The Art of Foreign Policy: Unpacking the G20, Germany 2017

Jul 24, 2017

Another week, another set of controversies in the Trump Administration. The week closed with the resignation of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the naming of a new communications director, and continued friction between the President and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

That all came on the heels of President Trump’s trip to Europe for the G20 Summit - a trip that dominated headlines. But it was the lack of dominance on the part of the U.S. that drove the media frenzy back home, a departure from previous summits where American presidents drove much of the discourse.

While that might sound like bad news, Lake Effect Foreign Policy Contributor, Art Cyr, says the waning influence of the U.S. might be good for international affairs overall.

"Given the fact that President Trump is unpredictable and has been critical of international organizations and cooperation, others loom larger and that's all to the good."

"Well, given the fact that President Trump is unpredictable and has been critical of international organizations and cooperation, others loom larger and that's all to the good," says Cyr. "I don't think it's good for anyone in human terms or in structural and policy terms, for one, enormous country to dominate everything in international affairs."

During the summit, President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at least twice (one initially undisclosed by The White House). The two leaders brokered a peace agreement in southwest Syria. Subsequently, the CIA ended a program providing material support to rebels in Syria.

Some considered the move a "win" for Russia, but Cyr believes the CIA was right to end the program, and contests the idea that this move will just benefit Russia. 

"The rebels were not a coherent or cohesive group. None of them - either ISIS or anti-ISIS - was committed to the kind of representative government that we support."

"The rebels were not a coherent or cohesive group," Cyr says. "None of them - either ISIS or anti-ISIS - was committed to the kind of representative government that we support. And I think basically we're making mischief when we arm hostile groups that aren't going to win, that don't share our values at all. So to me it makes sense," says Cyr. 

He adds, "There's not only U.S. and Russian aircraft in the vicinity, but also Turkish aircraft, Israeli aircraft - it's a recipe for accidental war and I think this will facilitate closer and more positive collaboration among the militaries involved."