The Group of Seven (G7), comprised of the “most advanced economies in the world,” includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
It emerged in the 1970s. While it exists for supposedly many different and “important” reasons, it has functioned more as a Western-centric economic cartel than any sort of progressive international alliance.
For a relatively short time, the G7 included Russia, and was known then as the G8. But Russia’s inclusion was aimed at forcing Russia, its people and resources under Western domination, not any sort of real effort to cultivate cooperation or inclusion with emerging economies like Russia’s.
When it became clear that Russia was using its membership in the Group to advocate for its own best interests rather than falling into line, it was ousted.
While Russia seeks closer ties with the West to move costly and perhaps even dangerous conflict into the direction of healthy competition if not certain forms of cooperation, the G7’s posture toward Russia and its attempts to frame it across the media illustrates exactly why the Group and the nations that comprise it, are losing their leadership role upon the global stage.
Western Leadership is Dying
Articles like the Christian Science Monitor’s “Disarray at G-7 summit: Is Western leadership dying, or adapting?,” frame perfectly why there really is no question to whether or not Western leadership is dying. It is, and the West’s inability to face this reality and the underlying reasons for its existence is precisely why it is.
The article claims:
When French President Emmanuel Macron declared it would be “pointless” to try to deliver the traditional final communique at the G-7 summit he hosted last weekend it prompted some to wonder if maybe the organization itself is pointless.
Leaders of the Group of Seven major economies had been especially riven by conflicting perspectives on global issues from climate change to trade.
But the larger question behind the doubts about the G-7 is whether a Cold War-era grouping based on common interests and values such as democracy, the rule of law, free markets, and human rights still has a global leadership role to play in the 21st century.
Anyone paying attention to anything members of the G7 are doing and their actions upon the global stage are well aware that “values” like democracy, the rule of law, free markets and human rights were always ever political mechanisms the West hid its otherwise self-serving agenda behind rather than stood for.
In reality, it is the toppling of governments around the globe, the subverting of national sovereignty, the literal invasions and occupations of various nations particularly under deliberately false pretexts, the mafia-style economics, the lopsided and predatory “free trade agreements” and the operation of a multinational, global-spanning network of torture facilities to process opponents of Western interests that defines “Western leadership” in the late 20th and now 21st century.
If the G7 cannot come to grips with the reality that its supposed values are now clearly seen by the world as a canard rather than as its compass, it cannot effectively address why its power and influence is in decline, saying nothing of its waning global leadership.
Moral leadership and a unity of purpose are two fundamentals that have always historically bound nations in pursuit of their endeavors. The G7 functions more like a tropism of perpetual expansion, lacking genuine purpose while hiding behind increasingly transparent “values.”
Does anyone still truly believe Western leadership is predicated upon democracy, the rule of law, free markets and human rights? What evidence is there that suggests this?
An International Order Built on Unraveling Lies
The Christian Science Monitor, in its article attempting to frame the decline of the G7, makes this bold claim regarding Russia’s expulsion from the Group:
Another initiative that to some might fall into the category of realist thinking for today’s world is President Trump’s insistence that Russia be readmitted to what was the G8 – until Moscow’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Russia neither invaded nor annexed Crimea. It’s troops were requested by the sitting government of Crimea to protect the population in the wake of a US-backed coup in Kiev.
This isn’t according Russian President Vladimir Putin or the Russian media. This is according to news reports out of the West’s own media.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, part of the US State Department’s own media network, would note in their 2014 article titled, “Parliament OKs Putin Request To Use Russian Forces In Ukraine,” that the decision to deploy Russian troops to Crimea was made upon a request from Crimea’s own government.
The article would note:
The Russian move comes after Putin’s office said Moscow will not ignore a March 1 request for peacekeeping support made by Serhiy Aksyonov, the pro-Russian prime minister of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
Following the request for troops, a referendum was carried out with Crimea’s voting public overwhelmingly voting in favor of the region joining the Russian Federation.
The US invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and its military operations against the nations of Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Libya, Nigeria and beyond are all actual examples of real invasions and acts of aggression committed in complete violation of international laws and norms.
Examples of genuine annexation are provided by close G7 allies like Israel who has illegally occupied Syria’s Golan Heights, annexing it in 1981, according to the UN itself.
It is easy to see how Crimea contrasts to these latter examples of Western aggression, invasion, occupation and annexation. It is also easy to see how the G7’s current impetus is based entirely on lies so transparent and hypocritical they have not only eroded the G7’s legitimacy and leadership role internationally, but pose a direct threat to the Group’s future.
Crimea is not the only matter G7 nations are lying about in their search for leverage over emerging global powers like Russia, China and regional blocs in Asia, South America and even Africa, but it is a matter that fully illustrates why the G7 is in decline, as a whole, and among its individual nation-state members.
Kicking and Screaming Doesn’t Delay Decline
French President Emmanuel Macron during the latest G7 meeting warned, “we are living the end of Western hegemony,” and appeared to suggest the current adversarial posture of the West’s waning global order needed to change in order for it to survive into the future. He also appeared to hint toward rapprochement with Russia.
After failing to fold Russia and China into Washington’s international order, The US attempted to isolate, undermine and eventually overcome the political orders presiding in Moscow and Beijing. This has failed spectacularly and at great cost to the US and its allies. Because of the unsustainable premise Washington’s international order was built on in the first place, and because so much of the “West’s” power and prosperity depends on perpetuating that premise, little can be done to quickly change course and adapt to the new realities of today’s geopolitics.
It is unclear what President Macron would like to see emerge after the fall of Western hegemony, though those in Moscow seem to hope it means cooperation and competition between Europe and Russia rather than sanctions and the perpetual threat of conflict.
For the G7 it likely looks a lot like a world where G7 members must co-exist among emerging global powers rather than presiding above and over them, attempting to determine their future at forums precisely like the G7. It is a world that G7 members must enter, but not by choice.
It is unclear whether or not the US and Europe are prepared to gracefully step into a world like that regardless, or will have to be dragged into it kicking and screaming. The state of Ukraine today and the continuation of lies aimed at Russia suggest the latter. Macron’s suggestions of rapprochement with Russia and steps to work with Iran rather than against it alongside the US hint at a capacity to do the former.
What is certain is that even at the G7, the illusion of unassailable Western power is no longer tenable and the inevitability of a fundamental shift in the global balance of power is finally displacing discussion on how the West might “cling” to power a while longer.
Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.