OPINION: The G7’s focus on China and Russia missed a chance to improve our desperate world

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At the recent meeting of the G7 countries in London, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab stressed that the purpose of the gathering was to thrash out a new way into the perceived common future by allies bearing a herd mentality.

Let me paraphrase by quoting Raab more directly. He referred to those in attendance as “like-minded countries agile enough to work together”.

The G7 meeting comprising of the UK, US, Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan and France and included trusted allies in Australia, South Korea and India. From the African continent, South Africa also had a sit at the sophisticated table of the world’s developed democracies that have made it their business to police the rest of humanity and to set behavioural rules and regulations.

To clarify the above point I’d like to quote from the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s description of the G7 in terms that somehow revealed the G7’s motives than most delegates. He was quoted as vowing to mobilise the like-minded allies in the G7 to enforce “the international rules-based order” to which he warned that China will have to abide by.

By extension Russia, too, ought to play by the rules which, like China, none participated in their drafting and/or adoption. Such is the world we’re living in today. The most powerful have apportioned to themselves the authority to dictate “acceptable norms and standards” by which the G7 members will hold and judge them by. The choice of threats that escapes diplomatic speak is found in the use of choice adjectives such as “ought”, failing which the anticipated accused – China and Russia – will have to face the music. The music in this case in all likelihood refers to economic sanctions and political isolation.

This is a policy on which the US foreign policy has been based upon for far too long. It nevertheless thrived during the cantankerous four years of Donald Trump in the Oval office during which US-Russia relations plunged to their lowest in memory. Beijing’s contemporary rapid rise to power also did not sit too well with Washington, resulting in protracted trade wars that soured their bilateral relations to this day after incumbent President Joe Biden appeared to continue with identical anti-China posture.

I am a firm believer and supporter of strategic groupings of “like-minded” nations that come together to pursue common objectives, as long as such objectives are detrimental to no one and are not laced with malice.

The G7, as an influential group in the world clearly with economic means and enormous clout, would serve humanity a lot better if they stopped turning the group into an organisation of the high and mighty whose nefarious motive is to connive against perceived rivals such as China and Russia.

In this era of a global Covid-19 pandemic, the G7 would serve the universe much better if members focussed their attention on collective effort to make vaccines more accessible to the poorest of the poor in many regions of the world such as Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and parts of Asia, among others.

Within the G7 member-states alone, most of the world’s Covid-19 vaccines are manufactured with selfish patent rights which the progressive world has deemed immoral and worthy of being scrapped for the duration of the pandemic at least.

This is what the G7 ought to pay their attention to – how to make the world a worthy planet to live in for the rest of mankind.

By their suspicious agenda one annual meeting after the other, the G7 give credence to critics who view them as a “Gang of 7” which is up to no good.

At a time when our world is in the grip of unprecedented moral crisis and approaching a dangerous political crossroad, we can do with upright leadership of men and women who put others first instead of their sectarian interests.

The G7 need to choose the path – to borrow from Henry Kissinger, of “constructive engagement” rather than their perennial belligerent stance towards countries that they deem to be out of step with a set of rules them alone drafted, adopted and shamelessly impose on everyone without a second thought.

Such brinkmanship only exacerbates global tensions. They also give a sharp rise towards geopolitical competition between nations and groupings.

Back in the day former US President George W Bush, who together with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair led the unilateral invasion of Iraq under the spurious guise that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, preached a dangerous foreign policy in which he declared: “If you are not with us, you are against us.”

This kind of arrogant attitude and threatening behaviour persists among the powerful to this day. The G7’s latest gathering bears testimony to that. Yet it is never too late to turn the page and become a much better organisation in which much focus is given to the suffering of particularly women and children in a world where peace has become a scarce commodity.