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How President Trump's Actions At The G-7 Meeting Could Have Global Ramifications


President Trump has been steadily distancing the U.S. from some of its closest allies, ending international agreements and insulting leaders in Europe and North America. The latest move came this weekend at the G-7 meeting in Canada. Trump pulled the U.S. out of a joint communique at the last minute. Ian Bremmer runs the Eurasia Group, a consulting firm. And he told me Trump's moves reflected more than just his America First foreign policy.

IAN BREMMER: What we saw at the G-7 was actually stronger than that. That was, you know, kind of a willful desire to undermine relationships and tell these people that he does not really respect them as people. We certainly saw that with the suggestion that the Russians should be brought in. I mean, he knows it's not going to happen. That was just kind of a throwaway line that was meant to antagonize and show that you're not going to be able to manage me. I'm my own man. I'm going to do what I want. And certainly, the tweets directed at Justin Trudeau, showing up late, leaving early - I mean, if you were trying to calculate a way to upset America's closest allies and the multilateral institution that we created to facilitate our coordination in policymaking and strategy, Trump did a pretty good job on that front.

SHAPIRO: So some analysts have said this is reconfiguring the world order or ending the 20th century global power structure. Do you think that overstates it?

BREMMER: It does overstate it. The 20th century power structure is absolutely coming to an end. That was coming well before Trump. But what Trump is doing is he's speeding that process up. And he's doing it by undermining the alliances that should really be close, especially in the context of a world order that is much more dangerous, much more absent leadership.

SHAPIRO: How permanent is this? If a new president were to take office and say, sorry for the disruption, folks, we're going to put things back to the way they were - would that be doable?

BREMMER: Yes and no. The G-7 is not over just because Trump says he's not really interested, didn't want to go. He said that the relations with the G-7 allies are a 10. In reality, the relations are probably more like a five or six. The relations with Trump himself are a zero. And so a new president can rebuild the traditional relations with American allies. But what you can't do is rebuild the global order. And that's because soon-to-be the world's largest economy, China, is building an alternative. And they want to align other countries towards their standards, not American standards. And let's be very clear. China's the winner here. They're very pleased about the opportunities that Trump's America First policies provide them. And they're taking great advantage of it.

SHAPIRO: As founder and president of the Eurasia Group, you are what Trump supporters would dismissively call a globalist. And they argue that the old way of doing things didn't work and that the U.S. was taken advantage of, and it's better to try a new path. How do you respond to that?

BREMMER: I think there's a lot of truth to it. Globalization has worked. I mean, you've had enormous amounts of wealth for the United States and the - as an economy, as well as creating a true global middle class. But the fact is that in the developed world, in the United States and the U.K., continental Europe, even Canada, you see that a majority of the population does not feel like they benefited. That's why you saw Brexit. It's why Merkel did so poorly in the last elections, why Macron almost didn't make it into the second round in France, why the Italians now have by far their most anti-establishment government since World War II and, of course, why Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump did so well a couple years ago.

SHAPIRO: Ian Bremmer is founder and president of the Eurasia Group. Thanks for joining us once again.

BREMMER: My pleasure, Ari. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.