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Trump Stood Mostly Alone in Paris      11/12 06:17

   At a weekend commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 
I, the president who proudly declares himself a "nationalist" stood apart, even 
on a continent where his brand of populism is on the rise.

   PARIS (AP) -- For President Donald Trump in Paris, America First meant 
largely America alone.

   At a weekend commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 
I, the president who proudly declares himself a "nationalist" stood apart, even 
on a continent where his brand of populism is on the rise.

   He began his visit with a tweet slamming the French president's call for a 
European defense force, arrived at events alone and spent much of his trip out 
of sight in the American ambassadors' residence in central Paris. On Sunday, he 
listened as he was lectured on the dangers of nationalist isolation, and then 
he headed home just as the inaugural Paris Peace Summit was getting under way.

   The visit made clear that, nearly two years after taking office, Trump has 
dramatically upended decades of American foreign policy posture, shaking 
allies. That includes French President Emmanuel Macron, who on Sunday warned 
that the "ancient demons" that caused World War I and millions of deaths were 
once again making headway.

   Macron, who has been urging a re-embrace of multinational organizations and 
cooperation that have been shunned by Trump, delivered a barely-veiled rebuke 
of Trumpism at the weekend's centerpiece event: A gathering of dozens of 
leaders at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the base of the Arc de Triomphe 
to mark the passage of a century since the guns fell silent in a global war 
that killed millions. Bells tolled across Europe's Western Front and fighter 
jets passed overhead to mark the exact moment the devastating war came to a 
close.

   With Trump and other leaders looking on, Macron took on the rising tide of 
populism in the United States and Europe and urged leaders not to turn their 
backs by turning inward.

   "Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: Nationalism is a betrayal 
of patriotism," Macron said, adding that, when nations put their interests 
first and decide "who cares about the others" they "erase the most precious 
thing a nation can have... Its moral values."

   After Trump was gone, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently 
announced that she will not be seeking re-election, made an impassioned plea 
for global cooperation at the peace forum, saying World War I had "made clear 
what disastrous consequences a lack of compromise in politics and diplomacy can 
have."

   Trump, who has made clear that he has limited patience for broad, 
multilateral agreements, sat mostly stone-faced as he listened to Macron, who 
sees himself as Europe's foil to the rising nationalist sentiment, which has 
taken hold in Hungary and Poland among other countries.

   Trump did engage with his fellow leaders, attending a group welcome dinner 
hosted by Macron at the Muse d'Orsay on Saturday night and a lunch on Sunday. 
He also spent time with Macron on Saturday, when the two stressed their shared 
desire for more burden-sharing during a quick availability with reporters.

   But Trump was terse during some of his private conversations with world 
leaders, according to people with direct knowledge of his visit. One of the 
people described the president as "grumpy." They spoke on condition of 
anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.

   The symbolism during Trump's visit couldn't have been more stark.

   Trump was missing from one of the weekend's most powerful images: A line of 
world leaders, walking shoulder to-shoulder in a somber, rain-soaked procession 
as the bells marking the exact moment that fighting ended --- 11 a.m. on Nov. 
11, 1918 --- finished tolling.

   The president and first lady Melania Trump had traveled to the commemoration 
separately --- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited 
security protocols --- from the other dignitaries, who had traveled together by 
bus from the lyse Palace.

   As Trump's motorcade was making its solo trip down the grand Champs-lyses, 
which was closed to traffic, at least one topless woman breached tight 
security, running into the street and shouting "fake peace maker" as the cars 
passed. She had slogans, including the words "Fake" and "Peace," written on her 
chest.

   Police tackled the woman and the motorcade continued uninterrupted. The 
feminist activist group Femen later claimed responsibility.

   Also traveling on his own was Russian President Vladimir Putin, who shook 
Trump's hand, flashed him a thumbs-up sign and patted Trump's arm as he 
arrived. Trump responded with a wide smile.

   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. A Kremlin official said 
later that U.S. and Russian officials decided to drop plans for the Paris 
meeting after French officials objected.

   Trump, who ran on an "America First" platform, has jarred European allies 
with his actions. He has slapped tariffs on the European Union, pulled the U.S. 
out of the landmark Paris Climate Accord and the Iran nuclear deal and 
suggested he might be willing to pull the U.S. out of NATO if member counties 
don't significantly boost their defense spending.  Trump's eagerness to get 
along with the Russian leader --- in spite of Russia's meddling in the 2016 
election and numerous other aggressive moves in recent years --- has alarmed 
those who view Russia as a growing threat.

   Trump has also repeatedly branded himself a "nationalist," despite criticism 
from some that the term has negative connotations. At a news conference last 
week, Trump defended his use of the phrase. "You know what the word is?  I love 
our country," he said, adding: "You have nationalists.  You have globalists.  I 
also love the world and I don't mind helping the world, but we have to 
straighten out our country first.  We have a lot of problems."

   But Trump did not broach the divide as he paid tribute Sunday to U.S. and 
allied soldiers killed in World War I during "a horrible, horrible war" that 
marked America's emergence as a world power.

   "We are gathered together at this hallowed resting place to pay tribute to 
the brave Americans who gave their last breath in that mighty struggle," Trump 
said at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in the suburbs of Paris, 
where more than 1,500 Americans who died in the war are buried.

   "It is our duty to preserve the civilization they defended and to protect 
the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago," he said 
after spending a moment, standing alone amid the cemetery's white crosses, 
holding a black umbrella.

   The Veterans Day speech came a day after Trump was criticized for failing to 
visit a different American cemetery about 60 miles (100 kilometers) outside of 
Paris on Saturday because rain grounded the helicopter he had planned to take. 
A handful of senior administration officials, including White House Chief of 
Staff John Kelly, went in the president's place, while Trump remained behind at 
the ambassador's residence with no alternate schedule for hours.

   Trump delivered the speech as other leaders were gathered for the inaugural 
Paris Peace Forum, which aims to revive collective governance and international 
cooperation to tackle global challenges. Afterward he headed back to Washington.

   France was the epicenter of World War I, the first global conflict. Its role 
as host of the main international commemoration highlighted the point that the 
world mustn't stumble into war again, as it did so quickly and catastrophically 
with World War II.


(KA)

 
 
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