Why Juncker will fail today in a conversation with Trump
The EU is looking for solutions in the trade dispute with the US. But it is to be feared that Commission President Juncker will also flinch in the White House.
Dusseldorf It’s a meeting of two very different characters when today’s European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker visits US President Donald Trump at the White House. On the one hand, with Juncker stands an old-fashioned European power politician who embodies the term European “elite”, one who attaches importance to the rule of law and democracy.
On the other side are Trump – a controversial newcomer and admirer of autocrats who would like to break the existing order in Washington and far beyond.
Whether Juncker can defuse the trade dispute with the United States is more than questionable. The EU delegation from Juncker, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and the Secretary-General of the European Commission, Martin Selmayr, have 45 minutes to convince the US team. This consists of Trump, his economic adviser Larry Kudlow, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Ten minutes are scheduled for a bilateral conversation between Juncker and Trump.
Since taking office in January 2017, the US president has often shown how little he thinks of political correctness, lengthy negotiations, and arguments. Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron as well as the heads of government of the G7 states and the NATO partners had to realize this. Almost all of them have already duped Trumps.
Neither Merkel nor Macron successful
At the end of April, Merkel and Trump talked about US punitive tariffs on steel, aluminum and cars and Germany’s armaments expenditure for almost three hours. In the end, the Chancellor traveled empty-handed back to Berlin. The punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum arrived – albeit with a few weeks’ delays.
The signs that auto imports from the EU to the US are being punished continue to intensify, and Trump is increasingly demanding that Germany continue to bolster its defense spending.
This shows that Trump is embarking on his protectionist course and does not want to hide his disgust for multilateral alliances. Above all, the US President is immune to the argument that protective tariffs would also hurt the domestic economy significantly. “Trade wars are easy to win,” is his motto. And on Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “Customs are the biggest thing”.
Even the negotiating tactics of France’s President Macron, Trump visited a few days before Merkel failed. While Merkel is always focused on factual distance, Macron tried to initiate a man’s friendship with Trump and surprised him with a double kiss – in France, between men also a common expression of friendship.
But he was unsuccessful. Neither the trade dispute nor the revocation of the nuclear deal with Iran by the US Macron could thus prevent.
Even the joint final communiqué of the G7 states after the summit in June in Charlevoix, Canada, Trump – despite the previous agreement – with two tweets but still burst. And the NATO partners put pressure on the US president before and during the meeting in Helsinki in such a way that they urged themselves after a hastily convened crisis meeting during the meeting.
At a subsequent press conference, Trump staged himself as a “doer” and actually sold previously agreed with budget increases of the NATO members as a success of his tough negotiating strategy.
Trump admires only strong men
Visually comfortable Donald Trump, however, feels in the circle of other strong men like China’s rulers Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin or North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un.
China’s President flattered Trump during his visit last November and courted him almost like an emperor. A lengthy visit to The Forbidden City and signed deals between China and America for a whopping $ 253 billion (216 billion euros) made Trump forget about what he had lamented in advance – China’s theft of intellectual property, the significant trade imbalance between the two Countries and China’s protective hand over North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un.
Xi smiled good-naturedly, while Trump told him with the expression of a brave schoolboy, “I do not accuse China. Who can be angry with a country because it can exploit another country to help its own people? ”
A similar assessment was given to Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un a few weeks ago: “Kim trashed Trump,” analyzed the New York Times. “There is no sign that North Korea is ready to give up its nuclear weapons, and Trump did not approach anything as good as the Iran deal, which caused Iran to dispose of 98 percent of its enriched uranium.”
And the “Washington Post” stated that the agreement between Trump and Kim repeats only earlier vague agreements, is concrete, without substance: “As for the content of the meeting – there was none.” Trump was mainly concerned with his image as To strengthen Dealmaker – he had succeeded, but “without any intellectual effort”.
Russia’s ruler Putin also let Trump wrap himself around the summit in July and then faced massive pressure in America. At the press conference with Putin, the US president had publicly doubted the findings of US intelligence agencies that Russia had intervened in the 2016 US elections. He had called the denunciation of Putin “extremely strong and powerful”.
Instead of denouncing the shooting down of the passenger plane MH-17, denouncing the aggression against Ukraine, the war crimes in Syria or the venom attack in the UK and, above all, the Russian cyber attack on the US presidential election campaign, Putin’s US president resigned himself to give a football.
But Juncker is not Kim, Xi or Putin. He does not fall into the category of strong men for Trump. Despite all announcements that Europe will take a tough stance on the US trade dispute, the EU does not speak in a united voice.
In particular, Germany and France are divided over the right course towards the US. This clearly weakens Juncker’s position – and Trump only gives in, if he can admire the strength of his counterpart.