keeping their own counsel for the time being. The Conservative rank and file and rage machine will presumably get the idea and bob along in their wake, at least for now.

Still, Canadian movement conservatives really need to reassess their views of Mr. Trump, now that he has turned on Canada, other members of the Western alliance and the trading regime they purport to support.

Just for starters, they might want to reconsider re-Tweeting everything he says that’s critical of aspects of the Canadian economy they disapprove of lest they appear to be buying into the rest of his program, including the openly anti-Canadian parts.

One measure of which way the Canadian right is going will be whom they invite to clambakes like Preston Manning’s annual get-together for the ideological right in the nation’s capital, which has a history of warmly welcoming some pretty sketchy foreign characters, such as former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, but so far no outright enemies of Canada.

But the real test will be what they do when the next U.S. Presidential election rolls around in 2020. Will Conservative Party activists be crossing the Canada-U.S. border once again to campaign for the Republicans, and perhaps for President Trump himself?

What’s next as Washington’s geopolitical dysfunction continues?

Having gone a long way to splitting the Western alliance asunder, President Trump is now off to Singapore to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, a man seemingly more to his taste than Prime Minister Trudeau, perhaps for obvious reasons.

Another Trump temper tantrum like the one Canada experienced on the weekend may risk engulfing Asia in a nuclear war.

On the other hand, having imposed a heavy steel tariff on his country’s best and most consistent friend, perhaps he can fix the United States’ under-capacity in steel production by signing a deal with North Korea’s Chollima Steel Complex to provide what the U.S. Navy needs for its next generation of obsolete aircraft carriers.

As New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman concluded Saturday, in the history of the Western alliance “there has never been a disaster like the G7 meeting that just took place … it will damage America’s reputation as a reliable ally for decades to come.”

Join the Conversation


  1. A nuclear war may not be the worst outcome of this mad dance with an insane Trump.
    The whole North Atlantic alliance structure and global world order built out of the Bretton Woods agreements is predicated on, indeed, relies on American leadership. Without that American leadership we are back to the Europe of the Middle Ages.

    One does not have to be a Rhodes scholar like Richard Haas (just read his book) to see the disarray that Trump is leading the world into. Trump is the main international promoter of Russia while at the same time is attacking western liberal democracies. Into this leadership vacuum Europe will gather round and mount it’s defense against it’s age old enemy, Russia. In doing so it will turn it’s back on America while sowing the seeds of it’s own Machiavellian disunity.

    The odd man out in the G7, besides Canada, is Japan. With no American leadership to hold the Atlantic, democratic and developed economies alliance together Japan is much more likely to renew it’s historic ties with a flourishing South Korea and China and the rest of SE Asia in general. In this scenario, North Korea is a shoo-in to join this club.

    Trump will have managed to isolate the US from the world. It will not be a safer world or one where globalism, at least of a democratic nature will likely flourish.

  2. Truth be told, Trump’s drive-by smears of Justin Trudeau began days before the G7 Summit occurred, with comments like he’s “so indignant.” Trump’s outrageous trade balance Tweets would make most propagandistic wordsmiths wince. But, it is good to see that Trump’s is being excoriated universally for his comments on Trudeau, both here and abroad. As his minions rally to his side, as is expected, what is jaw-dropping is a lack of response from the Republican leadership in Congress. When politicians put party over country, as the Republicans have consistently been doing since Trump was elected, there will be a special day of reckoning due these unprincipled politicos — hopefully it’s political purgatory.

    Even Robert De Niro got into the act of chastising Donald Trump at last night’s Tony Awards (see link below).

    1. De Niro did one better today in Toronto, apologizing to Canada, the G7 and Justin Trudeau.

  3. Might be revealing if EKOS runs another poll to update their 2016 findings re Trump approval among Albertans:

    EXCERPT: ‘Albertans are split from the rest of the country on their views of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, according to an EKOS Politics poll released Friday.

    Trump is viewed much more favourably “by men, the less well-educated, and residents of Alberta,” Frank Graves wrote in a report on the poll, which surveyed Canadians by phone on the surprising victory of Donald Trump. ‘

    EXCERPT: ‘When asked “overall, what impact do you believe Donald Trump’s presidency will have on you and your family,” 41 per cent of Albertans responded “positive,” compared with just 20 per cent nationally.

    Graves speculated that the high AB approval was because Trump supports oil pipelines.

  4. The Conservative rank and file and rage machine will presumably get the idea and bob along in their wake, at least for now.

    You wouldn’t think so if you read the comments on the CBC website, on any article mentioning both Trudeau and Trump there that allows commenting.

    Honestly, it’s like what you’d expect to hear at last call in the Ogden Legion – no wait, that’s probably a calumny on those old boys, at least they performed some service for their country.

  5. Some Canadian conservatives enthusiastic embrace of Trump has always seemed a bit odd to me. During the primaries, a number of prominent US conservatives very publicly said that Trump was not a real Conservative and I think they were correct. While his positions align with traditional Republican positions on some issues like tax cuts and business regulation, Trump has no consistent ideology, his positions diverge slightly on important issues like guns and immigration and are wildly different on trade and international relations.

    On some issues, Trump’s position seems to be transactional. He discovered he could get the support of evangelical Christians by saying the right things, particularly about Supreme Court appointments. The twice divorced, serial groper and philanderer is a strange bedfellow for anyone who has any real religious convictions or beliefs. I could understand why Trump would want their support – they are a significant voting block, but I think they sully themselves and their principles by steadfastly supporting him. It is a bit of a deal with the devil. This is often what seems to happen to those that get too close to Trump, they often seem to end up in a bad or worse position while Trump seems to come out unscathed or ahead. His White House staffing seems to have a bit of a revolving door and I think anyone who has worked their finds their reputation a bit tarnished after. As for the current Trump advisor who talks about a “special place in hell”, as he desperately tries to suck up to his boss, I suspect he knows what that means personally. In a while when Trump finds the guy is no longer useful, he will be gone like so many others with only a cheap hat to show for it.

    It is odd Conservatives have not taken Trump to task more, for his ideological inconsistency. They seem to be quite hard on others they found too moderate, like George H Bush or more recently in Canada, when Patrick Brown in Ontario decided a carbon tax was not so bad after all. I am not sure if they are afraid of him or deluded about him or perhaps both. I’m not sure about the state of Trumps mind, he has always been confrontational and never much a supporter of international trade. However it is possible, age, stress, his dislike of travel outside the US and being in strange places caused him to lash out even more spectacularly this week. He also might have become jealous of Trudeau, who is fairly well spoken and well liked or perhaps he did not take well to having the G6 leaders try to make him to see reason – there seems to have been an attempted, but failed, intervention there. In any event, he seems to have had a major flip out right after the G7 meeting and we are once again wondering about his sanity.

    I suspect the best we Canadians can do is stand together and endure the storm while it lasts. Trump may have done a lot more for Canadian unity than he realizes. In a few days, Trump may find a new enemy to pick on, someone else who is not sufficiently obsequious to Trump and Trudeau may return to being a “great guy”, as quickly as he became his public enemy number 1, that seems to be how things often work in Trump land. He is predicable in his unpredictability.

    1. Roger; That Saker link is to the more shallow brain dead. You should have linked to How about this? Or maybe this? Or maybe this? I’m so sorry that Russia has been victimized by gangsters and that their country has been bled dry. Take heart brave Russians! Our world is being bled dry now, too. Soon equality will be our world. That equality will never be at the expense of the obscenely rich. Thank goodness that their special intelligence and talents have not been ignored! Our Gods of our own allowance!

  6. Trump’s flip flop on his G7 allies should make it simple for the president to convince Kim Jong-un America will uphold commitments made in peace talks.

  7. Truth scares CONservatives the most, which explains their constant lies. Starting with the 80’s where Lougheed blamed the usual periodic oil industry bust on Trudeau’s NEP. In fact the world’s oil industry took a massive downturn because of over investment and a lack of managerial foresight.

    CONservative political stupidity and strategic lies were pioneered here in Alberta and Canada. Ralphie Klein and Rob Ford are classic CON boneheads with substance abuse problems, and no love for facts, reasoned debate, or the concerns of ordinary folks, but were complete corporate shills.
    H.L. Mencken: ‘Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.’

    It is no mystery why lies are used. Reasoned debate makes positive change possible, and ordinary lives better, when CONservatives wish to make us fearful, angry, and easy to manipulate.

    Voltaire: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

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