Trump largely alone as world leaders take aim at nationalism

Frederick Owens
November 12, 2018

For US President Donald Trump, attending a French-run ceremony to commemorate World War I, a bloodletting that highlighted the value of allies and dangers of nationalism, was never going to be easy.

He first lady Melania Trump skipped an arrival ceremony at the residence of the French president earlier in the day and did not walk down the Champs-Elysees with other world leaders, traveling to the Arc de Triomphe in the USA president's bullet-proof limousine, instead. The White House said Trump missed the event due to the rainy weather, a decision that overshadowed much of Trump's visit to France.

Macron's speech was full of literary allusions, including to the French poets Guillaume Apollinaire and Charles Péguy, both of whom served in World War I.

Trump arrived separately, in a motorcade that drove past three topless protesters with anti-war slogans on their chests who somehow got through the rows of security and were quickly bundled away by police. The American president has proudly declared himself a nationalist.

When asked about the criticism, the White House pointed its initial statement on the matter.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attends a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery dedicated to the US soldiers killed in the Belleau Wood battle during World War One at Belleau, France, Nov. 10, 2018.

"The American and French patriots of World War I embody the timeless virtues of our two republics: honor and courage, strength and valor, love and loyalty, grace and glory", President Trump said.

Donald Trump was heavily criticised on Saturday after he cancelled a planned visit to honour U.S. soldiers killed in the conflict, apparently because rain had grounded his helicopter.

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"Attacks on the media are not just about getting your preferred political candidate elected, for example, they are about increasing the level of cynicism that citizens have towards all authorities, towards all of the institutions that are there to protect us as citizens", Trudeau said to a crowd of about 150 people.

Most notoriously, Trump has repeatedly put himself at odds with practically the entire USA political and security establishment over Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Remembered for brutal trench warfare and the first use of chemical weapons, WWI pitted the armies of France, the British empire, Russian Federation and the US against a German-led coalition that included the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. "You know what the word is?"

But Macron told CNN: "To be very direct with you, what I don't want to see is European countries increasing the budget in defence in order to buy American and other arms or materials coming from your industry".

National security adviser John Bolton had said at one point that Putin and Trump would meet in Paris, but they will instead hold a formal sit-down later this month at a world leaders' summit in Buenos Aires.

Mr Peters said it was a humbling experience to be there. "We have a lot of problems".

President Trump explained that 1 million French soldiers and 116,000 American service members had sacrificed their lives by the end of World War I.

Trump delivered the speech as other leaders were gathered for the Paris Peace Forum, which aims to revive collective governance and worldwide co-operation to tackle global challenges. Its role as host of the main global commemoration aimed to highlight the message that the world must not stumble into war again, as it did so quickly and catastrophically with the second world war.

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