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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.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

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"There needs to be a dramatic and deep reduction in the amount of debt on the poorest countries. That's clear." As the world's poorest nations struggle to recover from a devastating pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass argues that freeing them of much of their debt will be key. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Listen: Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on our podcast.

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Biden's first scheduled call with a world leader will be with Canada's Justin Trudeau. What's going on with the Keystone Pipeline?

Well, Biden said that that's it. Executive order, one of the first is that he will stop any construction or development of the Keystone Pipeline. This is of course an oil pipeline that would allow further oil sands oil to come to the United States. The infrastructure is significantly overstretched, it's led to backlogs, inefficiency, accidents, all the rest, but it also facilitates more energy development and keeps prices comparatively down if you get it done. So, there are lots of reasons why the energy sector in Canada wants it. Having said all of that, Trudeau, even though he's been a supporter of Keystone XL, let's keep in mind that he did not win support in Alberta, which is where the big energy patch in Canada is located. This is a real problem for the government of Alberta, Canada is a very decentralized federal government, even more so than the United States. The premier of Alberta is immensely unhappy with Biden right now, they've taken a $1.5 billion equity stake in the project. I expect there will actually be litigation against the United States by the government of Alberta. But Trudeau is quite happy with Biden, his relationship was Trump was always walking on eggshells. The USMCA in negotiations ultimately successful but were very challenging for the Canadians, so too with the way Trump engaged in relations on China. All of this, the fact that Trump left the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Paris Climate Accords, WHO, all of that is stuff that Trudeau strongly opposed. He's going to be much more comfortable with this relationship. He's delighted that the first call from Biden is to him. And it certainly creates a level of normalcy in the US-Canada relationship that is very much appreciated by our neighbors to the North.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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