After they wooed him in Taormina, Italy, in 2017, Donald Trump snubbed world leaders by dropping out of the Paris climate accords.
When they reached consensus in Charlevoix, Canada, a year later, Mr Trump abruptly refused to sign their joint statement and escalated his trade war with personal insults.
And as the Nato allies gathered in Brussels last summer, summit organisers avoided another Trumpian eruption only by prewriting the meeting’s formal policy agreement and keeping it from the American president until the last minute.
Now, as French president Emmanuel Macron prepares to host Mr Trump and leaders from some of the world’s leading democracies in the south of France this weekend, the United States’ closest allies have all but given up on the idea that the Group of 7 summit will produce the kind of unity and consensus about global issues that has been its hallmark for more than four decades.
“I know the points of disagreement with the US,” Mr Macron lamented to reporters earlier this week as he acknowledged that the group would not even try to issue its usual joint statement, known as a communiqué. “It’s pointless.”
With the world facing ominous signs of a global economic slowdown and vexing political turbulence in hot spots around the world, Mr Trump will arrive on Saturday morning in Biarritz, France, with a blunt tariff club in his hand. And that poses a challenge to America’s trading partners.
“Their operating strategy is damage limitation,” said Charles Kupchan, a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University who served on the National Security Council staff during President Barack Obama’s tenure.
“The first G7. The second G7. The Nato summit. Trump has basically blown them all up. I’m guessing that Macron is hoping to get out of Biarritz with no blood on the floor.”
He added: “If you go in with low expectations and no communiqué, that lowers the risk of a fiasco. You have a nice chat, you have some good wine, and you go home.”
The leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States will meet at the beachfront resort town amid escalating alarms over the health of the global economy, which is slumping under the weight of Mr Trump’s multi-front trade wars.