In case you were sleeping through the news this week, there was another one of those “big” international summits this week. The leaders of some of the world’s wealthiest democracies assembled in the Bavarian Alps, where the 48th G7 Summit took place from June 26 to June 28.
The summit kicked off with a series of bilateral meetings on Sunday before the bloc’s leaders will jointly discuss the most pressing global issues on Monday. That includes the Russian invasion of Ukraine, surging food and energy prices, Covid-19, the world economy as well as the climate crisis at a time not short on global challenges. Check out a mainstream media summary of the G7 Summit below.
The G7 accomplishments?
In real diplomatic style, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poked fun at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s infamous bare-chested photos. “Staged nonsense … they look like they’ve woken up after a stag do.” Critics slam G7 leaders for “sitting around for photo opportunities and trying to look hip and trendy without ties.”
The above is how many media outlets reported the G7 Summit events. And the actual results? See the G7 Leaders’ Communiqué – click here. To the reader that does not want to read it all, here is the “street talk” G7 Communiqué Executive Summary version.
- Support Ukraine at any cost.
- Putin is bad, very bad.
- Send Ukraine more money and arms.
- Inflation is bad.
- Climate Change is bad.
- Five-year $600 billion global infrastructure plan to counter China – that members will renege on?
- Build vaccine factories for new pandemics – that they create?
- Yes, all that “woke” stuff too.
In any case, another G7 has passed – most did not notice it. While the Group of Seven, as the G7 is officially called, still claims a global leadership role, experts are questioning the bloc’s relevance against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving global economy.
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In 2018, Jim O’Neill and Alessio Terzi wrote that the G7, “in its current formulation, no longer has a reason to exist, and it should be replaced with a more representative group of countries.” They called for a revised G7 group, which would replace Germany, France, and Italy with a common Eurozone representative, swap Canada for Brazil, and most importantly, add China and India, making it more representative economically and in population terms without adding more seats to the table.
The G7 countries currently represent 43% of the world economy, down from nearly 70% three decades ago. In terms of population, the bloc is even less representative, with its member countries accounting for less than 10% of the world’s people, according to the latest estimates from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Despite these numbers, proponents of the G7 think the group still has value. See this in the chart below and learn more here.
In terms of military power, without the US the G7 is insignificant. The US-led the ranking of countries with the highest military spending in 2021, with 801 billion US dollars dedicated to the military. That constituted 38 percent of the total military spending worldwide that year, which amounted to 2.1 trillion US dollars. See this in the chart below and learn more here.
Though the scenery from the Bavarian Alps was spectacular, the G7 Summit was not so spectacular. A few people will make some “graft” money, but the general population will see little benefit from its results. If people were asked, most would not even realize it occurred. There is a significant disconnect between global leaders and their populations.
Is the G7 relevant? In terms of population demographics, the G7 is not very “inclusive.” In terms of economic and military power – it’s all about the US. It is reasonable to ask whether these meetings are relevant, though one supposes it’s always good to maintain relationships.
By Tom Williams at Right Wire Report
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