Thursday, July 20, 2017

On EU-US-China Dynamics: Who Plays What Game?

image from article
G20 summits are successful when leaders align on a single and clear message just like in 2009 when they united around the global financial crisis. In contrast, they fail when they cannot find a unified voice on the contemporary issues. This year’s summit was set up in a triangle of the United States’ Donald Trump, China’s Xi Jinping and Germany’s Angela Merkel. Just like expected, Donald Trump was left alone and defeated, while Xi Jinping emerged as a newly born progressive and climate-conscious internationalist. Angela Merkel retained its position of a clear-sighted umpire who will supervise the defeat of Donald Trump. However, this scenario draws on Western views and perspective and in reality ignores other major players – most importantly China itself but also Japan. ...

According to some commentators, Europe’s role as a balancing power between the United States and China is not what it seems to be simply because China is refusing to play that game. Chinese leaders are readily reaping the public diplomacy benefits of Western dissensions with Europe teaming up with China to emphasize Donald Trump’s poor manners. Yet, China will always put outcomes first especially to keep international trade free. The United States is, in contrast, losing its public diplomacy game with Europe and in international negotiations due to President Trump’s unpredictability and lack of a coherent design. ...

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