- - Thursday, June 29, 2017


Angela Merkel, the good German who is determined make Europeans do what’s good for them, wants to take Donald Trump to her woodshed at the economic summit of 20 right-thinking nations next week in Hamburg. The Donald must be taught the error of his ways and who but Europe’s sternest nanny to do it. There should be lots of noise from the woodshed.

The heads of state of Germany, France, Italy and the little guys of the European Union are all quick to “acknowledge” their economic ties to Washington — they don’t want to take 911 off their speed dials, just in case they get in trouble — but they’re determined not to budge on the “existential” threats like global warming.

They’re determined to keep markets open, and that’s a good thing, but they insist that President Trump’s “America First” policy is but a cover for protectionism and isolationism. The EU stands for a rules-based international system (who doesn’t?). Donald Tusk, the president of the European Union Council, promises that “we speak with one voice.”

Frau Merkel, a big fan of the idea that global warming will eventually cook the planet unless the people who live on it do something about it, will be the hostess to the summit, which begins July 7 in Hamburg, where she was born. “We knew that we could not expect discussions to be easy,” once Mr. Trump said the United States would withdraw from the Paris deal. “The differences are obvious and it would be dishonest to try to cover that up. That I won’t do.”

The American exit from the Paris pact makes Europeans “more determined than ever” to follow the accord wherever it leads, and some of her European allies are eager as usual to tweak Uncle Sam’s beard. Emmanuel Macron, the new president of France, tries to sound generous and reasonable, saying: “On climate, we reaffirm clearly our very strong engagement for the Paris accord and our willingness to go forward. And for me personally, I hope that the others can be brought back to their senses.” But Mr. Trump, in other words, is nuts and Europe can only hope for the best.

A contentious agenda seems assured with the guest list including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, with everyone presumably eager to talk about other minefield issues, including the Syrian war, conflict in Ukraine, and the Islamic states’ diplomatic shutout of Qatar. Frau Merkel’s government told Mr. Erdogan Thursday that he could not make a speech to ethnic Turks in Hamburg, and this was hotly condemned in Ankara, threatening another headache for Germany.

Despite all appearances, Mr. Macron says the EU does not want to isolate any G-20 member. “It’s pointless to isolate a country,” he said. “Mr. Trump expressed himself very clearly and we reacted rapidly that we do not share his vision. Nut or not, he hopes to persuade Mr. Trump to come to his senses and take a longer-term view. The Chinese will come bearing gifts for Frau Merkel, two giant pandas for the Berlin Zoo. Not gifts, exactly, but on loan. Male and female, they’re expected to be beautiful and multiply.

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