Seeking Soul Mates for Trump in Biarritz

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A key question for this weekend’s Group of Seven summit in France is — does the meeting matter anymore? And if so, in what way?As Tim Ross, Gregory Viscusi and Arne Delfs point out, multilateralism, the global architecture that arose from the ashes of World War II, is waning with leaders like U.S. President Donald Trump and newly minted U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The nationalist mood sweeping many countries has seen coordinated discussion on the economy and issues like climate change dissipate.

But even as Trump rewrites the rules for these international meetings (farewell formal communiques), the G-7 in Biarritz was one summit where he most risked feeling isolated. Of the seven leaders, at least four — France, Germany, Canada, Japan — have defended the global order. Trump found more of his “spirit animals” at the recent G-20 in Japan, where he hung out with strongmen from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Brazil and China.

He may encounter more sympathetic souls among other leaders invited onto the summit’s sidelines at the French resort. That list includes the right-wing premiers of Australia and India, plus Spain, Chile, Egypt and Senegal.

The attention Trump devotes to them may show whether he considers the G-7 gang to be any longer the cool kids of geopolitics in this populist era. 

Global Headlines

Tough talk | After dinner last night in Berlin with Angela Merkel, Johnson is in Paris today for talks with Emmanuel Macron. If the German chancellor was prepared to entertain the idea of a last-minute Brexit deal — she floated, possibly with a raised eyebrow, the idea that the tricky stuff could be fixed in 30 days — the French president is likely to be blunter. France said yesterday a no-deal Brexit is now its working assumption.

Cold shoulder | North Korea warned it wouldn’t talk under U.S. “military threats,” raising new doubts about Trump’s effort to restart nuclear negotiations even as his top envoy visited Seoul. The regime denounced fresh U.S.-South Korean military moves as a “grave provocation,” undercutting the president’s assertion that Kim Jong Un would warm to talks after the drills concluded earlier this week.

Just In: South Korea announced it’s ending a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, creating “significant changes” in security cooperation. It’s the latest twist in a deepening dispute between the two Asian nations.

Click cash | Launched in 2004 in part to battle big money’s influence in politics, an online platform called ActBlue is for the first time the main fundraising tool for each of the 2020 Democratic presidential campaigns. Why? Chief executive officers, lawyers and other deep-pocketed donors like the convenience of a one-click stop.

Click here for a closer look at liberals’ efforts to repeat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning 2018 Democratic primary victory by ousting other incumbent Democratic lawmakers. Stay on top of the latest developments in the 2020 White House race with Bloomberg’s Campaign Update.

China’s warning | Companies who do business with China are going out of their way to avoid offending the Communist Party after Beijing clamped down on Cathay Pacific Airways this month when its employees participated in Hong Kong protests. Firms including accounting giants KPMG and PwC are instructing employees to avoid speaking on behalf of the company in public, raising questions about the price of access to Asia’s biggest economy.Brazilian firestorm | As the Amazon burns at a record rate, President Jair Bolsonaro is accusing non-governmental organizations of setting the fires to discredit him, without offering evidence. His allegation comes as he faces intense pressure to contain the blazes in the world’s largest rainforest, as plumes of smoke cast parts of the country into apocalyptic darkness.

What to Watch

Italian President Sergio Mattarella meets with key political leaders today in an effort to carve out a viable coalition after the government collapsed this week. Central bankers including Fed Chairman Jerome Powell gather today for their annual Jackson Hole symposium, amid Congressional Budget Office warnings the U.S. budget deficit is growing faster than expected as Trump’s trade war with China weighs on the economy.

And finally … A new front in the global trade war is threatening to open — over palm oil. Indonesia, the world’s top producer and consumer, is joining Malaysia in removing anti-palm oil products from grocery-store shelves. They are weighing retaliatory action against the European Union, including a push by Jakarta to halt domestic purchases of Airbus aircraft, after the bloc decided to place stricter limits on the tropical oil’s use in biofuels on concerns over deforestation. 


–With assistance from Karl Maier, Kathleen Hunter, Ruth Pollard and Robert Hutton.

To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at

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