The days of The Three Amigos Summits, Susan Delacourt writes, are gone:
The last one was held in Canada in the summer of 2016. No “Three Amigos” summit has been held since Donald Trump became president later that year. And chances of a reunion seem even more remote today, especially if this week has helped set a new standard in the every-nation-for-itself approach to continental relations.
Trump isn’t just averse to summits, he’s clearly not big on the whole idea of multilateralism. The president didn’t enjoy himself at the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec last June — to put it mildly — and no matter what else has happened this week, he has turned what should have been multilateral trade negotiations into two bilateral sets of talks.
Sarah Goldfeder, a principal with the Earnscliffe Strategy Group in Ottawa, is a former U.S. diplomat who has worked for two American ambassadors to Canada and also in Mexico as a foreign service officer.
She’s been keeping a close eye on how the North American trade relationship has been evolving and says that things between Canada and Mexico were already somewhat shaky before this week.
Last year’s negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade arrangement, for instance, saw some tension between Mexico and Canada when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t show up at a negotiating session in Vietnam. “When Canada didn’t show up, Mexico kind of had to cover,” Goldfeder said. Nor has Canada appreciated the depth or complexity of Mexico’s economic ties to the U.S., she said. “These are all strains on the relationship.”
Trump's "off the record" remarks about Canada yesterday didn't help:
Canadian officials, speaking off the record, insist that negotiations with the United States ended Friday on a good note, despite the comments from Trump, and that no one in Trudeau’s government is interested in picking a fight with Mexico over how everything unfolded this week.
But even if Trump doesn’t end up getting everything that the U.S. wants in whatever new trade deal is reached, he has succeeded in making Canada and Mexico fall into his isolationist, anti-multilateral way of looking at trade relations.
As Peter Wehner wrote in The New York Times last week, "Everyone and everything he touches rots."