President Trump’s performance at this year’s G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany was certainly a win for him and he did a much more superior job representing America’s interests than the previous administration did for the past eight years.
Often times, pundits erroneously claim that “America First” hurts the international community and represents an American withdrawal into isolationism. But perhaps those pundits have forgotten than the world is always a safer place when America takes the wheel. American leadership is a catalyst for democracy and stability. And the past eight years of President Obama have not been years of American leadership. Engaging the international community and cooperating with them doesn’t not automatically qualify as American leadership and in the past administration’s case, they often gave in to other global forces and hesitated to push America’s interests, often resorting to apology tours instead.
Trump’s “America First” strategy isn’t just about increasing our own national security and bringing back jobs. It is also about restoring America leadership and reasserting our own interests across the globe like promoting democratic regimes while terminating oppressive ones, eliminating organized crime, fighting terrorism and extremism in all its forms, and promoting a stable world economy. And that is exactly what President Trump did at the G20 Summit this year.
President Trump worked with the UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May to get the groundwork laid for a special UK-US trade deal while also holding productive meetings with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on proposals to renegotiate NAFTA. President Trump was also assertive too, signifying he wouldn’t be a passive player in the international arena and should be praised for how he handled President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Putin is figure who has probably given Trump the most trouble out of any world leader and Trump originally faced fire early in the campaign for praising Putin.
It is worth nothing however that even in his original remarks about Putin, Trump wouldn’t guarantee they would get along and said that depended on how they interacted. And sure enough, Trump’s presidency has not exactly marked a radical turning point for US-Russian relations which have remained continually tense. During their meeting at the G20 Summit, Trump and Putin both made comforting assurances that they would work out a ceasefire in Syria. However, Trump did not mindlessly praise Putin as his detractors would’ve have hoped for, but rather he held firm.
Before even meeting Putin, Trump openly criticized Russia’s involvement in Syria and Ukraine during a speech in Warsaw. And during their meeting at the G20 Summit, Trump was reported to have repeatedly brought up the issue of Russian hacking in the 2016 Presidential election and tried to get a response from Putin who continued to deny any Russian involvement. Trump should most certainly seek to get along with Putin, but he must be ready to hold him accountable when necessary.
Lastly, Trump’s biggest victory at the G20 Summit was his firm position on climate change. From the very beginning, the summit’s German hosts made it clear that the topic would be climate change and it is most certain that was yet another attempt by Western leaders to convince Trump into changing his mind on the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. And we can only guess that behind the scenes, many of the dignitaries there tried their magic on Trump. Yet despite this peer pressure, he remained resilient and his firmness resulted in a specific note being placed in the summit’s concluding publication that stated the Americans wouldn’t be participating in the Paris agreement.
Some have characterized this as a defeat but for Trump, it was a victory as it showed America was intent on setting its own agenda, meaning Europe has to work with America and not the other way around.
Charting his own position on climate change and holding his own among the world’s most powerful men and women, Trump truly has done us all proud and has clearly shown that America is a force to be reckoned with.
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