US President Trump described his first oversees visit as successful of course he tweeted it.
However, whilst in the US leader’s mind he may consider his visit to Saudi Arabia successful, it is painfully obvious that the Saudi’s played the US leader by using their petro-wealth to purchase armaments from the US and in return won the US president’s endorsement of Saudi leadership in the Middle East and portray Iran as an exporter of international terrorism. Nothing could be further from ground reality.
Iran is in fact actively fighting the Islamic State (IS), whereas Saudi Arabia exports fundamentalist Wahabism and supports the setting up of Madrassa schools - Islamic religious schools world-wide. Many of the Taliban were educated in Saudi-financed Madrassas in Pakistan that teach Wahabism, a particularly austere and rigid form of Islam which is rooted in Saudi Arabia.
The leaders in Europe too, unfortunately did not feel the US President’s visit was even mildly successful. Britain’s ‘Guardian’ newspaper noted “…There is a horrible irony in the reported remarks of a “senior administration official” after the G7 meeting, that: “This was a summit in which the goals and priorities of the United States and the President really were felt deeply ... President Trump has changed the way many people around the world are thinking of these issues.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel went further and warned her compatriots in Europe that they could no longer depend on the US. Speaking at an election rally in Germany, Chancellor Merkel said “Europe can no longer completely rely on its long-standing British and US allies, saying the EU must now be prepared to “take its fate into its own hands”.
During his discussions with his NATO allies Trump kept up a barrage of criticism of Germany, referring to the sizable trade deficit that the U.S. has with Europe’s largest economy. According to Trump the U.S. imports nearly $115 billion worth of goods and services from Germany while its exports to Germany are in the region of about $47 billion. A big gap… but what the US leader has constantly failed to understand is that the US in fact does not trade with Germany per se, but with the European Union. In fact Ms Merkel was in the end forced to point the mistake out to the US leader. Whether he still realises this, is still in doubt given his twitter broadsides following his return to the US.
Trump also accused German car manufacturers of “flooding the US market and hurting US car manufacturers. What the US leader failed to understand was that major German car makers in fact manufacture a number of their vehicles in the US itself!
In fact Germany’s BMW operates its largest car factory in South Carolina in the US… Mercedes Benz manufactures three of its models in the US, and Volkswagen too runs a manufacturing plant in the US. Again at a meeting with the G-7 countries of which the US is part and parcel, President Trump failed to ratify the Paris Climate Deal which leaders of the other G7 nations – Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada, and Japan – issued a communique confirming their support to.
Commenting on the US stand - regards to the climate deal - which is very close to the Europeans hearts Chancellor Merkel described it as “very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying.” The US President also accused his European allies, of not paying their dues to NATO. The way the President put it, it would appear that the European members of NATO owed the US. Nothing could be further from the truth. European members of NATO are expected to contribute 2% of their GDP to NATO while the US contributes 3.6%. If the US President wants, he can simply reduce its contribution or walk away from the organisation…
But the reality is NATO was set up by the Americans in the aftermath of World War II to as a means to continue and maintain a strong presence in that region to counter Russian influence. Sorry Mr. President your first foreign trip as leader of the US was neither successful nor did it reassure US allies, but it has opened the door to China which was quick to confirm its support for the Paris Climate Deal.
Finally where does this leave Britain after Brexit? Sad... Britain is now left in splendid isolation – a potty little island, not part of the EU and no special status with the US either.