This G20 meeting must be the most awkward meeting of the economic group in the last decade. Already we have heard of frayed tempers and back peddling of the US on its support to a post-Brexit Britain, but that is just the usual surface nonsense. Brewing in the depths is the stark realization that none of them are friends in any sense of the word.
Let's review the some of the history here and fill in the blanks.
EU or Not EU
The concept for the EU stretches back over several hundred years, but its modern incarnation was thrown about after WWI. Approaching WWII, the Nazi regime's indoctrination for front-line troops was that they were fighting for Europe, not just for Germany. Post-WWII, this evolve into a recognition that some form of common unity was required to stabilize the entire region and thus the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC) were formed in the 1950's. Out of this grew the EU we know today, which went through a huge growth spurt with the collapse of the Berlin wall in '89.
The UK, for its part, joined the EU not because it wanted to be a part of Europe, but rather to manage it. By manage it, I mean keep it in bureaucratic stagnation. This was the policy of the British deep state; Whitehall, MI6 and various unnamed backers. That said, not everyone is of one mind, there were pros and cons, but the idea was always to engineer a collapse of the EU. It was always to remain the great half-built ambition into and out of which money could flow. To the British, a superpower on their doorstep or absorption in the EU was unthinkable. This was a policy supported in part by Russia and the US.
From the perspective of the US, the EU is and was an economic threat. A distant consideration was the military threat it posed, but they need to be pragmatic about such things. A similar story applies to Russia, except in their case two superpowers breathing down their necks would be more than their military budget could handle. So, this is really a policy that stretches back to the 60's and 70's.
As the EU grew in strength, so did the response. What is critical to understand is the separation between the deep state, which is essentially a dictatorship run by interests and the public state which is run through democratic control. The two don't quite mix and over the last 40-50 years have become quite independent of each other in all major nations. Democracy is really a sandbox to keep the public out of affairs of the state, which revolves mostly around larges sums of cash, assets, currency and stock manipulation. This is backed up by the both the threat and use of force. So, in general, it is fair to say that the various deep states operate very similar to racketeering operations.
Anyway, over the last decade the major players made their move against the EU. This was in the form of driving nationalism and far-right extremism. Unlike WWII, were this grew out of hand and resulted in the war, this was a gentle simmering to bring about referendums to leave the EU. Migrant floods, populist journalism, etc., were all leveraged to slowly turn up the heat across the EU. At the extreme end, a lot of this could be characterized as psychological warfare and even outright brainwashing. In short, it was very much a military campaign driven by nationalist elements from within the ranks.
In public, the US is always to demonstrate loyalty to its allies and their current interests. So, people like Obama are polished up, rolled out to press the flesh and make grand statement in support of the current Prime Minister's views. Back in Washington, there is a different picture and one no doubt that Obama himself was part of, as well as previous Presidents and that is taking out the competition.
All is fair in love and economics.
In the end, this resulted in Brexit, but the cat was out of the bag and in a very public way. Awkward. If nuclear weapons weren't around, it probably would have kicked off.
This left the US in a prickly position, they had just flattened their key ally and completely alienated the EU. But the US is not one for changing course. Trying to drum up the impending collapse of the EU in the press through intermediaries, plus quietly supporting a failed coup in Turkey, it pretty much put the last nail in the coffin for NATO as an alliance. Whilst still a functioning body, everyone knows exactly where they stand and that the US would like that to be on their knees in front of them. Russia, for its part, appears to have different motivations for joining this. That was the exposure of NATO as a farce, to get the the EU on-side and to secure the Black Sea by cuddling up to Turkey after they were betrayed by their last partner. But, that kind-of back fired as they were not trusted and the EU has been slowly drifting towards China ever since.
The objective picture that everyone has going into this G20 meeting is the lack of direction now that they are more aware of each other's true positions. This is really uncharted territory, as whilst these things go on all the time, this is much broader and deeper than anything that has happened over since WWII in this region.
What is clear is that a major period of change is upon us and that US foreign policy has backfired so badly, that it may never recover. Further, that the activities of the deep states in other nations such as the UK, may have long lasting repercussions that will make Brexit a trying time.
The transnational alliance is broken and more than that, no is backing away from breaking it. The US is making a play for its own interests, so is Russia, Britain and the EU. Obviously this was the first minor collision, but it is crystal clear that if it continues, a major one is inevitable.