On Friday, the day the summit kicked off, some protesters torched cars and trucks, looted retail stores, lit off firecrackers and blasted music from Jimi Hendrix in a bid to drown out the classical music playing at a concert hall where world leaders met. (1.1)>>Thousands are protestingcapitalism, climate polices and globalisation, among other issues. When the last G20 summit took place in Hangzhou, a city with more than six million inhabitants, China found a brilliant solution to this problem. Weeks in advance of the 2016 G20 summit, where China announced its decision to ratify the Paris Agreement, the Chinese government declared a week-long holiday and encouraged citizens to leave the city. The current Hamburg incarnation ofG20is very different to the two most significant G20s so far – in 1999, which was an attempt to create global governance after the Asian crisis, and in 2008, in response to the financial crash. While the “traditional” G20 was unified in either promoting or implementing the so-calledWashington Consensus, it seems the new G20 can only agree to disagree. (1.2)>>President Donald Trump is set for a day of tense talks with G20 leaders as he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to reports, the pair "shook hands and said they'll see each other soon" as they prepare for a head-to-head on Friday afternoon. Mr Trump will sit down with Mr Putin for the first time on Friday afternoon, an encounter that will be intensely scrutinized following allegations by US intelligence agencies that Moscow meddled in the US election to help Trump win. Both the United States and Russia can agree.And the opportunity of the G20 summit in Hamburg this weekend is ideal. It allows anything from a full, formal sit-down meeting to a staged informal encounter in which both sides invest minimal political capital. But don't get your hopes up.In a rational world, the two leaders' agenda would be packed with must-solve problems. American and Russian forces, and their local proxies, are perilously close to clashes in Syria. Terrifying near-misses have become almost routine over the Baltic Sea. A huge Russian military exercise,Zapad-17, looms in September, causing jitters in NATO's front-line states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The core G20 message was thattrade must be usedto boost economies, hardly an earth-shattering insight from a meeting of global leaders, surrounded by finance and trade ministers.Much of the real activity was what the diplomacy 'business' calls 'bilaterals', a sort of diplomatic speed-dating. There were inconclusive side-discussions between (2)>>Russia and the US on Syria [a deal was later finalized in Geneva]. Canada was reportedly busy lobbying individual European leaders (why so many European leaders at the G20?) to try to rescue a rather shaky CETA. UK PM Terese May was busy trying to explain what 'Brexit' might mean for already stagnating global trade as well as insecure EU citizens living in the UK. German Chancellor Angela Merkel closedthe G20 summit in Hamburg with a rebuke to President Donald Trump's stance on climate change, but the group of the world's economic leaders appeared to make a concession on his protectionist trade policies.Officials had been at an impasse over an increasingly isolationist United States and Trump's climate change and trade policies for most of the summit, and Merkel made it clear the United States had made talks difficult."Unfortunately -- and I deplore this -- the United States of America left the climate agreement, or rather announced their intention of doing this," Merkel said as she closed the summit and presented a G20 declaration.
NOTES AND COMMENTS: (1.1)>>Thousands are protestingcapitalism, climate polices and globalisation, among other issues. The right to protest is as valid as any other human right, almost certainly more valid than property rights. It deserves, accordingly, maximum respect by the police and other organs of state violence. Another issue that should be questioned regarding these unidentified "black bocs" is, protesters want to get their message out and many carry signs. Not one of those black bocs had a sign, message or purpose other than violence, and the only payoff for violence would be to discredit the protesters and turn the public against them.Protesters want and need the support of the public, as that is the only way to gain the change they desire, so it doesn't make any sense for the protesters to shoot themselves in the foot by causing violence and monetary loss to those whose very support they need.
(1)>>President Donald Trump . As the latest Pew Research opinion poll shows, more people around the world have confidence in Putin than Trump. When the American leader meets his G20 colleagues, they will treat him with wary pity, along with Britain's Theresa May, who represents another country that is hurling itself over a geopolitical cliff.Mr Trump what was most memorable for him, he too would say the Putin meeting - but also his day in Warsaw, when thousands of Poles chanted his name and "U-S-A". Remember the crowd does for him what a battery station does for a Tesla car.His speech on the challenges facing the West was well crafted with an argument to make. And he just sounded - well - more committed to the idea of the "West" than he did when he was last in Europe at the Nato summit and the G7. (2)>>Russia and the US on Syria [a deal was later finalized in Geneva]. On Friday, the presidents of the United States and Russia met in Germany for over two hours behind closed doors to gab about their crushes, Syria, Ukraine, and Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Heading into the meeting, it was unclear whether Trump would bring up Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee, but afterwardboth Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (who were both in the room) confirmed that the two leaders did indeed discuss it.Tillerson spun the meeting as if Trump had been tough on Putin,sayingthat “the president pressed President Putin, on more than one occasion, regarding Russian involvement.” But Tillersonalso said that“there was a very clear positive chemistry between the two” and that there “was not a lot of re-litigating things from the past.” Hmm. If that weren’t bad enough, according to Lavrov—whose account has beenpartially disputedby the White House—Trump basically assured Putin that the accusations of election-meddling were just bitter attacks from the losers and haters.