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Trump 'working against his own instincts' at G-20 summit, analysts say

  • As world leaders gather for the G-20 Summit in Hamburg on Thursday, all eyes are on whether Trump chooses a path of unity or division from other international countries.
  • Trump must understand that "go-it-alone unilateralism is generally not a successful course," said former Bush economic adviser Dan Price.
  • Trump must also carefully approach the North Korean crisis topic during the summit, or the issue may blow up, according to Doug Bandow.

President Donald Trump can't afford to cut the U.S. off from the rest of the world, and the G-20 summit is his moment to prove that he won't do it, political analysts said Thursday on CNBC.

As world leaders gather for the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, all eyes are on whether Trump chooses a path of unity or division from other international countries, including China and Russia.

"The real question here for President Trump, as all presidents at summits, is whether they can help build consensus on important global issues," Dan Price, former Bush economic adviser and co-founder of Rock Creek Global Advisers, told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "Most presidents come to understand that global problems require global solutions, and that go-it-alone unilateralism is generally not a successful course."

Trump must carefully approach the anxiously-awaited North Korean crisis topic during the summit, or the issue may blow up, according to former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, Doug Bandow.

"The problem is from the North Korean standpoint, the more threats we make against them, the stronger the case for them to have nuclear weapons and to have long range missiles," Bandow said on CNBC's "Power Lunch." "And if you don't back up your threats, you look weak. So the question is where does the administration go from here, and that's the problem the president faces."

The "tone" of Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin should also be in the spotlight, as the relationship between the U.S. and Russia remains a point of concern, former Obama administration state department official P.J. Crowley told "Squawk on the Street."

With the G-20 Summit calling in a medley of leaders with steadfast, juxtaposed beliefs, this could shape up to be a meeting unlike any other, according to Crowley.

"It's a very interesting dynamic to this meeting," Crowley said. "Now you have the two leading defenders of the existing international system, [German] Chancellor Merkel and [Chinese] President Xi Jinping, and two of the leading disruptors of the status quo, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. So how does that dynamic play out?"