Giuseppe Conte, Donald Trump’s Italian cheerleader

Trump-Putin summit: Wing-it meets meticulous

President Donald Trump’s wing-it approach to diplomacy would face a tough test in a potential July summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is sure to bring a well-rehearsed game plan to a meeting with his impulsive American counterpart.

“Putin comes extremely well prepared for these meetings,” said Michael McFaul, a Trump critic who served as the U.S. ambassador to Russia during President Barack Obama’s second term. “He knows what he is seeking to achieve. He does psychological work ahead of time to think about the strengths and weaknesses of the people he’s talking to.”

The former KGB spy is known as an incisive negotiator who has an uncanny ability to read people. Putin likely understands that when it comes to Trump, the fourth American president since Putin’s ascension as Russia’s top leader, flattery pays off — and that Trump, as recent events show, can be persuaded to Continue reading “Trump-Putin summit: Wing-it meets meticulous”

After Trump tweetstorm, ‘no real big fireworks’ at G-7

LA MALBAIE, Quebec — All tweet, no bite.

After a brief, nasty exchange on Twitter over trade tariffs, President Donald Trump and other leaders survived the first day of the G-7 summit on Friday with little acrimony and no clashes, according to officials at the meetings here.

The standoff on trade, which effectively turned the G-7 into the G-6 vs. 1, continued at an afternoon working session where European leaders confronted their American counterpart with an array of statistics aimed at debunking his repeated complaints that the U.S. is unfairly disadvantaged by allies’ tariffs.

“Trump came in and made the arguments that he always does, about the U.S. trade deficit,” said an official who observed the talks. “A number of European leaders came with figures that contested that picture.”

The official said the discussion was essentially left there, with Trump unbending and unpersuaded, and the allies — Continue reading “After Trump tweetstorm, ‘no real big fireworks’ at G-7”

New Italian leader backs Trump on Russia rejoining G-7

LA MALBAIE, Canada — Italy’s new prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, broke sharply with the EU on Friday at his first international summit, and joined President Donald Trump’s call for Russia to be reinstated to the exclusive club of industrialized nations.

Trump called for Russia’s reinstatement as he left the White House to travel to the G7 leaders’ meeting in Quebec.

The Western powers and Japan ejected Russia from the G8 in 2014 in response to the Kremlin’s invasion, and subsequent annexation, of Crimea.

Conte posted his support for Trump’s view on Twitter, apparently between meetings with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. It’s unclear if Tusk or Juncker were aware of Conte’s statement before their meetings.

Since Russia’s ejection, Western nations, including the U.S. and all EU countries, have been unified in the need to maintain economic sanctions and other pressure on Russia Continue reading “New Italian leader backs Trump on Russia rejoining G-7”

G7 and Trump: Can’t live with him, can’t live without him

Macron and Trudeau vow to confront Trump on tariffs

Brussels slams Britain’s Brexit ‘renegotiation’ attempt

‘Murdered’ Russian journalist turns up alive

Warsaw to Trump: Let’s make a military deal (without NATO)

British officials float Brexit customs compromise

Trump’s unlikely pick for EU ambassador

Trump’s unlikely pick for EU ambassador

Europe punches back after Trump’s Iran decision

BRUSSELS — European leaders on Wednesday began drawing up plans to preserve the Iran nuclear accord, in defiance of President Donald Trump’s Tuesday decision to abandon what he called the "rotten" agreement.

The possible action includes legislation that would block Washington from punishing European companies that continue to do business with Iran. It reflects Europe’s deep frustration with Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 deal despite the pleas of its top leaders.

Trump’s action has inflamed a transatlantic relationship already strained by his threat to impose tariffs on European products, along with his 2017 withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. The leaders of Britain, France and Germany spent months trying to convince Trump to sustain the Iran deal, which they helped to negotiate. In a Tuesday statement, former Secretary of State John Kerry, who spearheaded the nuclear talks, warned that it “isolates [the U.S.] from our European allies."

Continue reading “Europe punches back after Trump’s Iran decision”

Europe scrambles to save Iran deal

Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions angers Europe and spooks companies.

Brexit’s Irish stalemate

Donald Tusk ‘furious’ over Brexit

European Council president sees ‘dangerous potential for conflict’ across Europe.

14 EU countries expel Russian diplomats

Trump accused of holding gun to EU’s head in trade talks

Britain pulls out of European Union defense force

NATO ‘in touch’ with Britain about nerve gas attack