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Charles Lane: There's no appeasing Trump: His policy is to upset the world order
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Shocked and baffled by the results of the 2016 presidential election, America's traditional allies in Europe and Japan fell back on two forms of conventional wisdom about President Donald Trump.

The first view was that Trump's seeming unreasonableness was just a mask for his inner pragmatism: He may brag and bully, but what he's really about is the art of the deal. You can do business with a businessman.

"He's a negotiator," an ambassador from Europe told me, hopefully, a few days after the 2016 election. If the United States got a nickel every time someone used that phrase, there would be no national debt.

The alternative notion was that Trump was, indeed, a mercurial egomaniac but could be swayed by flattery and ceremony.

Japan's Shinzo Abe, who rushed to be the first world leader to visit President-elect Trump in the United States, tried it. So did France's Emmanuel Macron, who rolled out the red carpet and military pomp for Trump in Paris, and then showered him with bonhomie during a state visit to Washington.

Now that Abe, Macron and company have been through the disastrous Group of Seven meeting this past week in Quebec, they must face this terrible possibility: What if nothing works? What if Trump cannot be appeased?

There's been too much denial about the fact that Trump is not, and never has been, a pragmatist, or even merely a showboat; he has an ideology.

You almost want to grab the allies by the lapels and scream: "What part of 'America First' do you not understand?"

Trump does not have some finite reallocation of economic benefits and costs in mind when he says America is "like a piggy bank being robbed" by the countries with which all previous postwar presidents cultivated close political, economic and military ties - including Canada, whose Lt. Gen. Pierre St-Amand currently serves as the second-in-command of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the air-defence shield that protects both the United States and its northern neighbour from surprise attack.



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