Chris Uhlmann has been in Hamburg, Germany, covering the Group of 20 nations conference over the past few days. Here’s a quote from a report he did.
“ What we already knew is that the President of the United States has a particular skill set, that he’s identified an illness in Western democracies, but he has no cure for it and seems intent on exploiting it – and we’ve also learned that he has no desire and no capacity to lead the world.”
“ The G20 became the G19 as it ended. On the Paris climate accords, the US was left isolated and friendless. But given that was always going to happen, a deft president would have found an issue which he could rally most of the leaders. And he had the perfect one – North Korea’s missile tests. So where was the G20 statement condemning North Korea which would have put pressure on China and Russia? Other leaders expected it. They were prepared to back it, but it never came.
“ There’s a tendency among some hopeful souls to confuse the speeches written for Trump with the thoughts of the man himself – he did make some interesting, scripted observations in Poland about defending the values of the West. And he’s in a unique position. He’s the one man who has something to do something about it.
“ But it’s the unscripted Trump that’s real: a man who barks out vile in a 140 characters, who wastes his precious days as president at war with the West institutions like the judiciary, independent agencies and the free press. He was an uneasy, lonely, awkward figure at this gathering and you got the strong sense some of the leaders are trying to find the best way to work around him.
“ Donald Trump’s a man that craves power because it burnishes his celebrity. To be constantly talking and talked about is all that really matters and there is no value placed on the meaning of words, so what’s said one day can be discarded the next.
“ So what did we learn? We learn that Donald Trump has pressed fast forward on the decline of the United States as a global leader. He managed to isolate his nation, to confuse and alienate his allies and to diminish America – he will cede that power to China and Russia. Two authoritarian states that will forge a very different set of rules for the 21st century. Some will cheer the decline of America. But I think we’ll miss it when it’s gone. And that’s the biggest threat to the values of the West which he claims to hold so dear. ”