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G7 is more valuable than cash

Since being elected President of the United States, Joe Biden has not lost the opportunity to announce:America is back“. The underlying message of the G7 Summit, which just ended in Cornwall, can be summarized as “The West is back.” The goal of the gathered leaders was to reach out to the wider world by demonstrating unity, purpose and leadership in tackling world issues.

This was the first summit of G7 countries (US, Japan, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy) since the outbreak of the pandemic and the defeat of Donald Trump.But while the leaders gathered in Cornwall are on display Lots of ambitionsThe Summit leaves a big question as to whether the G7 delivery matches its rhetoric.

Its delivery issues depend on many major topics addressed by the G7, including vaccines, climate, and efforts to create an international infrastructure drive comparable to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

When it comes to vaccines, the G7 promised Deliver 1 billion doses to developing countries within a year.But the number of this impressive sound may still be too small Too late..World Health Organization Said To effectively fight Covid-19, you need 11 billion vaccines worldwide. Also, a deployment that could take 18 months means more deaths, and it will take enough time for a new vaccine-resistant strain of virus to develop.

Competition with China has been the underlying theme of many of the G7 Summits. However, the Chinese government has the potential to promise more vaccines to the wider world than the G7. However, Effectiveness The number of vaccines in China may mean that this is a mixed blessing.

The G7’s determination to counter China’s growing global influence was most apparent in the group’s support for a western alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative to build infrastructure across developing countries. The idea is G7 option It provides higher environmental standards and transparency in loans and governance.

But it can also offer significantly less money — the point at which the G7 communiqué becomes significantly ambiguous. Meanwhile, Chinese banks and businesses are already working on groundbreaking projects around the world, such as new construction. Egyptian capital..

Beyond the announcements and headlines, there are deeper questions about how the Western world is actually united in its determination to oppose China’s turmoil. Even in the G7 margins, it was clear that the languages ​​used in the United States and Japan were significantly stronger than European rhetoric.

The four countries invited to the G7 in Cornwall, especially India and Australia, are clearly important to any effort to organize a democratic world and fight China.But speaking just before the G7 summit, French President Emmanuel Macron said Emphasis The need for Europe to remain “independent when it comes to its strategy for China.” This sentiment will be shared by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and to some extent even Boris Johnson. The British Prime Minister has been described by an Allied indignant official as “still wanting to have his cake and eat it in China.”

The G7 cannot avoid the reality that China’s cooperation is essential to tackle climate change. What the gathered leaders tried to do in Cornwall was to provide leadership in global efforts. They announced an ambitious plan to shut down contaminated coal-fired power plants as soon as possible and protect 30% of the Earth’s land and sea by 2030. The official communiqué inevitably shed some light on the details. However, there remains suspicion that practical steps to achieve these goals may not be taken soon.

After Cornwall, Biden’s next destination will be the NATO summit in Brussels, followed by a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. G7 communiqué In search of Investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Russian soil — and condemns Russia’s resistance to ransomware attacks launched from that soil. We hope Putin will be impressed with the exhibition of Western determination and unity in Cornwall and Brussels.

This year’s G7 summit certainly contrasted with Trump’s year, when the US president seemed keen to split up with older allies than he showed unity. Even Trump-friendly Johnson was probably sincere when he described Biden as the “breath of fresh air” of the Western European Union.

President Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping Jintao, is, that Mr. Trump has left the White House, will be noted that the situation of the Western alliance has changed obviously. But will Russian and Chinese leaders be threatened or disciplined? Probably not yet.

gideon.rachman@ft.com

Follow Gideon Rachman myFT When twitter



G7 is more valuable than cash

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