Special Forum

In the aftermath of the June 8-9 G7 summit in Charlevoix, Canada, which collapsed under the weight of President Donald Trump’s tariff tantrum, a photograph circulated—courtesy of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s twitter account—that captured the mood of the meeting.1 In the picture, Trump is seated, arms crossed, gazing placidly ahead, as European leaders, Merkel most closely, lean forward across a table to make their case. While the world focused on the confrontation between Trump and Europe, the more interesting figure is Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo, who is standing off to one side, arms also crossed, staring at the Europeans with a look that is equal parts disdain and disinterest. He appears to be aligned with the Americans: physically, he is closest to US national security advisor John Bolton, but he also seems to be in sync with Trump’s posture, more in listening mode than actively engaging.

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