Often noted for her caution, Angela Merkel has taken a couple of big gambles with today’s nervously watched G20 meeting.
By staging the talks in Hamburg – a historic port trading city that is also home to many far-left radicals – she wants to show those autocratic leaders among her guests that it is possible to be open to the world and even dissent while remaining strong. That could backfire if the violence that accompanied anti-capitalism protests overnight gets worse in coming days.
Merkel’s camp have also deliberately sought to highlight Donald Trump’s isolation on climate change with a draft summit communique that makes his opposition to the Paris Agreement stand out like a sore thumb: This is essentially a G19 joint declaration rather than a G20 one. For that to work, all leaders except Trump have to get behind it – and as things stand, Saudi Arabia and possibly others are holding out.