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With a friend like Trump, who needs an enemy?

Congratulations President Trump: you have managed to unite the European Union, which, despite its name, had never been united much before.

U.S. President Donald Trump had one ally in all of Europe: France and its fast-learning leader Emmanuel Macron. He has managed to make an enemy out of Macron and pushed him to Angela Merkel.

As a result, at the G-8, minus Russia’s meeting in Canada last weekend, the headlines read, “The world against the United States.” This was the annual gathering of the countries which hold more than 60 percent of the global wealth. The G7 countries (Canada, the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Japan and Germany) had invited Russia to their 1998 meeting but disinvited it in 2014 as Russia “temporarily occupied” the Crimean Peninsula.

Now Donald Trump wants Russia back. He said in Canada, “You know, whether you like it or not – and it may not be politically correct – but we have a world to run and in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in.”

Italy’s wet-behind-the-ears Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tried to tweet that it was “in the interests of everyone” for Russia to be readmitted. “Not so fast” the boss of the now-united EU, Frau Merkel said: all the EU members there, including Conte, had agreed that Russia could not be readmitted unless there was “progress” on Ukraine.

Divisions between Trump and the EU go way beyond Russia issue. They include the U.S. trade war with Europe, climate change, relations with Iran and the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Merkel thinks that it is better to set out those differences instead of giving a false impression of unity with a dishonest communique that would say everything’s OK.

Because of these issues and Trump’s uncompromising attitude (he did not stay until the end of the meeting and left early for his summit with Kim Jung Un), an agreement could not be reached in Canada. Trump’s business deal tactics include what could be described in Turkey as the “covered bazaar negotiation ritual” – leave the store and let the shopkeeper yell a lower price.

But it seems to be not working because European Council President Donald Tusk told the organization leaders last week that, “looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think: With friends like that, who needs enemies?” Mr. Tusk said, “Thanks to Trump we have got rid of all illusions [of unity].”

Now Trump’s honesty on his Secretary of State Pompeo’s agreement with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the road map in Manbij is going to be tested. According to the understanding of the two officials, the PKK’s Syria extension, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), should be cleansed out of town, and they should be leaving the weapons and other military material given by the U.S.

Yet, even before the ink on the announcement by the two ministers was dry, a spokesman of an organization which named itself the “Manbij Military Council” (whose Twitter account looks like the one of PKK terrorists, adorned with a photo of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan) said, “The U.S. gave guarantees to protect Manbij after the Turkey deal.”

If Turkish and U.S. forces provide security in the town until its governance transferred to its legal residents, what “protection” was this terrorist organization guaranteed? So far, the YPG-loving U.S. Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), had not issued a denial or correction. Neither did U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrord (you’ll remember him posing for cameras with the Manbij Military Council commanders, donning the same stylish sunglasses).

Attributing to an unnamed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) representative, the Russian Sputnik news agency reported that last week the U.S. continued to supply heavy arms and armored vehicles to the group as part of the military operations around Deir ez-Zor

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me – so Turkey will be watching that road map because – as Tusk says – with a friend like Trump, who needs an enemy?

Source: Daily Sabah

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About the author

Hakki Ocal

Hakki Ocal

Hakkı Öcal is a columnist at both Daily Sabah and Milliyet newspapers, which are based in Istanbul. He is also an advisor to the President of Ibn Haldun University.

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