The G7’s Reckless Obliviousness to Reality
The G7 summit in Hiroshima confirmed once again that, despite their combative rhetoric, this group of seven “industrialized” nations is becoming increasingly irrelevant in today’s world. Whereas they used to be able to wield their economic clout, they only represent 27% of global GDP today, of which a big part is just financial hot air. And although the seven heads of state and government were assembled on the site of the first use of the atomic bomb, the reality of potential nuclear annihilation today apparently did not penetrate into their discussions.
The length of the final document drawn up (65 points spread out over 44 pages, plus six lengthy “Reference Documents” on various subjects) indicates, according to some astute observers, that there was not much unity among the participants.
As expected, the leaders vowed to continue supporting Ukraine “as long as it takes” to defeat Russia. After months of hesitation, and at the urging of U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, President Biden announced that F-16 fighter jets would be supplied to Ukraine, although probably not for another six months or a year. Unless, of course, NATO pilots and maintenance personnel are sent to operate them. There is no consensus among the G7 on that point. Meantime, NATO is carrying out its biggest ever exercises in Europe (Defender 2023), and Ukraine has been launching shelling attacks inside Russia.
Ukraine President Zelenskyy made a carefully staged entrance at the summit, with a dramatic disembarkment from a French government jet. He demanded, as usual, more money from the G7 member states. The “Leaders Statement on Ukraine” basically takes up his position, dictated from London, that any just peace requires “the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops and military equipment, and this must be included in any call for peace”. As the G7 leaders know, this will never happen – but it will feed the war machine.
On the other hand, a number of initiatives have been taken in favor of a resolution of the crisis. China’s official envoy on Eurasian affairs, senior diplomat Li Hui, was in Kyiv last week where he met different government leaders, and will be going to Moscow this week. The Vatican has also set up a new Peace Mission headed by Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, in spite of the public rejection of the Pope’s initiative by Zelenskyy, during his visit to Rome May 13 (cf. SAS 20/23). A group of African nations, including the African Union, has offered to mediate the crisis (cf. below), while Brazil’s President Lula da Silva is working with other nations to form a “Peace Club” on Ukraine (cf. below).