The Expansion of the G7 and it's Effects on the Global Balance of Power
The Group of Seven is more or less an ideologically congruent bloc of industrialized nations. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan, meet annually to discuss world politics, trade developments, and predicaments of international significance.
Last week President Trump announced his decision to include four countries to the G7. Australia, India, South Korea, and surprisingly, Russia has been invited to join the summit which has been deferred to September. His announcement has raised considerable opposition and questions regarding America’s turbulent foreign policy. Including other countries to better represent the current world realities may seem like a well-intentioned and benevolent move on the President’s part but concerns raised prove it to be the opposite. What it may bring to the table is the chance to form a new Anti China coalition that will further Trump’s domestic ambitions.
These past few months have changed what most believed would be an easy victory for the POTUS. His management of the pandemic and response to the Black Lives Matter movement has significantly altered public perception of the White House, allowing Democrat nominee, Joe Biden to take charge of the situation and project himself in a more favorable light.
Amid his domestic failures, Trump’s decision to expand the membership of the G7 is most definitely a calculated move, one that works in favor of his Anti China campaign that sways swing States and attracts his vote bank almost every time.
The truth is, even if it is a strategic and elaborate plan to inculpate and overcome the rising power of China, it won’t matter.
The G7 and even the G11 lacks the influence needed to dramatically change the global trading or power structures.
Over the past few decades, the G7’s share of global GDP has fallen to 40%. The G20 on the other hand has about 80% of the share. Excluding China from the narrative does not serve the purpose of “properly representing what’s going on in the world”.
However, it is not only Trump who has felt the need to limit Chinese influence.
QUAD is a joint military exercise the US, Japan, Australia, and India take part in. It was initiated by Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister in 2007 but it hasn’t succeeded in its goal of restraining China from expanding its control to the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The lack of international cohesion has seen a theoretically powerful alliance fall apart. Many predict the same fate for the G7.
Internally, Angela Merkel who is the German Chancellor has not minced words in her criticism of the American move to incorporate the four new countries. Germany is the second most powerful economy in the G7 after the United States. She declined her invite to the deferred summit to be held in Camp David, this September. The presence of four European Union members has involved the confederation in the conversation of expansion. The EU went on to say that “the US has no right to alter the G7 mechanism”. And so, as the President wishes to bolster efforts to form a coalition of sorts to combat the emerging authority of China, he fails to pacify his own team in their distress.
The biggest question isn’t President Trump’s motives regarding China, it’s his decision to reincorporate Russia after it was ousted in 2014 for its annexation of Crimea. That is the EU’s biggest concern and rightly so. Why would the United States want Russia to be included in the summit this year and maybe even make it a permanent change? Russian involvement in the incumbent president’s reign has raised eyebrows but with Putin declining the offer, the potential of controversy may not be explored.
America isn’t new to Cold Wars. If the pandemic has done one thing with absolute certainty, it is to set off the beginning of a Cold War between China and Trump’s America. If Trump does want to win the November elections, he will have to do more than form a bloc against China. He’ll have to take charge of his own home-ground. However if he does in fact believe that expanding the G7 will alter global realities, he is grossly mistaken and cannot expect to tame the dragon effectively.
Authored by Naomi Kurian