“We have a world to run”

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.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Donald Trump has called for Russia to be reinstated as a regular member of what is now known as the G7 group
    Even Trump can suggest something sensible occasionally. If Russia regains membership we will have a G7 +1.

    I really don’t get the feeling that Trump understands anything about N. Korea but negotiations sure beat Bolton’s bombing ideas.

    Ack, I just found the menus for the G7 meeting. https://globalnews.ca/news/4262459/g7-summit-food-menu/

    I don’t know about the rest of the delegations but I think the Canadians (and Trump) are going to be in shock! No Timmies, no shawarmas, no shu mai! Not even a samosa! No McDonalds or KFC for our visitors.

    The Charlevoix duck and Canadian lobster sound delicious.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I think it would be positive if the other nations presented a G6 statement. In the US we see ourselves and our nation as so powerful and rich and wonderful that what we think about an issue matters no matter how far away, no matter how local in nature, no matter whether the people making the issue think well of us or poorly. We see ourselves as invaluable.

    Getting kicked out of the club in as minor a way as being excluded from the G7 statement wouldn’t hurt our national security or sovereignty, but it might be a positive in the sense that other people in this world also have national security and sovereignty concerns, and in most cases what we think should be irrelevant. Indeed, the only times when it should be relevant are the times when we are causing those national security and sovereignty concerns, and since I’d rather we not cause those concerns, in another sense we should *never* be relevant. Other nations need to see the US get shut out and then need to see the US impotently whine about it without accomplishing anything, because the demonstration of the limits of our power is of benefit to the national security and sovereignty of the rest of the world.

    And, indeed, that is the possible negative consequence of talking with someone. While the US has always negotiated with terrorists, we haven’t negotiated with every terrorist. There are times and contexts where negotiation can send an emboldening signal to those who would kill and wage war to achieve their policy (and even domestic political!) goals. The rest of the world has negotiated with a faithless US too many times, emboldening the nation too much. Imagine if Boeing (and other defense industry) executives, wealthy members of congress, and selected US industries faced global sanctions for bombing other nations the way that Russia has for invading the Ukraine or overthrowing democratically elected governments in Chile, Argentina, Iran, and elsewhere. What national security can any small nation have after the US invasion of Grenada went unpunished?

    No, there are risks to speaking. In the vast, vast majority of times, speaking is preferable. But the US itself provides the cautionary tale of becoming overly reliant on negotiation.

  3. says

    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.

    Well…I think it has definitely gotten a solid wink and nod with calling our POTUS the “leader of the free world.” (This, though, is coming from some silly Millennial who, until they just now looked it up, had no idea about the origins of that phrase.)

  4. cartomancer says

    The perspective from the UK is a little different. Given that Russia tried to murder two people in Britain a couple of months ago, with a reckless radioactive poison that could have killed dozens of others, we’re not terribly keen to readmit them to normal diplomatic negotiations.

    I mean, yes, the Yemenis and others are perfectly within their rights to exclude us from any diplomatic meetings for selling the Saudis all the weapons they’re being massacred with too.

    Also, given that the US never agrees to being bound by any kind of international agreement, and swiftly breaks any that it has pretended to honour if its own gains are at stake, I’m not sure why any of the rest of us invite it to anything anymore.

    That said, Russia and the US are pretty much as bad as each other these days, so maybe they can talk to each other for the express purpose of keeping down nuclear tensions in Eastern Europe, and the rest of us can discuss the important things with China.

  5. johnson catman says

    The “We have a world to run” was the phrase that stood out to me. This coming from someone who has just imposed tariffs on goods produced in the countries of our allies. It sounds like just so much bullshit, the same as it always is with 45.
    And since you spoke of North Korea, aren’t you so, so, so, SO glad that 45 knows so much about the situation that he doesn’t even need to consult any experts on how to handle the meeting next week?

  6. Mano Singham says

    jrkrideau @#1,

    I notice that one meal features veal. I thought that the terrible way that veal is produced had made it an undesirable dish that was being boycotted?

  7. file thirteen says

    Can someone explain to me why there even needs be a G7 (or G8) when there is a G20 and all members of the former are members of the latter?

  8. Sunday Afternoon says

    @7: a more exclusive club?

    When Russia was invited, I recall the BBC reporting it as “G7 + Russia”, which I’m sure the Russians hated.

    The reason Russia was disinvited was, I understand, something to do with their annexation of Crimea. So it’s only natural that Trump wants the G6 to fold on this.

    And was it just me, or did anyone else read “run” as “ruin”?

  9. rjw1 says

    file thirteen,

    Agreed. An organization that includes Canada but not India, China, or South Korea is just the obsolete Atlantic Club plus Japan. Most G7 members are not ‘leading economies’ any more and Russia has never been a ‘leading economy’.

    The G20 is far more representative.

  10. lorn says

    Given that Russia giving away the Crimea was a fluke, a drunken concession made with the thought , by the parties on all sides, that Ukraine was and always would be a Russian satellite state, I don’t see Crimea as anything but historically Russian. Ukraine and the west like to think of Crimea as being Ukrainian but it has been Russian for better than a century. This is like a renter thinking they really own the property because the turn of phrase is to take about ‘their home’ without referencing the landlord.

    The invasion of Ukraine proper is of course a something completely different. The USSR fell apart and Ukraine returns to what it was: an independent nation.

    There is one point that Trump gets right: We have a world to run. I don’t agree with any assertion that totalitarianism, oligarchy, or elites in general running things. Even though it seems clear that is how he meant it. Rather I suggest it offers an insight into man’s relationship with reality in general and the way things work specifically.

    The theory for a long time was that things were the way they were simply because things out of our, perhaps anyone’s, control made them this way. To me ‘a world to run’ simply points out the rapidly emerging fact that things are the way they are by design of a relatively few mere mortals who control a lot of wealth and power.

    The good news is that if the rules and outcomes can be designed and willfully pushed they can also be changed and another design and paradigm pursued. The winners were selected, and they can be deselected. Certain areas and populations are mainly poor and suffer simply because it was profitable to make it work that way.

    Reality is what we humans have made of it. None of this has to be this way. We can make it work any way we have the energy and will to make happen. Neither nature, nor the universe, care.

  11. Reginald Selkirk says

    But Russia is being represented -- by their proxy whom they helped elect to the presidency of the USA.

  12. blf says

    Most G7 members are not ‘leading economies’ any more

    Eh? From Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge (as of 2018):

    ● 7 of the 7 top-ranked advanced economies with the current largest GDP and with the highest national wealth (United States, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Canada).
    ● 7 of the 15 top-ranked countries with the highest net wealth per capita (United States, France, Japan, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Germany).
    ● 7 of 10 top-ranked leading export countries.

  13. rjw1 says


    I should have been more explicit. You missed the word “most”. Compared to numbers 1,2and 3, economies 4,5 and 6 are not significant in the long term. That’s why the G20 is more important, it’s focused on the future.

    Why aren’t the rest of the 8/15 economies represented as well or the other 3/10 exporting countries? Any organization that doesn’t include China and India for example is irrelevant.

  14. WhiteHatLurker says

    Well, it used to be the G6 until Canada got invited in.

    I disagree that Russia should be invited back. I hope (nay, expect) that Canada would not welcome them either. China makes more sense to be included. (Or India, to stick with democracies.) The US stands alone in wanting Russian inclusion, except for the still wet behind the ears Italian placeholder. (Okay -- that might be harsh, but how long will the current state go on in Italy?)

    I do like Reginald Selkirk’s comment, though I suspect Russia is aiming to place more proxies at the table over the next few years. Trump has certainly showed dogged (and doggish) devotion to Putin.

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