Donald Trump is heading into the G-20 summit in Japan with his gripe list close at hand. He’s angry at China over the trade deal that he still hasn’t been able to negotiate. He’s angry at India over tariffs it used to place on U.S. goods. He’s angry at Germany because it continues to refuse to fall apart after taking in refugees. And, as The Washington Post reports, he’s angry at Japan because it’s not ready to pitch in on a global thermonuclear war. “If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III … with our lives and with our treasure,” said Trump. “If we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all.” Japan, he said, “can watch it on the Sony television, okay, the attack.”
Japan should promise to send Godzilla to help. That seems exactly like the sort of “win” Trump would love to brag about at his next rally. “They say he’s up from the depths, 30 stories tall, and breathing fire, okay? Obama didn’t bring you a 300-foot lizard!”
But if Trump is going into the G-20 hoping to make other countries buckle to his will, he’s likely to find that he’s going to leave Osaka with a fresh complaint. Because many of America’s allies are coming into this session determined not to leave without some progress on addressing the climate crisis. European Council President, and extraordinary coincidence in naming, Donald Tusk has been absolutely clear that the climate crisis represents an “existential threat.” Other European leaders are also on board with the idea that the G-20 has to issue a statement that’s strong on its approach to the climate crisis. And if it doesn’t, it’s likely that it will issue no statement at all.
It’s not as if Trump isn’t looking for some fun in Japan. As The New York Times reports, Trump is looking forward to reuniting with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in the post-Mueller Investigation era. And they’re meeting even though Russia is still holding Ukrainian ships and sailors that Trump, in the “investigation underway” era, treated as an issue.
But meeting with Putin isn’t the only thing making Trump smile as he heads into the economic summit. He has also latched onto examples of xenophobia and hate speech in Australia as a means of attacking immigrants coming to the United States.
Trump has been impressed by the way in which anti-immigrant statements are spread Down Under. He started the morning by tweeting out an anti-immigrant flyer that brags that Australia will turn back refugees—even unaccompanied children—and tow them out to sea, regardless of consequences. If it seems especially heartless to be tweeting that following the publication of photos of a father and young daughter who drowned after being turned away from a U.S. border station, that’s because it’s supposed to. Trump is sending the message that drowning is what you get if you dare to try and escape to a “free” country.
Trump was previously scheduled to meet with Putin back in December, but that meeting was cancelled because of Russia’s move to seize three Ukrainian ships and hold the sailors aboard hostage. Trump claimed at the time he wouldn’t meet with Putin again until that situation was resolved.
Apparently “resolved” meant that Robert Mueller turned in his report and Trump considered the heat to be off. Because Russia still has the ships. Still has the sailors. But Trump is going to meet with Putin anyway. At this meeting, Trump hopes to put that whole nasty Russia-got-me-elected thing behind him so he can “pursue his long-held goal of warmer ties with Mr. Putin.”
Ukrainian sailors? What Ukrainian sailors?