If U.S. President Donald Trump’s objective is to make himself the center of attention at every international event, he is succeeding. If he aims to undermine the legitimacy of international institutions, he is making progress. If, however, he seeks to make America great again, his actions are working at cross purposes to his goal. Those are the inescapable conclusions to be drawn from last weekend’s Group of Seven leaders summit.
The run-up to the conclave established that the leaders summit would be difficult. At the finance representatives meeting held earlier in the week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was isolated, as the six other countries issued a statement calling on Mnuchin to convey to Trump their “unanimous concern and disappointment” over the U.S. decision to unilaterally impose tariffs on its chief trade partners. Bill Morneau, Canada’s finance minister and host of the meeting, called Washington’s decision “destructive.” That historic split prompted references to the “G6 plus 1,” and sparked concern over the heads of state meeting that was to be held days later.