In a potentially ominous sign for this year’s G20 Summit, pieces from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung were played to a sold-out audience in the Elbphilarmonie (Hamburg’s new concert hall, which is also the venue for the G20 Summit starting July 7). Translated into English as ‘the Twilight of the Gods’, the opera is the final episode in the lengthy ring-cycle saga which looks at the rise and fall of rule by the supreme powers, and how infighting among the gods in Valhalla is the cause of their ultimate destruction. Were it not five hours in duration, Angela Merkel could do worse than reminding G20 leaders of the themes Wagner’s opera addresses ahead of their two days of meetings.
In his inaugural address, Donald Trump declared “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first” (a phrase, associated with opponents of entering World War II). Former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer commented that “‘America first’ signals the renunciation, and possible destruction, of the US-led world order that Democratic and Republican presidents, starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt, have built up and maintained – albeit with varying degrees of success – for more than seven decades.” (Project Syndicate, “The God of Carnage,” January 27, 2017)
At this point of transition of the G20 presidency from China to Germany, Hannah Wurf speculates on three areas ‘worth watching’ in the build-up to the Hamburg Summit. A narrative on economic resilience and new approaches to migration and global health. Wurf also explores how the German presidency might build upon the legacy of the G20 Hangzhou Summit in pursuing its possible priorities.
As editors of this blog, we are proud to welcome you to this Think20 (T20) platform for promoting informed policy discussions about the G20. Here, we would like to outline some of our ambitions for this blog, including the type of pieces we will be publishing, the kind of audience we are writing for, and most importantly, how you can get engaged. Now into its sixth year, the T20 community of think tank researchers and university academics has become a fixture within the G20 universe.