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Daily Recap — August 26

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Dining With Power

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Ask the average American what they think of the G-7, and they’re likely to think it’s a new brand of Gatorade. Some will think of a luxury jet. But for those of us doomed to follow geopolitics, it’s something much worse: a bunch of globalists pretending to care about anything but the political class.

Truth be told, I don’t want to write about the G-7 any more than President Trump wants to attend the damn thing. Alas, it’s a room full of world leaders, and as such we both have duties of sorts. So let’s run down a few key takeaways.

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Honest Abe?

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PDT and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced yesterday that they had agreed to the framework of a trade deal. While details remain scant, the president reports it to be worth “billions and billions of dollars.”

One important detail that we do know is it involved excess corn, which Japan, Trump said, agreed to buy from American farmers.

“With regard to the potential purchase of American corn, in Japan we are now experiencing insect pests on some agricultural products,” Abe explained at a presser. “And there is a need for us to buy some of the agricultural products.”

That’s music to the ears of some hurting folks in the Midwest.

U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer says the deal would focus on three areas: agriculture, industrial tariffs and digital trade. All three of those areas just would just happen to offset damage done by our feud with China, but I’m sure that’s coincidence.

Abe said the Japanese and the Americans “would like to set a goal” of signing the new trade agreement when both he and Trump are in New York for the United Nations General Assembly in September. We’ll see what happens.

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China Mystery

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No one really knows what is happening in the all important trade talks with China, perhaps by design. This weekend, PDT seemed to express regret over escalating the trade war, but then his aides walked that comment back. Then, he said his regret was that he hadn’t made tariffs higher, a pretty clever way of setting things straight.

Stocks have taken a hit since things got dicier with the trade war, but things are rebounding a bit with talks of a new trade deal with Japan and renewed negotiations in Beijing. Markets like stability.

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Saving the Rain Forest

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The Amazon rainforest has been on fire for the past three weeks. The number of fires in Brazil this year is the highest since 2013 and is up by 85% from last year. Earlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the region. So far this year, more than 80,000 fires in the country have been detected by Brazil’s space research center, INPE.  

Fire is often used to clear out the land for farming or ranching. For that reason, the vast majority of the fires can be attributed to humans. Leftists have wasted no time blaming the fires on climate change, since heat and dryness are up this year. Their analyses tend to be a bit tainted by confirmation bias.

Brazil’s amazing president, Jair Bolsonaro, has said publicly that he thinks the fires were set by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in retaliation to funding cuts. He hasn’t provided any evidence but I believe him because he’s awesome and deserves to be believed. Plus I could totally see a bunch of parasitic government agencies pulling something like that.

In any event, G-7 leaders agreed to assist in fighting the fires after outcry from His Royal Coochness Pope Francis, and a show of support from PDT and new U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson. Aid of $20 million was announced today by that little French weasel Emmanuel Macron.

Macron’s wife is like 94 years old. #NeverForget

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Let Vlad Come Over Already

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Speaking of confirmation bias, after a rough ending to the Mueller sage, we can expect the Russia truthers to rear their ugly heads once again, as PDT has called for Russia’s re-entry into the G-7 (which would make it the G-8 once again, for you math aficionados).

The president said several times he wants Russia to rejoin the G7. That can’t happen unless all member nations agree, and they are unlikely to unless Russia reverses its annexation of Ukraine (which was what got Russia thrown out in the first place.)

Most people are scratching their heads wondering why Trump would make such a push. Occam’s razor would suggest that he just thinks Vlad got a bad rap and deserves to be at the big kid’s table again. I actually tend to believe that it’s part of the latest push to bring Vlad into the conversation of how to deal with Iran.

Either reason is legitimate, frankly. At least half of Crimea is nostalgic for Russia anyway.

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A Desperate Frenchman

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Typically when an Islamist makes a surprise appearance, it’s to detonate a suicide bomb. In this case, the purpose was much more self-serving.

Iran’s foreign minister made a surprise appearance at the G-7 to discuss the 2015 nuclear deal, but PDT declined to meet with him. Trump claimed he knew ahead of time and gave Macron permission for Iran to attend, so we’ll take him at his word for that.

In previous recaps we discussed the decision the EU would have to make shortly, namely between its business interests in Iran and its alliance to ensure the mullahs never get their hands on a nuclear bomb. Macron showed today that he’s going to fight until the end to preserve his country’s business interests while not alienating the U.S., if all possible. The French people don’t share our commitment to Israel’s survival, plain and simple.

French exports to Iran doubled in 2018 to 1.5 billion euros ($1.78 billion), driven by the export of jets and aircraft parts, as well as automobile parts. Total trade between France and Iran hit a nine-year high last year of 3.8 billion euros. This is while Iran directly funds to missiles being aimed at Israeli neighborhoods and schools. Then again, no one has a perfect ally. But if you’re going to be a Western power, it’s smart to give a thought to the lone functioning democracy in the Middle East.

Bottom line: PDT said he would meet with Iran if conditions were right, though he hasn’t specified exactly what he means. If I know Trump, what he means by “right conditions” is the Iranian economy worsening to the point of creating a desperate regime. He’s most of the way there already.

I don’t think Macron understands that Trump has no interest in easing up on Iran until meaningful steps to correct that garbage 2015 deal are made. So long as Macron is trying to preserve some form of that deal, which essentially amounts to a decennial ransom, his diplomatic efforts will fall on deaf ears.

Good.

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Big Picture

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World leaders didn’t like President Trump before this meeting and they’re not going to like him any better afterwards. He has never treated these shindigs as empty photo-ops. Rather, he’s reminded people to pay their damn defense bills and stop being hypocrites about everything (remember Merkel and the Russian pipeline to Germany?).

I’m glad they hate him. That’s partially why I voted for him. Keep going to bat for the country, Mr. President. Some in our country have forgotten what that looks like. Keep reminding them.

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