Prostest before G20 in Hamburg Getty Images

The G20’s Misguided Globalism

The failure to maintain open trade policies is not really a failure of global cooperation, but rather a failure of domestic policy. On trade and many other issues, the G20 and other international fora should limit the scope of collective action to policies aimed at supplying genuine public goods.

HAMBURG – This year’s G20 summit in Hamburg promises to be among the more interesting in recent years. For one thing, US President Donald Trump, who treats multilateralism and international cooperation with cherished disdain, will be attending for the first time.

Trump comes to Hamburg having already walked out of one of the key commitments from last year’s summit – to join the Paris climate agreement “as soon as possible.” And he will not have much enthusiasm for these meetings’ habitual exhortation to foreswear protectionism or provide greater assistance to refugees.

Moreover, the Hamburg summit follows two G20 annual meetings in authoritarian countries – Turkey in 2015 and China in 2016 – where protests could be stifled. This year’s summit promises to be an occasion for raucous street demonstrations, directed against not only Trump, but also Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

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