It has become clear where Trump’s policies are taking us – or as clear as one can be when it comes to interpreting Trump policy. Trump is breaking the structures and policy frameworks of America’s existing domestic and foreign policies. The question is less whether he can accomplish some measure of this, then what will it take future US leaders, assuming they are willing, to rebuild the institutions and policies that have been constructed over the past seven decades. As Tom Friedman of the NYT recently declared:
Moreover, when you break big systems, which, albeit imperfectly, have stabilized regions, environments or industries for decades, it can be very difficult to restore them.
The litany of destruction by this President is now all too familiar. In his first day in office after his inaugurated, Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He now appears to be targeting for destruction the NAFTA before the rather hapless Mexican and Canadian leaders. And the South Korea-US free trade agreement appears to be next for the chopping bloc, notwithstanding the need it would seem to maintain close alliance support in the face of the North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions and US efforts to force DPRK denuclearization.
The recent Hamburg G20 Summit was yet another setting where all eyes were on Trump. And in contrast to recent Summits, journalists, especially American journalists, had all eyes focused laser-like on the German Summit and in particular on the first public meeting of President Trump and Russia’s President Putin. It was all great spectacle!
Fortunately, I had the good luck to have the opportunity to sit down with with Janice Stein, the founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs to assess the liberal international order following the Hamburg G20 Summit. Janice and I had the chance to examine Trump’s actions: to evaluate the impact on allies and adversaries, Trump policy in the Middle East, North Korea and of course Trump’s behavior with Putin.
Come and listen to this Global Summitry podcast with Janice Stein, Episode 13, in the continuing series on ‘Shaking the Global Order: American Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump.’
At Oxford’s, Global Summitry: Politics, Economics and Law in International Governance, I was lucky enough to sit down with David Victor to talk about climate change. David is a professor of international relations at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the director of the School’s Laboratory on International Law and Regulation. He has been a contributor to the UNFCCC’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He is one of the leading political scientists examining the consequences of climate change on global politics.
This interview with David examines the complicated requirements for the transition to a low carbon economy. David discusses questions of fossil fuel pricing, the role of coal and carbon capture and storage (CCS), and the impact of innovation on the road to deep decarbonization, the adequacy of today’s electric grids and the consequences of the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord.
The Global Summitry’s podcast is Episode 12 in the podcast series: “Climate Change Policy in the Aftermath of the Paris Accord”. It can be found at Oxford’s, Global Summitry and also at iTunes and Soundcloud.
Image Credit: un.
I suspect we’ll hear, once the dust settles a little on the chaos of the G20 Hamburg Summit, a litany of allegations that the Hamburg Summit reveals the irrelevance of the G20 in the Age of Trump. Au contraire my ‘ill-observant friends’.That is certainly not the conclusion one should draw from this most recent G20 Summit, even in the ‘Age of Trump’.
There is likely to be varying views of the progress arising from the Hamburg Summit. Our colleague Jonathan Luckhurst at Rising Powers in Global Governance posted a blog titled, “Hamburg G20 Summit Reaffirms Decentralizing Global Authority”.
So at Oxford’s Global Summitry podcasts, we’ve begun a new series – this on the Paris climate change accord. The podcast series ‘Climate Change Policy in the Aftermath of the Paris Accord’ begins with an interview with Thomas Hale, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. Tom has been at the forefront of efforts to understand climate change policy and indeed other critical transnational policy challenges. The podcast interview explores the nature of the Accord, why this negotiation succeeded after so many years of fruitless effort to reach a climate change agreement. Tom also reflects on the decision of President Trump to withdraw the United States from the Agreement.
Give it a listen. There will be others soon. And let us know what you think.
Image Credit: carbonbrief.org
Here at Rising BRICSAM for some time now we’ve been concerned with Global Summitry, and summitry more generally. While Rising BRICSAM was born some years ago concerned with the emergence of new energetic emerging market actors – the BRICs, then the BRICS, and more – Rising BRICSAM has remained focused on all the ‘Influentials’ in global governance. As part of that focus we have sought to describe, examine and evaluate the effectiveness of the variety of states, institutions and now non-state actors (NSAs) that form the architecture of global order governance.
Under the umbrella of the Global Summitry Project (GSP) we have over the years launched a number of initiatives: the Global Summitry Reports (GSRs), Spotlight, China Perspectives and our most ambitious project the Oxford University Press journal, Global Summitry: Politics, Economics and Law in International Governance.
The Global Summitry Archive
And it is with great pleasure now that GSP announces the launch of the Global Summitry Archive (the Archive). This Archive aims to collect, preserve and make publicly available all information and the websites related to global summits.
We are beginning to understand the consequences of an ‘America First’ leadership of the Global Order. And to just about any observer of it, it isn’t pretty. As we wait here today for President Trump’s announcement on the Paris Accord – and whether he pulls the United States officially out or not –the US is surely out at least for the next four years.
The retreat of US leadership from the Liberal international order continues. Maybe the most startling recent statement actually comes from two Trump officials. In an opinion piece in WSJ assessing the success of Trump’s first overseas trip to the Middle East, to NATO and to the G7 in Italy, H.R. McMaster, the White House national security advisor and D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, described the America First view of the Global Order:
The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a “global community” but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage. We bring to this forum unmatched military, political, economic, cultural and moral strength. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.
It is evidently a result of the distemper of our immediate circumstances – brought on by President-Elect Donald Trump about to become President of the United States – that my colleagues are not unreasonably contemplating alternatives to the current Liberal Order. Being apocalyptic is in; optimism out. As my Cornell colleague and political economist friend, Jonathan Kirshner recently wrote in an article in the Los Angeles Review of Books:
And so the election of Trump will come to mark the end of the international order that was built to avoid repeating the catastrophes of the first half the twentieth century, and which did so successfully — horrors that we like to imagine we have outgrown. It will not serve us well.
We have lost, we are lost. Not an election, but a civilization. Where does that leave us? I think the metaphor is one of (political) resistance.
He wasn’t there. But his presence seemed nowhere, and everywhere, nonetheless. Just a month ago the presidency of the G20 passed from China to Germany in Berlin. And with the transfer Chancellor Angela Merkel identified her priorities for what is going to be a truncated German hosting of the G20. The presidency will end with the a Leaders Summit in Hamburg on July 7th-8th. Summarizing Merkel’s priorities my colleague Stewart Patrick at CFR suggested the following as her particular interests:
Chancellor Angela Merkel, this year’s host, has emerged as the world’s most important defender of globalization. She has chosen “shaping an interconnected world” as the theme of this year’s summit. Her priorities include fostering economic resilience, advancing sustainable development, empowering women, implementing the Paris climate agreement, and advancing peace and development in Africa.
Nova Délhi – Índia, 29/03/2012. Presidenta Dilma Rousseff posa para foto junto com os Chefes de Estado do BRICS. Foto: Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR.
[Editorial Note: This piece was originally posted at the RisingPowersProject at the inauguration of this new site.]
So the Hangzhou G20 Summit has come and gone and now the eighth BRICS leadership conference hosted again by India, but this year in Goa as opposed to the previous India BRICS Summit in New Delhi is just about upon us. This BRICS Leaders’ Summit will take place on October 15th and 16th.
So where are we in determining the the state of global order leadership and the Liberal Order that has been so prominent since the end of the Cold War? A sweep of editorials and reviews of China’s G20 in Hangzhou has been notably downbeat. At this site ‘Rising Powers in Global Governance’, my colleague, Jonathan Luckhurst described the Hangzhou reviews this way: “The Group of Twenty (G20) has received poor reviews in recent years, so expert reactions to the Hangzhou G20 Summit of September 4-5, 2016 were hardly surprising.”