Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau: The opposite of a love story

Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau: The opposite of a love story

It's the stuff of real high-powered, honorable diplomacy.

While schmoozing with his chums – including Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain and President Emmanuel Macron of France – at a Buckingham Palace reception at the NATO summit in London, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was caught on video referencing President Trump's impromptu news conference earlier in the day: "You just watched his team's jaws drop to the floor," Trudeau said, oblivious that he's being recorded. President Trump, who has zero tolerance for public mockery, responded as you might expect from the president of the United States: he called Canada's premier "two-faced" and departed the summit early, abandoning a slated press conference.


But this public spat is just the latest in a string of soap-opera events between President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau. It's worth taking a (strange) walk down memory lane to gauge the backstory.

Amid a row last year over renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada, and Mexico, President Trump tried using tariff threats as leverage to get Trudeau to make concessions on his country's highly protected dairy industry. After Prime Minister Trudeau said that Canada wouldn't be "bullied" on trade, Trump unleashed a tweet storm from Air Force One while on his way to meet North Korea's dear leader, calling Trudeau "very weak and dishonest."

Trump also claimed to have rejected the Canadian leader's overtures for an in person meeting, but Trudeau's spokeswoman swiftly hit back, saying "no meeting was requested" in the first place. Again, embarrassing Trump on the world stage. After a year of torturous negotiations the two leaders and their Mexican counterpart agreed on the parameters of a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

And how could we forget that spellbinding photo against a romantic French backdrop this summer of a smitten Melania Trump air-kissing Justin Trudeau. Even RT, the Kremlin-steered media outlet, weighed in on twitter: "Everyone should find someone who looks at them the way Melania looks at Justin #Trudeau."

Prime Minister Trudeau today sought to play down yesterday's embarrassing incident, saying that he has "a very good relationship" with his American counterpart. Meanwhile, President Trump is already on a plane back to Washington DC. One thing's for sure: there's no love lost between these two leaders.

This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

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Listen: Stanford historian Niall Ferguson joins Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to talk about the geopolitics of disaster. Throughout human history we seem to be unable to adequately prepare for catastrophes (natural or human-caused) before they strike. Why is that? And as we emerge from the greatest calamity of our lifetimes in the COVID-19 pandemic and look to the plethora of crises that climate change has and will cause, what can we do to lessen the blow?

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Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

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In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

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When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

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YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

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Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

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