Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, contrary to Mr. Trump’s latest tweet, is not weak.
Trump blustered into Canada this weekend, Charlevoix, where I used to live. The Quebec countryside is peaceful and serene, perhaps deliberately chosen as a safe haven in which to discuss issues of economic importance among allies. Trump, like all the other participants, was among friends or at very least not among enemies.
When I was in grade school, there was always one student who simply did not fit in. Whether it was the schoolyard bully who knocked down lunch bags or the child who deliberately took too long at the water fountain on those hot days—there was always one child who’s behaviour separated themselves from the rest.
In 1957, Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize for his handling of the Suez Crisis. Pearson taught us that diplomacy is a river in constant flux. Trump seems to view diplomacy as an arm wrestling competition. Like that schoolyard bully he listens for that cry of “uncle”. The art of the deal, in Trumpian terms is really the art of the “squeal”.
As usual, Trump appears perturbed, this time because he may have taken Trudeau’s cordial approach to problem-solving as weakness. This is not a surprise, as time and again Trump has demonstrated that he equates threats and belligerence with self-preservation and authority. Trudeau prefers to take a less adversarial route, as foreign to Trump as the French language and culture he may or may not have appreciated during his short stay. Trump has interpreted Trudeau’s unwavering stance against American tariffs as betrayal and duplicity, while clearly it is Trudeau maintaining the position he has always maintained in regard to the recent tariffs, while protecting Canadian interests.
Earlier today, Larry Kudlow stated that Canada “stabbed us in the back”, blaming Canada for any breakdown in U.S./Canada relationships, and thereby justifying Trump’s refusal to sign the collective G7 communique. Further, Mr. Kudlow after after mistakenly referring to Justine as Pierre (Justin’s father and past Prime Minister of Canada), Kudlow went on to suggest that any breakdown in the North Korea talks would be attributed to the United States looking weak as a result of Mr. Trudeau’s comments. Although unable to connect these dots or these allegations, Mr. Kudlow continued with the Trump playbook of blaming others for any shortcomings of the administration, seeming to forget that it was Donald Trump who threw the first proverbial tariff, from his own glass White House.
There is definitely something wrong with the picture, but with all due respect to our American friends and allies, it has very little to do with the Prime Minister.
k.g. Sambrano is a Canadian writer known for his works of literary fiction and poetry, and is an occasional freelance political writer. His latest book, Trump- the First 365 Days: America’s Fight for America was released on February 20, 2018.