Image The G20 Summit, testing America's relevance in a Trump world

The G20 Summit, testing America’s relevance in a Trump world

Op-Ed: The G20 Summit is a week of the New World Order on display.

The G20 Summit is in full swing in Hamburg, with the world’s political heavyweights in attendance.

G20 2017, Hamburg, Germany – July 07: Front row includes: French president Emmanuel Macron, U.S president Donald Trump, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese president Xi Jinping, Russian president Vladimir Putin, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Stefan Rousseau – WPA Pool)

But while these top level talks are ongoing, pseudo left wing thugs are torching cars and looting, for their personal enjoyment and gain. Certainly the majority of protestors will be demonstrating in a suitable and dignified manner, but alas the media will focus on the minority that is doing anything but being dignified. Already more than 100 police officers have been injured, and as of this writing property damage is estimated to be just short of a million euros.

Image protesters G20
Protesters clash with riot police during at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany (AP)

The world’s leaders have gathered to discuss, and attempt to find resolutions to geo-political strategic level problems. But the one person whose name is on everyone’s lips will not be in attendance, Kim Jong-Un of North Korea. Just days before the G20 gathering, North Korea tested its latest, and as of yet only successful, configuration of an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) – thus raising its threat profile from a relatively intense regional one to one that also threatens the US, China, and Russia. This is one of the prime topics that will be discussed during the world leader summit in Hamburg.

Some will say that the Trump administration is using the North Korean ICBM test launch to sabre rattle, to commit to that age old tradition of fearmongering. The reality is however, that objectively the ICBM could have reached Alaska if it had been set on a different course during the 37 minutes it was traversing the air. This fact is a true game changer.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at DPRK missile test

It is also, objectively, true that it remains unclear if North Korea has the capability, today to actually configure a suitable nuclear or chemical payload for its ICBM. If it does not have that capability today, it will certainly soon have it. The actual construction of a functional ICBM design has been North Korea’s primary stumbling block until now.

All attending individuals at G20 are concerned over this development. There is no one they would want to have nuclear weapons less than Kim Jong-Un, with the possible exception of Islamic State leader al Baghdadi. Particularly not when combined with a functioning intercontinental delivery system.

This G20 Summit could potentially be the summit to hail in the new reign of China.

In the past, it has been the US allied nations of Japan and South Korea that have been most exposed. Neither country is, however, turning towards the US to help them deal with the developing North Korean threat this time. Instead they’ve turned towards the regional superpowers, China and Russia. Russian President, Vladimir Putin and Chinese President, Xi Jinping met before the G20 summit in Moscow and discussed the situation. As a result of this meeting, the two have presented their own approach to de-escalate the North Korean situation.

The proposed plan is that South Korea and the US halt joint exercises, in exchange for North Korea officially closing down its nuclear armament project. A plan that South Korea, which has in recent years suffered through several civil government disruptions, is said to be in support of, but that the US is rejecting. It remains unclear why the North Korean leadership would accept the proposal anyway, especially with the nation being so close to gaining the status of a nuclear weapon equipped regional power.

That was likely never the intent behind the Russian-Chinese proposal at any rate. Rather the plan was put forward to control the perception of the two giants, which are quickly joining in with one another in various endeavors across the globe, making them appear as the only legitimate leadership options on the international stage. Not an immensely difficult act, considering that the go-to superpower, the United States of America, is currently ruled by a man who appears to prioritize bickering and tweeting over statesmanship.

Last week’s meeting between Putin and Xi was the third one this year and there is no doubt, it won’t be their last. The two countries are already perceived by a number of Western observers to be the controlling, and uniting entity inside the United Nations Security Council. The Security Council is currently headed by current German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has vocally and explicitly expressed her dismay over President Trump’s lack of tact and uncontrolled manner. This amidst a near universal move by the large German banks to strengthen their ties to China through investments and launch of facilities aimed towards the Chinese government and its consumers.

To put it bluntly, with the dynamics on display at the G20 summit it appears that Xi and Putin are the ones to play the lead roles throughout the week. Whereas Trump, with his America First rhetoric, and the unwelcome protectionism of failing American industries (steel), will have to settle for a b-role.

G20 Merkel Putin Jinping
G20 2017, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)

The G20 Summit also makes it clear that the shift in power balance towards China, seen since Donald Trump’s election, is likely to remain for some time. The shift away from the US can be seen as an attempt by the centrist European and surging Russian powers to safeguard themselves. Europe, Africa, and Russia are all working hard at strengthening their ties with China, whereas the US is doing anything but.

This G20 Summit could potentially be the summit to hail in the new reign of China.

John Sjoholm, Lima Charlie News

[Edited by May Hamza]

John Sjoholm is Lima Charlie’s Middle East Bureau Chief, and founder of the consulting organization Erudite Group. He is a seasoned Middle East connoisseur, with a past in the Swedish Army’s Special Forces branch and the Security Contracting industry. He studied religion and languages in Sana’a, Yemen, and Cairo, Egypt. He lived and operated extensively in the Middle East between 2005-2012 as part of regional stabilizing projects, and currently resides in Jordan. Follow John on Twitter @JohnSjoholmLC

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