America, the New York Times groans (chortles?), was “ostracized” by the other G20 countries at the recently concluded meeting in Hamburg. And with Angela Merkel leading the band of ostracizers.
And on not one but three issues: immigration, climate change, and trade. These are all worth examining in turn.Let’s start with immigration. Led by Chancellor Merkel (and contrary to the wishes of many members of the European Union) Germany welcomed 1 million largely Muslim immigrants—many with no identification, some with forged passports, most in need of all the welfare state could provide.The resulting clash of civilizations has made it unsafe in major German cities for women to enjoy an unmolested evening stroll, or a street celebration on holidays. It seems that the immigrants’ attitude towards women, or at least the attitude of enough of them, is not quite consistent with the values Ms. Merkel preaches. And the unity of the European Union is fractured by the fact that, having rolled out the welcome mat, its partners-in-union have left Italy to bear most of the costs.
Compare that with President Trump’s efforts to bring illegal immigration into the United States to an end, and to prevent terrorists from entering. Better to be ostracized for that than to follow Merkel’s policy of putting her citizens at risk.
Being ostracized for having withdrawn from the Paris climate deal seems a price worth paying: The deal is unenforceable. The signatories can change the plans to which they have agreed at any time. And even if they all keep to their promises—something Germany and most other NATO countries have refused to do when it comes to funding their obligations—the effect on emissions and temperatures will be insufficient to prevent the predicted disasters.
All of this while China continues to increase its emissions and fund coal plants all over the world, some 700 of them, Germany’s emissions rise, and Merkel’s fatherland relies increasingly on lignite to keep the lights on. America, on the other hand, has decided on an energy policy that is allowing the market to do what regulation could not, or at least not as efficiently. Thanks to investor and consumer groups, and to the federal system established by our Founding Fathers, thousands of private sector players and local and state government are finding ways to reduce emissions, efficiently.
Finally, Trump has caused us to be ostracized by Merkel & Co. by adopting a protectionist trade policy. That policy consists of calling for renegotiation of antiquated trade agreements, and perhaps imposing penalties on imported steel, which the European Union also alleges is being dumped. Meanwhile, Germany continues to run large trade surpluses, in part because for it the euro is an undervalued currency that is immiserating the south of Europe and allowing its manufacturers to steal a march on competing countries.
To be ostracized by a group that has forfeited civil peace so that its well-protected elites can bask in the glow of its kindness to immigrants, and, of course, have access to cheap labor; that extols the virtues of the Paris accord while increasing emissions; that has a leading member that makes China’s currency manipulation look like small-time trade distortion? It’s more of an honor than an embarrassment.
The G20 that wants nothing to do with us, that finds our president so offensive, that finds its values so superior to ours, might want to replace the emergency auto-dial White House number with some other number the next time Vladimir Putin gets stroppy. After all, the European Union has three presidents of its very own—in Italy, Poland and Luxembourg. Surely they’ll be able to take the call.
**Irwin Stelzer is a Senior Fellow and Director of Hudson Institute’s Economic Policy Studies Group. Prior to joining Hudson Institute in 1998, Stelzer was Resident Scholar and Director of Regulatory Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.