From May 3 to 5 this year in London there was a ministerial meeting of the G7 forum member countries, which, rather out of inertia are still sometimes called the Group of Seven Industrialized Nations. Such a designation was to a certain extent justified in the first two or three decades after its creation in the mid-1970s.
The main motive for the formation of the G7 was to develop measures to counter the effects of the OPEC embargo on hydrocarbons in response to “Western” (more or less unified at the time) support for Israeli policies in the Greater Middle East.
Back then, the G7 did indeed bring together the seven largest economies of the Western world, and the decisions of this forum represented a very significant event. Not only in the realm of economy, but also in the “Great World Game”. And the presence of the USSR, that is, the main opponent of the “West,” was very prominent in the Greater Middle East region.
Things began to change with the end of the Cold War. Including the significance of the G7. With the collapse of the USSR, cracks commenced to deepen in the “West” itself, which, incidentally, began almost at the moment of the emergence of this political category. In other words, at least since the signing in 1957 of the Treaty of Rome, which established the predecessor of the current EU. To a certain extent, the cracks that arose could be tightened then by the ring of collective confrontation with the Soviet Union. With the disappearance of the only reason for this (expensive) mission, the said ring broke apart.
In the next two decades, the level of importance of the G7 was maintained in no small measure by the “gradual” inclusion in it of today’s Russia, that is, the legal successor of the “defeated geopolitical opponent.” For Russia itself, participation in the G7 was a symbol of the geopolitical disgrace of the “post-Cold War” period. The act of withdrawing the country from this configuration in 2014 has been delayed far too long. It could well have been implemented by the time of the famous “Munich Speech” by the current Russian President.
Using the term “Group of Seven Industrialized Nations” in relation to the G7 today feels even more ridiculous, as this configuration does not include new players of global importance, such as India and China, which occupy the 5th and 2nd positions in the list of major world economies, respectively. China will certainly never join the G7, even if such an offer were to arise. Beijing has other and more important platforms to mark its growing presence in the international arena. G20, for example.
Today, the main object of the geopolitical courtship of the “West” is India. And the “suitors” alternate. Lately, the dull-witted oaf by the name of Washington, having apparently exasperated its “fiancée“, has been replaced by the more experienced Paris, Brussels, and London.
The latter is especially zealous. Which seems all the more strange, since its increased geopolitical activity (moreover, on the other side of the planet) falls at a time of worsening domestic political situation. Which, after the electoral cycle that has just passed, threatens to move into the phase of a simple national catastrophe.
India was among the “invited guests” at the last G7 ministerial meeting. Along with South Korea, Australia, the Republic of South Africa and the ASEAN countries. The latter is an association of 10 countries of the Southeast Asian region, which is becoming increasingly important in the current stage of the “Great World Game”.
This invitation can be regarded as an attempt to bring fresh blood into the decaying configuration of the G7 and thereby improve its declining credibility in the international arena. The initiative for such an invitation came (in 2020) from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, who has such an opportunity as the host of the event. Because Boris Johnson represents the interests of those transnational circles for which the prospect of other (quite real) centers of power in the international arena than the “Western” ones is unacceptable.
But apparently these “others” have no place in the format of the “Democratic Alliance,” which would include the G7 members plus India, South Korea and Australia. The proposal to create a D10 configuration of these countries as an alternative to the initiative of former US President Donald Trump to restore the G8 with the participation of Russia, came from the same Boris Johnson.
On the eve of the G7 Ministerial Conference, the British prime minister’s geopolitical appetite apparently got so much worked up that it was decided to invite South African and ASEAN ministers to it as well. Needless to say, the structure of some of these countries can hardly be called democratic. For the designers of the G7 Plus configuration, the definition of “democratic” fulfills the same role as the “friend-or-foe” system in combat aviation. If necessary, Myanmar (incidentally, an ASEAN member), now cursed by the West, will also be recognized as a “democratic” country. After all the current Ukraine is also recognized as “democratic”…
However, none of the “guests” invited actually showed up (in one way or another) until the last day of the conference. Naturally, their signatures are missing from the extensive final Communiqué, the main content of which (apart from all sorts of nonsense) is a set of well-established philippics against the “others,” that is, the PRC and the Russian Federation.
Such a document would never have been signed by the “guests”, if it had been offered to them. Perhaps except for Australia, which since 2013 has been run by (seemingly irredeemable) masochists. Ready, to starve to death, by the looks of it, just to do something to hurt China. In fact, it is unclear what exactly is their plan for re-election a year from now.
In connection with the event in London, the China Global Times accurately illustrated the current state of the “Western Democratic” ship. As a commentary, let us express the utmost doubt that the geopolitical projection of the current British prime minister and his colleagues will have any other consequence than the completion of the process of forming the next club. Its participants will continue the glorious tradition in the field of “study of man” by another club, described almost two centuries ago by the famous Briton Charles Dickens.
One of the strange byproducts of the formation of the current club is a specific phenomenon by the name of “Navalny,” which is given special attention in the said Communiqué. It is a phenomenon, not the name of a particular person. As China is assigned Chinese “Navalnys”, Myanmar is assigned Burmese ones, and so on…
In China, the most notable and noisy “Navalny” until recently was a young street kid from Hong Kong, Joshua Wong. Members of the “club” noticed him and a year ago invited him to a political platform (active since 2018) called the “Copenhagen Summit Alliance for Democracy”. Generally, it is attended by active and retired government officials of the highest weight class. Joshua Wong then spoke out first (sic!) on “The Struggle for Democracy from the Battlefields of Hong Kong”.
In later trials in Hong Kong, he repented of his earlier sins (“in his youth and inexperience”) on the streets of the city. For sincere repentance he got his sentence reduced (a year or so suspended).
But at a recent (May 10-11) similar summit in Copenhagen, his colleague presented by the organizers as another “young activist from Hong Kong” replaced him. Here he found himself among other “field commanders” from the front lines of the war for the victory of “democracy,” such as Tihanovskaya and Guaidó.
As for the reaction of one of the main addressees, i.e. Beijing, whom the G7 ministers gathered in London called upon, it turned out to be ironically cautious. Its second component is reflected in the “edited” photo of the participants in this event, which refers to the events of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when China was being torn up by anyone who felt like it. Unfortunately, among them was the Russian government of Nicholas II, who thus lost the position of geopolitical peacemaker originally assumed, which was extremely attractive to Russia at the time. It substantially predetermined the subsequent disgrace in the Russian-Japanese War and the catastrophe of 1917, including the personal and familial misery of the last Russian Emperor. One involuntarily recalls the warning of the Russian literary visionary, a contemporary of the aforementioned British one, about the danger of pursuit of “cheapness”.
The ironic component is reflected in another picture by the same Global Times. Note that, in the face of a common challenge, the “Russian bear” and the “Chinese panda” stand “shoulder to shoulder”. In Chinese symbolism, this reflects a higher level of cooperation with a partner than the “back to back” image, which has so far been used by the PRC leadership to characterize the preferred format of relations with the Russian Federation.
This “shoulder to shoulder” image should continue to reflect the nature of Sino-Russian relations. Regardless of how relations with “our Western partners” develop.
Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.