This coming week, President Donald Trump will be continuing to pretend to have any idea what he’s doing as the commander-in-chief of the United States. The White House has revealed that he has at least two one-on-one meetings set for the upcoming NATO summit in London, which will mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance that Trump has repeatedly criticized, delivering angry tirades that play right into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hands. This time around, Trump will apparently be meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, both of whom he’s previously sparred with. More sparks will no doubt fly — although world leaders seem used to that at this point.
A main point of contention that Trump has maintained with European leaders is over their supposed failure to live up to their NATO funding commitments. In reality, many countries have been working right in line with the guidelines that were set, but that hasn’t stopped Trump.
Completely misrepresenting what Macron had actually said and implying he’d wanted protection against the U.S., Trump railed on Twitter last year:
‘Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!’
This coming week in London, Trump administration officials claim that top priorities for Trump will be sounding an alarm about aggression from both China and Russia, although just to be clear, he’s gone far off script many times before, and it’s not like he’s ever proven particularly keen on sticking to the script especially in responding to Russian aggression.
The Trump administration said:
‘There are continuing challenges that NATO needs to face, China above all… Russia has shown a consistent disregard for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors. Certainly that’s something that will be discussed at the leader summit.’
An official got more specific, singling out Chinese access to global technology markets as a major cause for concern. The Trump administration has already acted against this perceived threat, banning certain Chinese electronics like phones from Huawei from U.S. military usage over fears the data could be used for nefarious purposes. Now, an official says:
‘We are absolutely going to insist that our NATO allies use trusted and reliable partners, providers in their 5G networks. This is not something where they want to allow the Chinese Communist Party to be able to siphon off their data or entry into their networks at all. So this is a very, very high priority for us, and the president is going to reiterate that message.’
Will he though? Trump has never proven keen on actually sticking to even just basic precedent for a president of the United States. If precedent is any indication, then this coming week will be marked by yet another round of angry, petty Twitter tirades from the president of the United States targeting his global counterparts.