With Trump tension at G-7, there could start to be collateral damage: Former State Dept. official

Key Points
  • President Trump's call for Russia to be invited back to the G-7 meetings "basically erodes or implodes" the values-based order of the summit, says Heather Conley.
  • Law professor Joel Trachtman thinks right now it "looks more like G-6 plus the United States as kind of a rogue state."
'The U.S. looks like a rogue state,' professor says

President Donald Trump's call for Russia to be invited back to the meetings of global economic powers "basically erodes or implodes" the values-based order of the G-7 summit, former U.S. State Department official Heather Conley told CNBC on Friday.

Earlier in the day, as the president prepared to leave for the summit in Quebec City, he said, "They threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table."

Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, called the G-7 the "easiest" summit of world leaders because it is a "community of values-based like-minded countries."

"That's why Russia was ejected. You don't illegally annex, invade other territories," she told "Power Lunch."

Moscow was pushed out of the group of then G-8 nations after its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Joel Trachtman, a professor of international law at Tufts University's The Fletcher School, agrees.

He thinks Trump is giving Russian President Vladimir Putin what he wants in terms of trying to break up the G-7 "family."

While the U.S. has been the leader of the group, which also includes Canada, Japan, Britain, Italy, Germany and France, it "looks more like G-6 plus the United States as kind of a rogue state," Trachtman told "Power Lunch."

"It's a dysfunctional family, and it's good for Putin and bad for the United States and for the West."

On top of that there are tensions on the recent tariffs imposed by the U.S. on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

U.S. and Canadian tariffs hurt American consumers

Bruce Heyman, who served as U.S. ambassador to Canada under former President Barack Obama, called Trump's attitude with America's allies "suspect at best."

"The hostility on Twitter over the last 24 hours, the comments he's made before he arrived, were foreshadowing more challenging conversations that will take place between what would be the best friends and allies that we have," he told "Closing Bell."

Trump took jabs at Canada and France on Twitter leading up to the summit, including accusing them of levying "massive tariffs" and creating "non-monetary barriers" and saying Canada is "killing" U.S. agriculture.

Trump Trudeau tweet

Expectations for any breakthroughs at the two-day meeting are low. "It's highly unlikely there will be a final communique," a G-7 official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

All of this leaves the Group of Seven "not in great shape," said Conley. "That gives our adversaries a lot of room for maneuver. This is not a celebration."

The G-7 is "when we get things done and we help push our agenda. The fact that this is so tense and we're working at odds with each other really portends a negative trend in the next few weeks and months."

And in July, Trump is expected to head to Brussels for the NATO summit.

"What happens if we don't have a communique after a NATO summit? This starts to be collateral damage," Conley warned.

Some agreement was reached on Friday when the Group of Seven leaders said they would share information among themselves and work with internet service providers and social media companies to thwart foreign meddling in elections in their countries.

The draft summit commitment, seen by Reuters, also says the G-7 agreed to ensure high transparency of funding for political parties and all political advertising, especially during election campaigns.

— Reuters contributed to this report.