At G20, Trump was no leader – a sad little puppet on the sidelines
This past weekends’ G20 Summit held in Hamburg, Germany, has yielded one incontrovertible result — the United States, under the leadership of its new President, Donald Trump, has all but abrogated its role as leader of the free world (whatever that is) and shut itself behind self-made walls of isolation and protectionism that will only speed the once-superpower’s decline as a world player, and see Donald Trump go down in history as the most foolish of Western leaders (right up there with Neville Chamberlain).
The annual G20 Summit was held in Hamburg, Germany, and hosted by one of the world’s most prominent leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who — among other issues she would deal with during the two-day Summit — had geared up to challenge US President Donald Trump on his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
While the topics covered at this year’s Summit were many and varied — as exemplified by the G20 Leaders Declaration published at the end of the Summit — and Donald Trump was repeatedly ostracized, either by his own making or by the moves of the other 19 leaders, it is becoming ever-clearer that the United States is no longer the country it once was.
The G20, at the moment, is very much a G19 — and it appears Donald Trump couldn’t care less.
In her closing speech to the Summit, Chancellor Merkel rebuked the United States’ insistence on challenging the global agreement on climate change, saying simply, “Unfortunately — and I deplore this — the United States of America left the climate agreement, or rather announced their intention of doing this.” She was nevertheless “delighted” that the other 19 countries “agreed that the Paris Agreement is irreversible” and that the “Agreement must now be implemented as swiftly as possible.”
The European Union published a press release on Monday that confirmed just how irrelevant the United States is becoming in global affairs. Entitled “G20 Summit confirms that the Paris Agreement is irreversible,” the press release highlights the European Commission explanation that “all G20 members including the US agree on the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, notably through clean and efficient energy systems.”
Trump’s one win: a shout-out to fossil fuels
This is arguably accurate, though it dismisses — rightly so, mind you — the bickering which led to the United States being allowed to include in the final Declaration its inclusion that “it will endeavour to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently” — an inclusion which was refused by everyone until the very last moments.
After that very blunt and out-of-place paragraph in the Declaration regarding the United States intentions, the Declaration unashamedly pits the remaining G19 against the United States:
“The Leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible.”
Further, despite fears that some countries might wobble on their commitment to their nationally-determined contributions, all other 19 countries committed to aiming to meet their original emissions targets.
“No strings on me”
Donald Trump, as ever completely ignorant or oblivious to the actual way of things, deemed the Summit a “wonderful success” — a statement which flies in the face of nearly every attending member and outsider watching.
Maybe most accurately — and not without a bit of national pride — I’ll finish this by including a summary by Australian veteran journalist Chris Uhlmann, whose widely-publicized “takedown” of Donald Trump’s irrelevance at the Summit went viral over the weekend, picked up and spread around by journalists, commentators, and a large percentage of Twitter — not, I think, because it was “brutal” and “scathing,” but because it was entirely accurate, and represented the views of many within and without the United States of America.
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 9, 2017
(Originally appeared at our sister-site, Cleantechnica.)