Global Affairs

How to court Donald Trump

Lessons from the recent frustrating experience of European leaders who tried both flattery and lectures on principles

You've got to admire their tenacity. The leaders of Britain, Germany and France, Europe's so-called "E-3" biggest states, have devoted much of their political capital over the past two weeks in efforts to strengthen their relationships with US President Donald Trump.

France's President Emmanuel Macron spent days in Washington hugging or holding hands with Mr Trump as two boys on a school outing, and even pretended to enjoy the experience of the United States President brushing off some dandruff from the French President's shoulders. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel sprayed on her best smiles on a visit to Washington in a heroic effort to persuade photographers that she actually wanted to be there. And British Prime Minister Theresa May extended an invitation to Mr Trump to come to London for a state visit in July, defying huge domestic opposition.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2018, with the headline 'How to court Donald Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe