Trump leaves leaders fearing the future as G-20 summit closes

Trump leaves leaders fearing the future as G-20 summit closes

The Washington Post
Written

President Trump and other world leaders on Saturday emerged from two days of talks unable to resolve key differences on core issues like climate change and globalization, fueling worries that global summits may be ineffective in the Trump era.

The divisions at the G-20 summit were most bitter on climate change, where 19 leaders formed a unified front against Trump. But even in areas of nominal compromise like trade, top European leaders said they have little faith that an agreement forged today could hold tomorrow.

“Our world has never been so divided,” French President Emmanuel Macron said as the talks broke up. “Centripetal forces have never been so powerful. Our common goods have never been so threatened.”

Macron said world leaders found common ground on terrorism but were otherwise split on numerous important topics. He also said there were rising concerns about “authoritarian regimes, and even within the Western world, there are real divisions and uncertainties that didn’t exist just a few short years ago.”

“I will not concede anything in the direction of those who are pushing against multilateralism,” Macron said, without directly referring to Trump. “We need better coordination, more coordination. We need those organizations that were created out of the Second World War. Otherwise we will be moving back toward narrow-minded nationalism.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who hosted the summit in the port city of Hamburg, said there had been some areas of agreement. But she did little to hide her disappointment about U.S. actions on climate change.

“Wherever there is no consensus that can be achieved, disagreement has to be made clear,” Merkel said at the end of the summit. “Unfortunately, and I deplore this, the United States of America left the climate agreement.”

“I am gratified to note that the other 19 members of the G-20 feel the Paris agreement is irreversible,” Merkel said.

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