G7 is the last chance for the West to lead

International summits come and go, with photos and unread communiqués appearing endlessly.But the G7 Cornwall Conference Later this week may be a rare and truly important event—for the individual countries involved, the Western alliance, and the wider world.

For Boris Johnson, who presided over this conference, this is an opportunity to dispel any lingering impression of lightweight figures and prove that he can preside over an important international conference. The British Prime Minister also needs to indicate “Global UK” More than just a slogan.

For Joe Biden, this is his first overseas trip as the President of the United States, and this is an opportunity to show the return of the United States.Biden has made it clear that he intends Unite world democracies Fight back against Russia and China.

The President of the United States will hold a bilateral meeting with Johnson, and then Three summits With democratic allies-first the G7, then NATO, then the EU-US summit-and then continue to meet with Vladimir Putin in Geneva. His goal is to convey a unified message from the United States and its democratic allies in meetings with the Russian president.

The G7 summit will also send an indirect message to China.The propaganda line drawn from Beijing is that the West is in Unstoppable declineA successful G7 summit can revive the idea that the West can align with democracies in Asia and around the world and provide global leadership.

It is the G7 status as a democratic club that gives it meaning to regain its role in an era of increasing tension between China and the West. The core seven countries-the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada- Meet for the first time In the 1970s. At the end of the Cold War, Russia was invited to join the group, turning the club into the Group of Eight.But the Russian Federation is Boot again After the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The huge challenge facing the relevance of the G7 is the continuous decline in the share of the world economy represented by these seven core countries.As Renata Duvan Researchers from the British think tank Chatham Institute pointed out that in the 1970s, G7 countries accounted for about 80% of the world’s GDP.It is About 40 percentage.

When the global financial crisis swept the world in 2008, a group of countries larger than the G7 was needed to guide the world economy out of trouble.In response to this emergency, the Bush administration convene The first G20 summit in history-including the original G7, as well as emerging economic powers such as Brazil, India, and especially China.

The success of the G20 in organizing international operations to avoid a global depression seems to confirm that the G7 moment has passed. There is even speculation that this group of people may never meet again.As President of the United States, Donald Trump mocked the organization as OutdatedIt is the Biden administration’s renewed decision to fight back against Moscow and Beijing, which provides a new reason for the existence of the G7.

But the fact that the G7 no longer represents the bulk of the global economy — but favors the Euro-Atlantic region — remains a problem.

To compensate, the group has Invited four guests Participation in summits: Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea. The fact that three of them are from Asian countries highlights the group’s role in countering Beijing.

Nevertheless, several core issues at the G7 summit Agenda -The pandemic, climate and trade-ultimately require China’s cooperation. Without the participation of the world’s most populous country and the second largest economy, they are a global problem that cannot be solved.

The G7 solution to this dilemma seems to be an attempt to provide practical and ethical leadership to create momentum for reaching a global agreement.A striking example is transaction An agreement has been reached on the world’s lowest corporate tax rate, which should be signed at the G7 meeting this week and then submitted to G20 summit Later this year.

The key question for the Cornwall meeting will be whether the G7 can find other practical measures that go beyond the feel-good slogan. Vaccinate the world, Net zero emissions and “free and fair trade”.

On Covid-19, an obvious step is to substantially increase the number of Kovacs, The global vaccination plan. The United States and the United Kingdom will also be under pressure to start donating more vaccines to developing countries before they can achieve near-complete vaccination in their countries. In terms of domestic politics, this can be difficult. But if G7 evades the challenge, China is in a good position Become the engine of the global vaccination campaign.

Since China is now the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, G7 acting alone on climate issues is futile.But the group can advance the global agenda ahead of time COP26 At the November summit, some compelling joint measures were reached—for example, ending subsidies to the coal industry.

The global pandemic provides a very challenging background for the G7 summit. But the world crisis also provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate leadership. G7 should seize this opportunity-it may not come again.

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