Donald Trump has called for Russia to be reinstated as a regular member of what is now known as the G7 group consisting of the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada. It used to be the G8 until Russia was expelled in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea.
“Why are we having the meeting without Russia being in the meeting?” Trump asked reporters on his way to the G7.
“Russia should be in the meeting, it should be a part of it. You know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run and the G7, which used to be the G8 – they threw Russia out – they should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
I think this is a good call by Trump and he has been supported by the new prime minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte but opposed by the leaders of France, UK, and Germany. Trump’s break with others in the G7 has led to suggestions from the French president that the US might be excluded from the final joint communiqué, so we might be down to a G6, at least in terms of statements.
Like his other positive move to initiate what seems like an open-ended dialogue with North Korea without preconditions, these moves are being condemned by the foreign policy establishment and hardliners who seem to be more concerned with punitive actions that have a greater likelihood to lead to conflict than in opening channels of communication with one’s perceived adversaries. My position is that talks are always a good thing, whatever the occasion and whoever the other party is. What have you got to lose by talking?
But there was one thing in Trump’s statement that, perhaps inadvertently, revealed how these leaders view their role, and that was when he said that “we have a world to run”.
Yes, we always knew that the US and its allies see the rest of the world as subservient to them but that was not explicitly stated. That world domination was achieved more indirectly through agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and at meetings like Davos and other high level gatherings of the international oligarchs. While lip service was paid to the sovereignty of all the other nations, the tacit assumption was a neo-colonial one, that those countries must be subservient to the wishes of the big economic and military powers. Trump has little use for such subtleties.