World leaders continue to find Trump difficult to work with at G-20 meeting
This weekend, the G-20 met in Argentina, and we were once again able to see how the world has reacted to President Donald Trump. He used his usual tact and skill to “carefully” maneuver delicate trade and finance agreements on a global scale, and world leaders were quite receptive to him. They’ve decided that the best way to get the President of the United States to do what you’d like is to get him to believe that it is what he wanted all along.
The G-20 is comprised of 20 core members and “guest” countries of those members. Each country’s head of state is there along with the finance minister to represent the interests of their state. The G-20 works on trade relations, finance issues and investment on a global scale. This past forum certainly has been complicated by President Trump’s various trade wars as well as his overall belief that multilateral trading systems allow other states to take advantage of the U.S.
His overall unwillingness to work on these trade agreements and with other G-20 members seemed to pose an almost insignificant challenge. Other world leaders simply wrote him out. When Trump made an issue of the U.S. leaving the Paris climate change accords, the other 19 members wrote him out. They used the document to reaffirm their commitment to combating global warming and then used a separate paragraph to showcase Trump’s singular opposition.
“The United States reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and affirms its strong commitment to economic growth and energy access and security, utilizing all energy sources and technologies, while protecting the environment,” they wrote.
The White House and Donald Trump were thrilled. In their eyes they managed to not have to commit to combating climate change, were able to stand their ground and were able to have their own section specifically spelling out their side of the story.
That’s not the only victory the Trump administration claimed. The G-20 adopted a provision in the communique that calls for reform of the WTO. This provision was lauded by both the EU and the Trump administration.
“Today is a great day for the United States. The G-20 just adopted a communique by consensus,” a senior White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s a consensus that meets many of the U.S.’s biggest objectives. For the first time ever, the G-20 recognized the WTO is currently falling short of meeting its objectives and that it’s in need of reform.”
While the Trump administration wanted reform for those reasons, the EU had much different expectations of the reform. They believe that a more robust WTO will force Trump to play by the rules.
So basically, Trump and his administration read the communique different than every other leader there. This boded well overall for the G-20, but what does it mean for the U.S.? When our President needs to be deceived in order to actually agree on anything, what does this mean for us?
For some, his trade restrictions and sanctions spell out a loss of income. U.S. soybean farmers, in particular, have been struggling in the wake of Trump’s tariffs on China. While some manufacturing jobs may be saved for the time being by Trump, these jobs are hardly sustainable and may only exist as long as his tariffs do. This isn’t saying I want people to lose their jobs, more that I think the way Trump is going about this is only going to lead to more hurt down the road.
For all, Trump’s complete lack of understanding and ability have made the United States somewhat of an embarrassment on the world stage. Instead of being taken seriously as a superpower, the U.S. gets treated like some sort of overgrown toddler. Too big and time-consuming to ignore, but definitely not listened to.
Other G-20 leaders were just happy they were able to get their proposals passed without having to argue over it for long periods of time. I can’t say I blame them for that. When the whole G-20 and their guests agree on a proposal except for one member, then I can’t blame them for writing that state out or making them believe it is in their benefit. World leaders have shown that in order to be successful when dealing with Trump, it is easier to deceive or give in to him than to argue or compromise.
Sources: Politico “the world makes room for Trump”