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World leaders and delegates attend the the second day of the G20 economic summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017 (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

The G-20: Another Vacuous Meet-and-Greet

Walter Russell Mead

The captains and the kings depart, the flames in Hamburg gutter out, and the clouds of oily smoke and tear gas slowly disperse. Another Group of 20 summit has come and gone, and yet again the world has failed to change.

This should not come as a surprise; global summits are almost always empty exercises in public relations. They survive only to make politicians look good. Incumbent presidents and prime ministers strut before the cameras, hoping to look like leaders and statesmen in contrast to their political rivals back home. Egos in wannabe powers are stroked, as the world’s great powers pretend to take them seriously for a few days. There are gassy dinners and gassier communiqués that mean nothing and achieve nothing, yet are haggled over line by line before falling into the oblivion that will entomb them forever.

To read the full article on the Wall Street Journal website, click here.

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