Of course, Trump can’t please everybody. German Chancellor Angela Merkel complains that Trump is being too nice to Russia by suggesting that it rejoin the Group of Seven. Considering that Germany spends just 1.2% of GDP on defense and can’t get more than four fighters in the air at any given moment, that’s chutzpah. Merkel’s policy is to talk tough about sanctions against Russia while rolling over for Putin when it comes to Germany’s gas supplies, which will be supplied by the just-started Nord Stream II pipeline from Russia. Germany likes to wag a finger at Russia over its depredations in Ukraine, but only 18% of Germans say they will fight to defend their country. Trump’s policy is to rebuild American strength and stand up to Russia, while looking for ways to strike agreements with Russia–on American terms. That’s the difference between speak softly and carry a big stick, and declaim loudly while waving a bratwurst. If the Germans don’t want to spend money on defense, let alone fight, that’s their business, but they shouldn’t lecture us about how to handle the competition.
Just what has the Group of Seven accomplished in the last dozen years? Who can remember a single line of a single communique? And what is the group worth without Russia? “We have a world to run,” Trump said, and the effort requires having Russia at the table.