…..US president attacks French host as he lands in Paris for trip marking armistice centenary.


5568Donald Trump has started his first foreign trip since the midterm elections with a jab at his host, tweeting as he arrived in France that Emmanuel Macron’s call to build up Europe’s military was “insulting”.
The US president arrived in France late on Friday for the centennial of the end of the first world war this weekend, but will skip a summit on global cooperation in Paris, which begins the same day.


Within minutes of landing, Trump tweeted:

On Tuesday, Macron said Europe needed a real army to reduce reliance on the United States for defence, but did not say the force was needed to protect Europe from the US.

Instead the US president appears to have taken earlier comments made by Macron about cyber threats to Europe out of context. “We are being shaken by hacking attempts in our cyberspace. We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” the French president said.


The US president, whose power in Washington has been curtailed by the loss of the House of Representatives to the Democrats, will hold a one-on-one meeting with the French president and attend memorial ceremonies and meals with fellow leaders, but will leave before the Paris Peace Forum, which Macron has organised as the focal point of the gathering.


Macron said the aim of the forum was to make sure the miscalculations of the world powers that led to the the 1914-18 war were avoided by more collective decision-making in the 21st century.
Macron calls for ‘real’ European army at start of war centenary tour
Vladimir Putin will be attending the war commemoration and the forum, but Trump has said he will not be meeting his Russian counterpart, apart from when they attend the same lunch, where scores of other world leaders will also be present.


Trump has been under scrutiny for most of his presidency for the links between his election campaign and the Kremlin. The future of that investigation, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, is now in doubt, after Trump fired his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, but the Democratic gain of the House of Representatives will clear the way for more congressional investigations of Trump’s conduct.


Trump declared in August that he would attend the first world war ceremonies as a rebuff to Washington city authorities who he said had overpriced the cost of a military parade he had wanted to stage on 11 November.


It was unclear at the time whether he was aware of the extent of the events Macron had planned, referring to them in a tweet only as “the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the war”.


Trump said on Twitter: “When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. I will instead … go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the war, on 11 November.”


Trump has been uneasy at multilateral summits, preferring one-on-one meetings. His national security adviser, John Bolton, is also opposed to multilateral institutions, arguing the US should wield its power alone or with close allies.


Thomas Wright, the director of the Centre on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, said: “It would be odd for Trump and John Bolton to show up at a forum for global governance. Normally you would want the president of the US at an occasion like this, but Trump would really be the skunk at the picnic. His view of multilateral cooperation is that it damages sovereignty.”


We now know it’s folly to rage against Trump


Diplomats in Washington said Paris did not push hard for Trump to attend the peace summit and that both administrations were content for the president to skip the meeting.


Trump begin his weekend trip to France with the meeting with Macron and visits to the Belleau Wood battlefield and a cemetery for US war dead about 50 miles north-east of Paris. He will attend a dinner for visiting heads of state and government in the French capital on Saturday night.


On Sunday, Trump took part in the main memorial event at the Arc de Triomphe and then eat lunch with fellow leaders before taking part in a US Veterans Day ceremony in a US cemetery in the Parisian suburb of Suresnes before heading home.
White House officials said the president’s tight schedule gave time for only one bilateral meeting, with Macron. The two leaders are expected to discuss Syria, Iran and Yemen as well as the future of transatlantic trade.
The overall impact of the midterm elections on US foreign policy is unclear and much will depend on how far Trump will go to rid himself of members of the cabinet he sees as disloyal.


Wright said: “Over the arc of his presidency, Trump has shed himself of cabinet secretaries he doesn’t trust and surrounded himself with loyalists. That will continue and escalate. But the big problem is, he doesn’t know where he’s going.”








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