Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 10.06.2018
The Group of Six leading industrialized nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Union – condemned Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and said loud and clear: “Crimea is Ukraine.” The Group of One, the United States, withdrew its signature from the final communiqué of the summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada. Trump left the meeting early, raged against Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and threatened an expanded trade war against Western democracies that are – or were – US allies.
The G6 insisted on language in the final communiqué that expressed the ideals of Western civilization. Guided by host nation Canada, the document noted that the group is “guided by our shared values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and our commitment to promote a rules-based international order.” The G1 (the US under Trump) wanted “rules-based international order” taken out. It was overruled by all the other countries.
The G6 condemned “Russia’s failure to demonstrate complete implementation of its commitments in the Minsk Agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty.” Trump had said before the summit that Russia should be readmitted to the exclusive club of leading industrialized nations. He made no reference to Russia’s invasion and partial occupation of Ukraine, nor to the illegal so-called ‘annexation’ of Crimea, nor to the ongoing war being waged by Russia against Ukraine in Donbas.
The G6 stands by Ukraine: “We reiterate our condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and reaffirm our enduring support for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders … Should its actions so require, we also stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase costs on Russia.” While other branches of the US government have used similar language and have taken action to back it up, Trump has never spoken in this way in support of Ukraine or to act with strength and wisdom to counter Russian aggression.
Russia’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea has proven to be a test where Trump falls on the side of aggressor Russia and not on the side of defender Ukraine which is strategically supported by the US. Trump has never said that Crimea is Ukraine. Trump has never told Putin to get out of Crimea and leave Ukrainian territory. Trump has instead said that Crimea is “Europe’s problem” and said that the people in Crimea “want to be with Russia” (which is false Kremlin propaganda).
No aspect of Russia’s war against the West has been condemned by Trump. This includes the attack Russia launched on March 4 in Salisbury, England using a nerve agent. The final communiqué that was endorsed by the G6 said: “We condemn the attack using a military grade nerve agent in Salisbury, United Kingdom. We share and agree with the United Kingdom’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation.” The G1 (the US under Trump) withdrew its solidarity with the UK as it did its solidarity with Ukraine.
Trump reserved his special condemnation for Canada. After fleeing the company of democratically-elected leaders early, Trump rage-tweeted that Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was “very dishonest and weak” and had issued “false statements.” Earlier this month, Trump had labelled Canada a “threat to US national security” and had imposed massive and unjust tariffs on steel and aluminum. In a phone call with Prime Minister Trudeau, Trump seemed to justify his labelling of Canada as a threat by asking if Canada burnt down the White House. (Canada didn’t. British troops partially burned the Executive Mansion in Washington, D.C. on 24 August 1814. This was an action of the War of 1812 which the US declared against Britain on 18 June 1812.)
Canada and the United States have been at peace for a remarkably long time. 203 years, 3 months, 7 days elapsed between the signing of the Treaty of Ghent which ended the War of 1812 and Trump labelling Canada a threat to US national security.
The beneficiary of Trump’s nihilism is Russia. Russia benefits from the isolation of the United States from its traditional allies. Russia’s war against Ukraine is condemned only by a Group of Six as Trump yanks out US assent. Russia shatters the rules-based international order in everything it does and Trump withdrew support from efforts to bolster that order.
In his war against the West, Putin aims to destroy Ukraine, break up the European Union, weaken NATO, and weaken the power and prestige of the United States. Putin wasn’t at the summit in Charlevoix, but he may as well have been as he got everything he wanted. Trump served Russia well.