Ever-darkening clouds - More difficult to be optimistic

AT a moment when there are far too many reasons to feel that we have moved from being a post-war world to being a pre-war world Wednesday’s taunting of America by North Korea over their new nuclear capabilities did little to lift a darkening mood. 

Neither did President Trump’s speech in Warsaw yesterday.

Mr Trump warned that the future of the West may be in jeopardy unless we show more resolve. 

“The fundamental question... is whether the West has the will to survive,” he said in a warning that will resonate widely. 

His speech came hours before the world’s 20 economic powers met in Hamburg. 

A theme for that summit will be whether the world should continue to look to the US for leadership. 

Ostensibly about financial stability, the G20 meeting could mark America’s swansong as the pre-eminent power. 

Leadership may pass to the ill-matched quartet of Trump, Xi Jinping, Putin, and Merkel.

This shift could hardly have come at a worse time. Too many issues are lurching towards implosion; too many conflicts are deepening. 

Climate change — a weak point for Trump — North Korea, world trade, Ukraine, mass migration, famine, discord in the Gulf and for Ireland, Brexit, come together to create a very late 1930s mood. 

Though Mr Trump has identified the issue he is unlikely to recognise he is part of the problem rather than the remedy.

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