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27 Aug, 2019 15:01

Macron’s G7 proves the US-dominant talk shop is heading for the dinosaur graveyard

Macron’s G7 proves the US-dominant talk shop is heading for the dinosaur graveyard

Emmanuel Macron had big dreams of the Biarritz G7 becoming a historic epicenter of global renewal. Instead, he must contend with the fact that the exclusive talk shop is an antiquated instrument for effecting real change.

As the G7 leaders enjoyed dinner at a restored lighthouse overlooking the French seaside town of Biarritz, they were probably hoping to evoke an image of mastery and control over a world gone bonkers. The reality, however, was that of seven well-heeled passengers – Italy, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, the UK and the US – tossed into a tempestuous sea from a sinking vessel without a lifeboat.

Even Donald Trump, not known for acknowledging many shortcomings, appeared to be shaken despite the golden croissants. For example, when asked by a reporter if he had any second thoughts about escalating the trade war with Beijing, the US leader responded, “Yeah. For sure.” He added, “I have second thoughts about everything.”

As part of Trump’s campaign to ‘make America great again’, he has embarked upon a risky trade war with Beijing that threatens to go ‘nuclear’ as both sides resort to tit-for-tat tariffs and tough talk. Indeed, global financial markets reel every time Trump and Xi Jinping simply exhale air. As expected, global markets did a back-flip when Trump told a news conference after the summit, “China wants to make a deal, and if we can, we will make a deal.”

Judging by Trump’s brash remarks in the past, however, many were left wondering if this was just more of the mogul's trademark bluff and bluster. Was the king of the 280-character verbal assault attempting to secure cheap political points ahead of 2020 by declaring everything peachy in the global village? 

Hard to tell, but that question tells us everything that is wrong about the G7. And no, it's not Donald Trump, as the malevolent media would have everyone believe. 

The problem is that the G7 has become so exclusive and wine-sipping elitist that it has become inherently antagonistic to the very spirit of globalization. In other words, China, short of actual membership, needed to have some sort of real, on the ground, representation during the three-day pow-wow. The fact that it did not demonstrated the dismal failure of the G7 as an effective instrument for addressing serious issues.

The very same could be said of Russia, an erstwhile member that has suffered untold indignities in the two-year American witch hunt known as ‘Russiagate’. Now that that story has been quietly tucked away as the conspiracy theory of the century, Trump said he would gladly invite Vladimir Putin to next year’s G7 summit as guest of honor. Needless to say, that remark will not resonate very well in Western capitals, where an anti-Russia mindset has taken hold like a deadly virus. 

In addition to extending an invitation to Putin, Trump said he would consider Russia’s reinstatement into the G7 “very favorably.”

There were a lot of things that we were discussing and it would have been easy if Russia were in the room,” the US leader told reporters on Monday. “Yesterday we were discussing four or five matters, and Russia was literally involved in all of those… matters.

It’s unfortunate that Trump didn’t say the same thing about China’s possible membership, which would have made a lot of sense all things considered.

Also on rt.com Trump would ‘certainly’ invite Putin to next G7 summit

In any case, all this talk about “reinstating Russia” comes off as extremely presumptuous, as if Russia desperately wants back into the club of “liberal democracies.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Russia, a full-fledged member of BRICS, a surging economic bloc in its own right that includes Brazil, India, China and South Africa, is doing quite well for itself without G7 membership. And unlike the Western variety, the BRICS have not been guilty of wreaking havoc around the planet with regime-change operations, but rather following a steady course of economic development.

At the same time, let’s not forget about the G20, a much more inclusive international talk shop that doesn’t leave the same aftertaste of a caviar and cocktail party. Why not start by expanding membership in that organization?

In fairness to the host, Macron did attempt to achieve some modicum of ‘democratic representation’ at his exclusive seaside salon. This came in the form of a surprise visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who arrived Sunday for talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The invitation was a particularly ballsy move by Macron, who is looking to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal between the United States, Europe, Iran and Russia after Trump withdrew from the agreement last year. 

Following his high-level meetings, which included a chat on the sidelines with Macron, Zarif admitted that the “Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying.

READ MORE: Iran’s Rouhani refuses to meet Trump until all sanctions are lifted

Macron naturally chalked up Zarif’s visit as a stunning success, but in hindsight it appeared to be more grandstanding for public consumption, not to mention ruffling Trump's glorious feathers. The same could be said for the way Macron fumbled the ball on the fires that are ravaging Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. Instead of inviting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the French affair, Macron spoke about ways of tackling the fires without ever mentioning Brazil or the president. That sort of arrogance, which carries faint echoes of colonialism, won’t work any longer on the global stage. 

In any event, the French leader practically admitted defeat even before the G7 began when he said the group would not be issuing a joint communiqué for the first time in the summit’s 44-year history.

Although it is easy to blame Donald Trump and his unpredictable ways for that decision – last year he abruptly withdrew US endorsement of the G7 statement after a spat over trade with Canada’s Justin Trudeau, who was the host – Macron’s move points to more disturbing conclusions about the future of the G7.

Europe has for many years been pulled inexorably into America’s geopolitical orbit, and this trend is not about to change with a three-day summit. The G7 in Biarritz has concluded with all of the diplomatic smiles and handshakes and pledges of goodwill. However, at the end of the day everyone understands perfectly well that the United States has its own agenda, and it’s one that seems to be completely at odds with the European variety.

Also on rt.com ‘End of Western hegemony’: Why does Macron want Russia at Europe’s side?

There is a deadly dynamic at play in Washington that has placed the nation on the path of war and military expansion. This much can be ascertained by its recent withdrawal from both the ABM and INF treaties and concomitant thrust into Eastern Europe and Asia, moves that have certainly not gone unnoticed by Moscow and Beijing. In that sense too, the G7 is simply too limited a format for addressing major global issues, many of which center around the US, Russia and China. 

Emmanuel Macron seems to have understood that new global reality when he spoke on Tuesday of the need for Europe to reach out to Russia and “embrace each other again.


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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.