International Affairs
July 17, 2017
Is the World Growing More Dangerous?

The United States faces dangerous challenges around the world. North Korea is inching closer to developing a nuclear weapon capable of striking the United States, and U.S. forces are engaged in complex conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan. China and Russia are seeking more-dominant roles in their regions and the world, and Europe faces a newly assertive Russia to the east, political strife within and uncertainty about America’s commitment to NATO. Terrorist attacks, including some linked to the Islamic State, continue to plague Europe as the jihadist group loses territory in Iraq and Syria. President Trump, who has made defeating ISIS a top priority, has alienated allies by criticizing free trade practices, withdrawing from the Paris climate accord and praising Russian President Vladimir Putin and other strongmen.

Demonstrators rally in London on March 25, 2017, against Britain’s planned exit from the European Union. (Getty Images/Kristian Buus)   Demonstrators rally in London on March 25, 2017, against Britain’s planned exit from the European Union. The so-called Brexit is scheduled to be completed in March 2019. (Getty Images/Kristian Buus)

In July, President Trump attended his first G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, involving the world’s leading economies. Climate change was the top agenda item for the summit’s host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but Trump skipped most of that discussion to meet privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election and other issues. 1

The summit took place about a month after Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, in which 195 countries have vowed to limit emissions of the greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Frustrated with Trump’s position, Merkel said after the summit that on climate policy, “Everyone was against the United States of America.” 2