The G-20 Summit at Baden-Baden seems to have been a victory for the Trump Administration early on. The whole argument going in was whether Trump and Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin were going to be able to convince our economic allies to do away with a very protectionist attitude when it comes to international trade.
And while the US team didn’t get everything they wanted in the two-day summit, such as an explicit statement in the communique that stated the G-20 would work at making sure “trade is fair”, it did impress the group to the point where they decided not to push protectionism any longer.
It may have had something to do with Donald Trump’s meeting with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel the day before the summit started. Trump told Merkel that the United States had been treated “very, very unfairly” when it came to trade agreements in the past, and that needed to change.
What we are seeing in this agreement is probably very telling as to what the Trump Administration is going to be doing on other fronts as well. The US didn’t hit a grand slam home run, but came away with a win. As Trump had mentioned on the campaign trail several times, and was evident in this negotiation, he looks at trying to take everything from the table at first, and when the other side balks, they begin the negotiations, and eventually get to what he feels is “the art of the deal”. It IS the negotiations that is Donald Trump’s strength, and always has been. And that was on display in Germany during the G-20.
Going forward, are we going to expect the same type of negotiations when it comes to other things that may not be done with a friendly crowd? Are we going to negotiate with the Russians, or the Iranians in the same manner? Are we going to negotiate our way into and out of problems in foreign policy with the same adept manner which was displayed here? Or, are we going to follow Trump’s predecessor who never heard the word “negotiation” and never did it. Basically Bobo Obama gave away the store, the candy, the lot it was on, and most of the street without asking for anything in return, so long as he could say to anyone that would listen that it was good for America. Obviously, in most foreign policy situations, not only did America not believe it, the world didn’t believe it either.
Whether or not Donald Trump will be able to be as successful in negotiating foreign treaties and trade deals internationally as he was real estate deals in New York, Nevada, and Florida remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure…he’s off to a better start than the guy he replaced!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!