This one really brought out the Stormtrumpers for some reason, who are almost universally wrong when I read the other answers.
The long answer here is yes with an if, short answer no, with a but.
First, Macron didn’t exactly suggest that. What Macron did say was this:
“The six countries of the G-7 without the United States are a bigger market taken together than the American market. There will be no world hegemony if we know how to organize ourselves. And we don’t want there to be one. Maybe the American president doesn’t care about being isolated today, but we don’t mind being six, if needs be.”
Here’s the problem with the way that Trump approaches this whole “America First” nonsense. Nobody around the world expects the United States to not put its interests at the forefront. No negotiator expects the other parties to come in and subjugate or abandon their interests.
What Trump means by “America First” is that he thinks the Unite States ought to be allowed to bully the rest of the world into submission. That’s the definition of hegemony.
Trump thinks he can do this because the United States is the world’s largest economy. He believes that gives him leverage.
This is because Trump thinks only in terms of hard power and competitive bargaining.. Hard power and competitive bargaining can have certain advantages in one-off, short-term negotiations, but those advantages disappear quickly and turn into structural disadvantages in ongoing or long-term negotiations.
Hard power negotiators are often easily susceptible to flattery and false throw-away concessions, because they tend to be more interested in appearances than actual goals. They will often trade long-term losses for short-term gains because they are easily fooled into thinking that easily publicly visible “wins” are the best measure of success.
Competitive bargainers also face some disadvantages. Competitive bargainers care about the achievement of the task and do not care about the relationships involved. That can lead to the kind of “type-A” driven kind of personality, and can result in a lot of early accomplishments. However, as soon as the competitive bargainer gets a reputation for this kind of behavior, others no longer want to work with the competitive bargainer and/or will be highly guarded in dealing with them.
Cooperation, not straight hard competition, tends to produce the best results, statistically speaking. The problem is that while straight competition can produce the best individual results, that best individual result is almost never attainable because when each individual operates solely for himself, they all cancel each other out. The only way to achieve the best possible individual results is if everyone else rolls over and lets themselves get taken for a ride.
On the other hand, full cooperation yields the best overall result for all parties involved, but everyone tends to share equally in that best overall result. Because everyone ends up with a sort of “tie,” a competitive bargainer does not see this as a “win.” They see it as a loss, instead, because they are selfishly focused on the individual gains, not the net overall gains.
For example, when I was in law school, I was in a course called “Theories of Conflict.” We played a game called “win as much as you can.” You can see the footnotes for the specific rules of the game, but the general gist of it is that there is an extremely high individual payoff for individually competitive bargaining, but only so long as one person wins and everyone else loses. There is a very low cooperative payoff, but each person wins as a result.
I was in a group with a highly competitive bargainer who decided to be an asshole and play only for himself. The professor had announced a reward for the winners of the class, but had conveniently left out that it would be for the winning team, not the winning player. He consistently played in such a way that he would have gotten the highest possible payoff, but only if our entire group lost our shirts to him. We, of course, tried everything to negotiate with him ranging from promises to outright threats. He refused.
In the end, we had the collective worst score of the entire class as a group, well into the negative territory for every single one of us. The group that figured out that cooperation works best was 25 points into the green and won the prize. We were 230 points in the red collectively.
When I pointed that out to the jackass in the group, he smugly looked at me and said, “Well, I lost the least.”
Everybody hates this guy. After this story went around the law school, nobody would work with him anymore. He’s had trouble getting jobs and started his own solo practice, but struggles at that because other attorneys don’t want to work with him either.
Trump, in particular, fits this exact kind of mold. He has repeatedly talked about not preparing for negotiations and improvising instead. Lack of preparation in these kinds of negotiations tends to show that the negotiator a) does not know his own interests, only his own positions, and b) does not have a clear, measurable standard for success. Because of that, proposals that make the negotiator think he looks “strong” are likely to succeed, even when it means that the other side gets everything they want. They will cut off their noses to spite their faces. (And with Trump, he appears willing to cut off his face to spite his nose.)
Trump will allow for enormous losses so long as it appears that he has come out with the best deal for himself, because it’s about appearances, not actual successes that benefit the whole.
Strategy gamers sometimes call someone like Trump a “buff patsy.” They draw the ire of all the other players, who unite against the buff patsy to take that person down. It’s best to be in second place or take non-visible advantages so that other players are less tempted to target the actual front runner. The buff patsy often will have early-game successes, but almost never wins the game in the end due to interference from the other players over the long term.
This is exactly what Macron is suggesting at this point, which is seriously concerning considering it’s coming from our allies.
Trump has taken what could have otherwise been legitimate issues with our trading partners (trade deficits where we continue to import more than we export, and making sure that there’s a fair market between our trading partners,) and turned it into a competitive circus of insults and accusations against our partners and allies.
Macron is absolutely right to point out that combined, the EU and other trading partners are larger than the US, and if Trump wants to get into a dick-measuring contest where the biggest economy wins, the nation-states that understand the value of cooperation will unify themselves against the United States.
The reason the United States has such a vibrant economy and a high standard of living is because it absolutely relies on cheap labor as well as raw and finished materials from overseas. Isolationism would cripple the United States internal consumer economy as food prices skyrocket and consumer goods like electronics go through significant hikes (if they’re available at all.) It would make finished products manufactured here and sold elsewhere significantly more expensive, which would further devastate the manufacturing sector.
And these countries are unifying against the United States quickly. Canada, Mexico, and the European Union have all announced retaliatory tariffs on exports from the U.S. that are directly targeted at the heart of the American export economy, agriculture and durable goods: pork, dairy, soybeans, machinery, etc.
That picture speaks a lot. Trump is sitting there like a defiant, petulant child while all the grownups in the room look to a leader who actually understands what’s going on and is trying to stop the toddler from throwing a tantrum.
Would the United States be kicked out of the G-7? Probably not. Is it entirely possible that the rest of our allies decide to stop humoring Trump and put him (and by extension the United States) in his place? Very.
Addendum: if you want to write an articulate dissenting response with credible sources in my comments, go right ahead. I welcome reasoned debate.
But I am under no obligation to let you sit here and fling your monkey shit at me. Comments like this:
will be deleted and their authors will be summarily escorted to the nearest airlock, where we can watch, point, and laugh at their rapidly decompressing digital bodies howling at the void as they float through cyberspace.