At one level, this is astonishing. From The Hill.
White House officials enlisted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help convince President Trump not to unilaterally withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to a Monday report.
The unique and potentially embarrassing approach, which was first reported by Canada’s National Post, apparently worked. Following phone calls with Trudeau and Mexican President Peña Nieto, Trump backed off of reported plans to pull out of NAFTA last month.
Instead, Trump announced that he would renegotiate the 23-year-old deal agreement among the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
I am sure this will draw attention mainly as yet another example of the dysfunction of the White House and its nominal occupant.
But the idea that the staff of a nation’s chief executive would find it appropriate to bring in as an ally the chief executive of another country to change their own bosses mind is in fact merely symptomatic of the fact that today the real disputes are between loose alliances of elites whose loyalties and communications now cross national boundaries.
It is related to the interest of foreign countries in state by state politics in the US, is reflected in part by Flynn, and whoever else is ultimately implicated in “Russiagate,” (what did the President know, and when did he know it?) not thinking through what they did. It is surely also reflected in the myriad state department staff who have tried to reassure elites among our allies that we are not yet as unpredictable as monitoring twitter might suggest. Think about the conversations between Brussels officials and the British Civil Service right now. Or between Bannon and LePenn.
At least arguably, the problem for Flynn, and whoever, is not that they had conversations, but that they made no distinctions between our friends and our allies, or rather that their actions reflected a lack of understanding that there is a distinction.
The fact is that as national interests become more and more interconnected, this is an almost inevitable process. The questions are how to manage it so that the interests of the excluded are not even more abandoned, and how to see this as part of the process of creating trans-national institutions and governments. Would the United States ever have been established if the leaders of the thirteen states had not already somewhat known each other, and known whom they could trust.
We need very new ways of thinking about this.