President Trump traded barbs with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and the European Union ahead of the G7 summit. Trump has accused the allies of slapping “massive tariffs” on US goods as French President Macron publicly questions whether Trump cares about “being isolated,” even alluding to a possible "G6" without the United States.
Sputnik spoke to Dr. Stavros D. Mavroudeas, a professor of political economy at the University of Macedonia, to discuss the implications.
Sputnik: Do you expect the other G7 members to have much luck persuading President Trump to give in and grant them waivers from the steel and aluminum tariffs that seem to be bedeviling these old alliances?
Stavros Mavroudeas: I think that the Trump administration is making a strategic change in the policy of the US. It expresses the deep vested interests of the US elite [during] a period of economic crisis and geopolitical upheavals. The US wants to use its superpower status to achieve as much benefits as it can, so it will pressurize everybody else to succumb to US interests.
The main adversary is China. China is a big guy, and it is outside the G7. The other big guy is Russia, who is also outside the G7, although Trump today said that Russia might return to the G7. This is a policy choice still now, the US wanted to corner Russia and give some sweeteners to China. Now there is a change of policy with the Trump administration and they are courting Russia and they want to marginalize China. The rest of the G7 are mostly Western powers and they are so weak toward the US that essentially they can’t do much, although they will probably pay the price for the US trade wars.
Sputnik: Do you think, as some are suggesting, that we are witnessing the emergence of a post-US world order? Macron himself said just yesterday that the US is no longer the sole economic superpower and alluded to the possibility of the US being sidelined at the G7.
Stavros Mavroudeas: There is such a possibility, although France, and Macron especially, is just a joker. Macron especially is not significant. He tries… to court Germany… but he has no significant leverage. But for the US there is a growing danger that it might lose its superpower status and for this reason the Trump administration is moving so as to avoid this development.
Sputnik: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he had "warned" Europe years ago about the risk of Washington imposing trade rules on others. Do you think it’s possible that Europe could gravitate toward Russia, in the long run?
Stavros Mavroudeas:Well this would be a logical consideration but in international politics and economics, logic is not present. That is, the German elite is always considering the case of changing an alliance but it knows also that it has a high price. It requires a total recall, a total restricting, of German economic relations and this goes for the rest of Western Europe. I’m leaving aside the case of the UK, which is in the so-called Atlantic relationship with the US. So, this requires very deep structural changes and I’m not sure whether the Western European elites are willing or even in a position to take the course of these tremendous changes. So for the time being, they are just fuming their anger toward the US. Effectively though, they haven’t done anything serious; the Iran deal is a typical case.
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