The relationship between the Trump administration and several U.S. allies has grown increasingly tense throughout the past couple of months. Upon recent events, U.S. and Canada seem to be in a significant conflict as a result of the former’s tariff plan for trade in Canada. This lead to harsh words exchanged between the countries’ governments.
Tensions have only gotten worse after some U.S officials claimed that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had betrayed the countries’ relations by stating its plan to implant retaliatory tariffs. National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow stated that the man “really kind of stabbed us in the back”. Worsening the situation, White House adviser Peter Navarro went on Fox News this past Sunday and had a controversial interview.
There, he stated: “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door, and that’s what bad-faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference.” Trudeau was repeatedly asked about the comments and decided to respond in a level-headed way, stating that Canada does not engage in attacks towards a single specific individual.
This is yet another step forward in the ongoing U.S. ‘trade war’ with other G-7 members and China. U.S.’ tariff-based plan has been designed as a response to what the White House has described as unfair trade practices from the involved countries. The country had recently stated its decision of raising tariffs up to 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum to the E.U., Canada and Mexico, in concern of national security. The country’s G-7 allies stated that the U.S.’ decision “[undermines] open trade and confidence in the global economy.” It is quite uncommon that only one member of the Group is singled out for its policies and procedures, especially when it comes to the U.S.
These conflicts led to a G-7 meeting in Canada, which President Donald Trump left early. He did so while demonstrating the U.S.’ prioritization of negotiations with North Korea, which seem to still be complicated despite the upcoming summit between the countries’ two leaders.
The president and his administration are focusing on the upcoming negotiations in order to counter people who disapprove of their foreign policy with other countries, attempting to prove it as effective. This strategy is also trying to support the president’s future 2020 campaign, trying to build on accomplishments to back up the idea of a reelection. Within this context, Trump has tried to dismiss the conflicts with Canada and Trudeau’s responses in order to show strength coming into the summit.
Other G-7 members and European countries have also shown their disagreement with Trump’s procedures. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Trump’s withdrawal “depressing” and “sobering”. In a somewhat defensive tone, she stated that: “We won’t let ourselves be ripped off again and again. Instead, we act then too.” Another notable response to the situation was the one by European Council President Donald Tusk, who used Navarro’s words against him and stated on Twitter: “There is a special place in heaven for @JustinTrudeau. Canada, thank you for the perfect organization of G7!”
Trudeau had previously responded to the announcement of the U.S. sanctions by stating:
One of the things that I have to admit I’m having a lot of trouble getting around is the idea that this entire thing is coming about because the president and the administration have decided that Canada and Canadian steel and aluminum is a national security threat to the United States. The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable.”
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons