There’s no doubt that international relations are changing. One of the biggest reasons? The U.S., led by questionable moves from Donald Trump, is no longer the star of the global stage.
Following Trump’s recent actions at the G-20 summit, more people are asking what the world would look like without U.S. leadership.
It’s a challenging future and one that could change how the world operates.
Representatives from the G-20 recently met in Hamburg, Germany to discuss a wide array of global issues. Trump’s actions are the G-20 meetings were closely watched and scrutinized and were seen by many as awkward and isolating.
Trump has long held by his “America First” philosophy, shown by his recent departure from the Paris Climate Agreement and other controversial global moves. He was one of the only world leaders who didn’t wear the G-20 summit pin on his lapel, opting instead for an American flag pin.
The seemingly small wardrobe choice showcases much of Trump’s attitude towards global cooperation and his feelings that the U.S. should avoid getting entangled with foreign wars and trade deals.
At one point, he even stepped away for a meeting with an Indonesian leader and left his daughter Ivanka to sit in his place. Although Ivanka is an official presidential adviser, the move was seen by many as odd, as most other presidents would have a high-ranking official take their place.
The move was widely criticized in the news and on social media as Trump not taking the meetings seriously enough to put an elected official in his place.
Trump and Putin’s Visit
One of the most anticipated parts of the G-20 meetings was the visit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. According to most experts, Putin came out on top, showcasing Russia’s prominence and forcing the U.S. to cede some of its global power. Putin didn’t stand down during the meeting, denying that Russia influenced the U.S. election.
To many observers, Trump’s actions at the G-20 summit and with Putin in particular show his willingness to cede America’s power to China and Russia—both of which are authoritarian states with very different views for the future than America.
Instead of using the summit as a chance to take a strong stance against North Korea weapons testing and other issues, he instead let things pass quietly without asserting U.S. dominance. He had multiple opportunities to take a bolder stance and to get other countries to follow, but those opportunities were often wasted.
A Future without U.S. Leadership?
With the U.S. taking a backseat in many major global issues, it appears that the future could see a limited role in U.S. leadership. With China or Russia potentially stepping in to fill the void, the global tone could have a remarkable shift.
Trump has claimed on multiple occasions to hold Western ideals very dear, but he risks throwing those away if other countries take over. Russia is a player on the world stage largely because of Putin and the country’s large nuclear arsenal; if Trump allows Russia to take over its power, he is ceding responsibility to a small country with a much lower gross domestic product.
However, many countries are already starting to exclude the U.S. from negotiations, largely because they don’t want to deal with Trump. Other members of the G-20 have continued to work together to negotiate trade deals and rules relating to current issues, even if the U.S. isn’t nearly as involved as it has been in the past.
If the recent G-20 meetings are any indication, the global future could be very different from what we are used to. As the U.S. steps back and other countries step up, how the world operates could see some major changes in the not-so-distant future.