G7 summit showed club’s impotence – Politico
This year’s G7 leaders' summit in Germany was described as a great disappointment by Politico, which compared the meeting's results to Swiss cheese due to “gaping holes”. Even the first spouses mostly ignored it, showing the irrelevance of the meeting, it argued.
The US-based German-owned news outlet blasted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his guests from Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US for being out of touch and lacking long-term perspective.
“In a world of interlocking crises, a few rich democracies cannot on their own provide the solutions the world needs anymore,” it said, arguing that G20 was a more suitable forum for tackling global challenges.
But, unlike G20, this smaller club does not include “autocrats,” so the three-day gathering in the Bavarian Alps serves as a refuge for politicians tired of domestic problems. Of the seven, only Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrived with a net positive approval rating, the outlet noted.
The G7 offered solutions that were underwhelming and often self-contradictory, Politico said. The leaders “did not agree to plans that might fundamentally alter the course of Russia’s war in Ukraine, limit runaway global inflation or avert a looming famine.”
One of the most radical ideas was to deny Russia oil revenue by introducing a price cap. The suggested price-fixing scheme flew in the face of G7 criticism of China for alleged “non-market policies,” the outlet said.
Meanwhile the global food market, the G7 declared, should remain free from interference, even as surging prices put millions in poor countries at risk of starvation.
Western powers have previously accused Russia of preventing the export of Ukrainian grain – a charge that Moscow has denied – but would not risk escalation by sending their warships as escorts for freight vessels. Politico compared the reaction to what happened in the late 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq war.
At the time, both nations attacked oil tankers carrying crude out of the Persian Gulf. Baghdad was the initiator, but when Tehran responded in kind, the US sent warships, ostensibly to protect Kuwaiti oil exports from Iranian attacks. The US’ downing of an Iranian passenger plane in July 1988 happened amid that deployment.
“The West has protected its oil sources in the past,” Politico said, “But isn’t protecting the grain needed by the world’s poorest now. It’s not a shining advertisement for democracy that delivers better than autocracy.”
Climate change, considered the biggest challenge during the G7 summit held last year in England, took a backseat this year as member states are facing surging energy prices and European supply shortages due to anti-Russian sanctions.
The most concrete climate step at the G7 was a pledge to install 1.5 million smart thermostats in European homes to save energy.
“It’s not a move anyone would argue with: but is that really something the leaders of the free world should be high-fiving over?” Politico asked.
In a separate critical article focused on climate issues, the outlet said that the outcome showed the “inherent contradiction” between the “short-term electoral imperatives” of the leaders “and the long-term moral obligation” to future generations.
The spouses of G7 leaders were mostly no-shows at the gathering, Politico said, calling it a sign of the summit’s irrelevance. Only the wives of the French and the British leaders accepted the invitation from Chancellor Scholz’s partner.