Saturday, September 01, 2018

Amigos No More

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."

Image: CBC


the salamander said...

.. I think Peter Wehner has it bang on..
re Bloatface Trump.. we all saw it coming.. the pus sack president spent his entire life as a fraud, liar, grifter, rascist, deceiver, playboy, mysoginist, nothing changed nor will, and it does not bear repeating. An entire family of twisted 1 %ers, country clubbers and faux christians, specializing in hypocracy and utter deceit. I will never set foot in the USA again until Trump and Pence are gone & a coherent honest administration is cleaning up & disinfecting the parasitic disease residue in the White House. I don't pray.. but I dream of Robert Mueller indicting Donald JR and Jard Kushner.. and Trumps head exploding. He's already hysterical.. so shove him around some more ! He needs to F off to his country clubs and face the music of Russia, his other money lenders, and be battered senseless by media who fall upon him rather than fellate the scumbag. I certainly hope Trudeau et al stop kissing ass politely and tell him to suck eggs.. sayonara loser..

Owen Gray said...

My bet is that Trump has been on Mueller's radar for a long time, sal. When he was heading the FBI, Mueller gave a speech warning of the Russian Mafia's presence in the United States. He openly speculated that they wanted to infiltrate the government. And, in the end, I'll also bet that he will have Trump dead to rights.

Anonymous said...

That may be true, Owen. But if the GOP remains in control of Congress, it won't make a damn bit of difference.


The Mound of Sound said...

There was a time I enjoyed riding my motorcycle through Mexico, especially the small towns where the side streets were all dirt. It was always legendary for corruption but that didn't really matter. Now it has succumbed to drug cartels and the violence is extraordinary, certainly comparable to the war in Afghanistan. A guy riding solo on a pricey bike would be guaranteed to lose his motorcycle - just his motorcycle if he was very, very lucky. That was when I wrote the place off.

These days I see news events through the added filter of climate change and that's particularly valid for Mexico and Central America. We're witnessing the onset of what's been recently called the "hothouse climate." Runaway warming and natural feedback loops seem to have been triggered.

Camilo Mora's team at the University of Hawaii warns that in the next few years we will experience a new phenomenon, "climate departure," by which the coolest year afterward will be hotter than the hottest year pre-departure. Among the places predicted to be hit first (2023 is the estimate) is Central America and parts of the Caribbean. Agriculture will fail, mass migrations will follow.

No one can tell how devastating this will be, especially at the outset, but it won't take much to destabilize Central America and cartel-beset Mexico. And that is going to indelibly alter America's relationship with its southern neighbour.

My point is that it may not be entirely bad for Canada to begin slipping some of its bonds with Mexico at least until the next several years reveal what we may be dealing with.

Owen Gray said...

One can hope that the Republicans will at least lose the house, Cap. But, if they don't, I'd also bet that the report will leak.

Owen Gray said...

It seems that the relationship between the three nations is no longer cosy, Mound. We're entering a new world where the old alliances are dying.

Anonymous said...

Trump seems in a hurry to finalize the "new improved not-NAFTA" treaty before the newly elected Mexican President takes power. I wonder why?


Owen Gray said...

I suspect that Trump knows a new, more socialist president will be harder to deal with, UU -- and he wants what he perceices as a win -- at any cost.

Jay Farquharson said...

Both Mexico and Canada freely admit that they were in contact during Mexico's bilateral negotiations.

Shitgibbon's deadline, that went whistling past, wasn't Shitgibbon's.

The Deal had to be done by Friday, so it could be a done deal by the time the new Mexican Administration entered office, December 1st.

That was a hell of a leverage advantage Mexico gave Canada.

Now, the "game" is up in the air, because the 3 page, unsigned, Mexico/US Trade Agreement, will be torn up December 2nd.

Owen Gray said...

That's an interesting point, Jay. There's no guarantee that the new Mexican president will honour the agreement. After all, Trump has signalled how an incoming president can walk away from his predecessor's international agreements.

Jay Farquharson said...

It's not a "Trade Deal", NAFTA is 1700 pages and 30 chapters.

It's an unsigned Memo of Understanding.

The Friday deadline was a joke.

The full text of the New NAFTA has to be written up, signed by all three members, then sent to the ratifying bodies, who by law, have 90 days to review the hundreds of pages of rules, standards anf regulations, and then take a vote to ratify or not.

Media coverage of the NAFTA talks has been abysmal.

Owen Gray said...

I read today that Trump has told Congress not to get involved, Jay. He doesn't understand that Congress must get involved and approve the document. As Gordon Ritchie -- the Canadian negotiator for the original deal -- has said, Trump is "appallingly ignorant."

Jay Farquharson said...

It's the Dunning Kruger Administration.

As I have pointed out before, the Insane Clown POSus, isn't involved in the negotiations,

His role is that of "old man yells at clouds to get out of his yard" to keep his base riled up. That the media continues to normalize this, even the CBC, is sad. Click bait journalism.

Owen Gray said...

His base loves the crazy old man act, Jay. And Trump knows that there's a sucker born every minute. That simple truth keeps him going.

Jay Farquharson said...

Yup, but the media reporting, as if he has impact on the issues, is pathetic.

Putin's Butt Boy, is on many issues, just a figurehead for the venal crowd of opportunists in his Administration, who all have their own agenda's, and are acting them out, and ignoring the ravings and directions of the meat puppet.

The only thing Donny Dollhands is in charge of is his bowel movements, ( as far as we know), and sometimes, his twitter account.

When the full story comes out, it's going to be awesome how the 'Merkin's Iraq'ed their own nation.

Jay Farquharson said...


The part that for me was rather interesting, is the Administration's view that the talks are not going well. Which means in contrast, the talks are going well for Canada.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Jay. Trump has been planting his own links in the New York tabloids for years. When things aren't going well for him, he always has a lot to say.