The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit extended.

Apart from the routine anti-capitalist protests that events like World Economic Forum, G20 and G7 Summits see, the G20 Summit at Hamburg is also going to be stormy because of two factors – North Korea and US President Donald Trump.

North Korea’s first ICBM test that was surprising successful, giving it the capacity to launch nuclear powered missile on the American mainland, has left the major world powers divided. A Russia-China joint statement was soft when it put the onus of North Korea’s missile launch on annual US-South Korea military drills in the region and deployment of the US anti-ballistic missile defence system THAAD in South Korea.

Trump who had said earlier he would not allow North Korea to have an ICBM, has reacted strongly saying US is drawing plans for its “pretty severe” response. The US, with South Korea, held military drill in response to North Korea’s ICBM and the US allies held an emergency UN Security Council meeting where US’ UN Ambassador Nikki Haley asserted that the US could use “considerable military forces” if situation demanded.

The G20 Summit leaders are meeting in Hamburg against this backdrop where Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, all primary stakeholders in the North Korean crisis, will see face to face each other and the issue will certainly dominate the talks.

The other big issue is climate change that is expected further eclipse the traditional G20 agenda, which is essentially financial and economic in nature and aims to bring social change through implementation of economic policies, i.e., achieving balanced economic growth for a resilient global financial system to take on issues like social empowerment, healthcare, corruption, employment, climate, infrastructure, along with the recent addition of combating terror financing and spread of digital technology.

The 43rd G7 Summit held in Italy on May 26-27 had seen fireworks when the group of the world’s most industrialize nations, i.e., US, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, France and Italy, had become a virtual 6+1 with Donald Trump pitted against its other six members on his non-committal stand on climate change and the global Paris Climate Accord of 2015 that aims to cut down carbon emission levels to handle global warming.

The final G7 Communiqué after the Summit put the blame squarely on Trump with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying bluntly that Trump had already made up his mind to withdraw from the Paris Accord. And within a week, Trump, a harsh critic of the Paris Accord who used to term global warming a hoax during the campaign days, pulled the US out of global deal on June 1 for which he got global condemnation with countries rallying in favour of and reiterating their commitment to the Paris Accord.

The Presidency of G20, the group of the world’s 19 largest economies and the European Union, keeps on rotating and is currently with Germany which is hosting the 12th G20 Summit of the heads of states and governments in Hamburg. The G20 convention says the agenda of any G20 Summit is laid by the host country and discussions follow the theme accordingly.

And since Angela Merkel has made it clear that climate change discussions will be central to the Hamburg G20 Summit, it will be interesting to see how Trump and the American delegation manage the appearance of their isolationist instance here.



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

First it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who gave indications that all was not well between Germany and its traditional allies Britain and America. She slammed the two countries saying Germany could no longer trust its “traditional allies”. According to a report in The Guardian, while speaking at an election rally in Munich, German Chancellor said “the times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over”. Elections in Germany are due in September 2017.

The recently concluded NATO and G7 Summits between the world’s most industrialized nations saw differences between the world’s most powerful and influential leaders coming out in open. The Guardian described the summits as “bruising meetings” while The Telegraph wrote that the impression after the G7 Summit was, “that, for the first time in decades, more divides industrialised Western powers than unites them”. Without naming Trump, Merkel described the Sicily G7 Summit as “six against one” saying as “the result of the talks was very difficult, if not to say very unsatisfactory”, The Guardian report said.

But Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel didn’t mince his words while taking on Trump. Following Merkel’s harsh words, he blamed Trump for “weakening the west”. “The short-sighted policies of the American government stand against the interests of the European Union (EU). The West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker”, a CNN report quoted him saying. And the charge of “standing against the interests of the European Union” is not baseless. Donald Trump has been vocally anti-EU. Trump has also termed ‘Brexit a great development for the UK’.

How Donald Trump is becoming a controversial figure in Germany also becomes clear from the reaction of Martin Schulz, Merkel’s main political rival and a former president of the European Parliament. According to a report in The Hill, Schulz has slammed Trump, “The chancellor represent all of us at summits like these. And I reject with outrage the way this man takes it upon himself to treat the head of our country’s government. That is unacceptable.”

This was enough for Trump to react it seems. And he expressed his displeasure and anger through a tweet again reminding Germany of the “massive trade deficit” that the country has with the US and its “far less” NATO contribution than required and added that he was going to change it.

On May 25, Donald Trump had charged Germans for cornering business and jobs in the US. While blasting Germans, Trump had said, “The Germans are bad, very bad. See the millions of cars they are selling to the U.S. Terrible. We will stop this.” In response to Trump’s criticism, Sigmar Gabriel had quipped that the US automakers needed to come up with better cars. He termed products of American automakers “worse, weaker and more expensive”, an Associated Press report said.

And during the G7 Summit also, he behaved like he was acting unilaterally. While six G7 members, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada reiterated their commitment for the 2015 Paris climate deal, Trump remained non-committal saying he needed more time to think over it. Merkel was blunt in her criticism over Trump’s stand saying the developments say the US will not stay with the climate deal.

Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President. And according to a Daily Mail report, Trump has “made up his mind to withdraw US from Paris climate deal”. The G7 Summit said it would fight against protectionism while protectionism has been a cornerstone of Trump administration.