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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2345

President Trump’s Trip to Europe: New Alpha Male in Town

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

Having completed a very successful diplomatic endeavour in the Middle East with his reputation for being a deal maker intact, President Trump visited the Vatican, Brussels and Italy in that order to wind up his 9-day, first-ever foreign trip as the leader of the US.

In Europe, however, the scenario was not that of a successful one; nor did it appear to be productive. On the contrary, it was a series of uneasy meetings, both for President Trump and his European counterparts, in every, single, major event, apart from his meeting with for-ever-compassionate Pope Francis.

“He is a humble man like me,” tweeted Mr Trump while promising to follow the highly-personal advice given by the Pontiff.

At new $1-billion, NATO headquarters, for instance, President Trump had been compelled to mingle with stony-faced members of the military alliance and intermittent, forced smiles did very little to change the uneasy atmosphere.
Then, the journalists captured the moments when gentle handshakes got pretty muscular in front of cameras in public, a sight that were highly unusual in a gathering of leaders of the most influential nations on the planet.

There were strange scenes, indeed: on one occasion, Mr Trump slapped on the left shoulder of Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, and turned him through 900, before slapping on his hand, much to the surprise of the latter; later on, Mr Trump, was seen making his way to the front, while pushing the Montenegro’s prime minister that raised a few eye browses in the vicinity; the newly-elected president also made waves during the event, while choosing to greet German Chancellor first, even after making eye contact with President Trump.

The mutual unease reached peaked, when Mr Trump made a speech to the NATO. Although, he didn’t brand the alliances obsolete, as he said during the election campaign, Mr Trump got back to business soon; he wanted member states to contribute more money for the NATO, in line with the agreement reached in forming the alliance during the Cold War.

Mr Trump wants the members to spend at least 2% of the GDP of the members; he said that only five members make that contribution to the NATO at present, that include Britain, the US, Poland, Greece and Estonia. “I want members to contribute 2% of GDP to NATO,” said Mr Trump. The body language of other leaders clearly showed it was something easier said than done.

President Trump’s moves during the meetings with the European leaders became a source of fun for his critics. They quickly concluded that the president was trying to assert himself on global stage, especially at a time when the Russian issue does not appear to be going away, back home.

President Trump appears to be distant among the European leaders on Friday, some of whom never endorsed President Trump during the election; majority of them never wanted him to be next president during the campaign.

Perhaps, Mr Trump’s gut instincts may have told him that he may not be welcomed by this particular audience, given the animosity exists between the two.

In order to wind up his European tour, Mr Trump participated G-7 summit in Italy; it was not a success either: Mr Trump says that he needs more time to think about the Paris Agreement, agreed in 2015, before fully committing to it. During the presidential campaign, he branded the climate change, a hoax, and showed no sign of a change since, despite being under pressure from the rest of the members to change the tune.

In short, unlike his predecessors, Mr Trump appears to be sticking to his political theme that catapulted him into power – America First. By isolating himself from the rest, Mr Trump just reiterated that he really means that by explicitly displaying his Alpha male traits.

Since taking on a military and economic super power is next to impossible, the G-7 leaders have been confined to a space between the rock and hard place by the events at G-7 and NATO meetings.

- Asian Tribune –

President Trump’s Trip to Europe: New Alpha Male in Town
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