It looks like it's Trump against the world at this year's G7 summit. The annual gathering, which brings together the seven most powerful countries in the world, is intended to be a productive meeting in which critical issues such as global economic governance, international security and energy policy are addressed with harmonious cooperation.
But a recent series of tense exchanges between U.S. President Donald Trump and the other G7 leaders has reduced what is supposed to be a unifying tradition into an 'awkward fest' of sorts.
It all started when the Trump administration announced that it would be imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union, ending the exemptions that were, for years and years, in place for those countries. Naturally, the three were offended by the decision; unable to fathom that one of their closest allies would do that to them after years of unwavering loyalty.
As a result, they each responded with their own retaliatory tariffs against the U.S., sparking what seems to be the start of a potentially disastrous trade war.
In return, Trump, being who he is, started throwing temper tantrums on Twitter, lashing out at the G7 leaders. He particularly targeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron, accusing them of acting unreasonably and being hypocritical (he even went as far as to blame Canada for burning down the White House during the War of 1812).
"Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers," Trump tweeted on the eve of the G7 summit. "The EU surplus with the U.S. is $151 billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow."
Macron tweeted back with a bold statement that seemed to speak for all of the G7 countries: "The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6-country agreement if need be."
The war of words became so tense that there were rumours circulating that Trump was going to skip out on the G7 summit altogether. Fortunately, he was in his right senses and decided to make the trip to Charlevoix, Que. after all.
Now that Trump is exactly where the G7 leaders want him, they have the opportunity to confront him face-to-face on the long list of issues they have with his administration. But who will take the lead and throw the first jab?
The obvious pick might be Trudeau — he's the host of the G7 summit this year and seems to be the main figure rallying the other leaders together. But of all the G7 countries, his has the most to lose from a damaged relationship with Trump, and so he may be afraid to trigger him any further.
Macron would have been a good option. He once had bromance with Trump, after successfully schmoozing him at the Bastille Day parade in Paris last year. Unfortunately, their honeymoon period quickly ended when the Trump administration made the tariffs announcement and Macron took to Trudeau's side.
What about Theresa May? The British Prime Minister has said that she wants to keep a "special relationship" with the U.S., so she's probably not one to defy the president. Like Trudeau, she also doesn't want to rub the president the wrong way out of fear that she might jeopardize their relationship.
Then there's Angela Merkel, the well-loved Chancellor of Germany. She's been applauded for her boldness and conciliatory nature, but it seems her charm has no effect on Trump. In fact, the two pretty much hate each other, and they don't try to hide it either.
That leaves two last options: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. With Abe, it has been decided that he cannot be relied on to stand up to Trump as he has developed a very close relationship with the president; one that is akin to the Trudeau and Macron bromance.
Newly elected Conte is no better either — the Italian leader, who has only held office for a week so far, not only has a similar populist mindset to Trump, but also shares similar sentiments towards foreigners and Russia. He was the only one to agree with Trump when he proposed that the G7 should re-invite Russia back into the group.
With Trump planning to leave the G7 summit early in order to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, the rest of the leaders don't have much time to change the president's mind on the tariffs decision.
I guess the other six members of the G7 aren't as unified against Trump as they think.