“Depend” is such an odd word. To Donald Trump, it means that foreign governments rely on America’s firepower without the thought of “repaying” us for it. Of course, that’s a pretty backwards definition, like essentially everything the would-be dictator believes. When it comes to NATO, there’s a little thing called a treaty that we signed, and in it, there’s no provision for extortion. There’s just the agreement to protect one another, no matter the cost.
During Trump’s speech at the G7 Summit, he didn’t mention that pledge, as every President of the US does when meeting with the world’s largest democracies. Apparently he thought he had more important things to cram into the speech, since the White House later justified the oversight by declaring “it goes without saying” and calling the tradition of specifically mentioning Article 5 “laughable.” But it sure left leaders at the Summit scratching their heads. After all, his neglecting to mention Article 5 came during an unveiling ceremony for a 9/11 memorial — a remembrance of the only time Article 5 has ever been invoked.
To the rest of the world, “depend” means able to rely on. As in, dependable. Germany’s Angela Merkel spoke for much of the planet when she appeared at a campaign rally after the Summit:
The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.”
It’s more than a little sad to see America’s global alliances crumble in the face of such a disastrous presidency. It isn’t surprising, though. Over and over, Trump has repeatedly spouted protectionist, isolationist rhetoric. Just a few days ago, he told a confidante that he would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. He angrily declared that Germany sells too many cars in the US, despite the fact that many are made here. He’s still insistent on the border wall. He doesn’t even pretend to care about world affairs.
These leaders could have saved themselves a trip and the nuisance of having to be in the same room as Trump, though. All the way back during the Republican Convention in Cleveland, Donald Trump was interviewed by the New York Times, and even then he made his feelings clear:
Trump really does see America as a business. Angela Merkel may be concerned about whether Trump is a dependable “business partner” for Europe, but back here at home, we’re just hoping we don’t end up like so many others of his myriad businesses: bankrupt.
Featured image via Guido Bergmann/Getty Images