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What the G7 can still offer the world

18 0 0
08.06.2018

Meetings of the G8 group comprising the world’s richest nations used to be an exercise in well-choreographed consensus. The largely technocratic, centrist leadership of major countries would discuss how to tweak the global economy, help those they believed were being left behind and generally congratulate each other on their overlapping progressive and largely democratic values.

The June 8-9 gathering in Quebec of the now G7 – Russia was suspended for annexing the Crimea in 2014 – could hardly look more different, much to the alarm and irritation of its host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. U.S. President Donald Trump last week alienated the other six nations by effectively starting a trade war, plus the meeting will be overshadowed by the growing worry that the new populist Italian government will throw the euro back into crisis.

It’s unclear what can genuinely be achieved at the summit. The Canadian agenda is in many respects a throwback to more predictable times; its focus is on finding ways to broaden economic growth and manage climate change. But in reality, Trump’s latest trade bombshell – imposing steep tariffs on metals imported from Mexico, Canada and the European Union – will be a major issue.

That’s a pity. Since the 2008 financial crash, the real decision-making body for international affairs should have been the broader G20, although this group has often itself proved dysfunctional. The G7, however, offers a different opportunity – a chance for those in charge to battle over an even larger........

© Japan Today