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G7 in Hiroshima – Milestone of Western decline?

Waving goodbye? Not agreeing whether to wave at the world or not…

Words. Words. Words. And words missing.

Jan Oberg

June 1, 2023

The G7 countries’ share of the global GDP has fallen from about 70% in the 1960s, to 46% in 2019, to 31% in 2021 and is projected to fall to 28% in 2027. They make up less than 10% of the world’s people. According to the World Bank, between 2013 and 2021, all the G7 countries contributed 26% to world economic growth, and China 39%.

I shall argue here that the G7s are in denial and need a reality check. The Hiroshima summit will, I predict, be seen in the future as a milestone of Western decline and militarism’s self-destructive role in it.

These countries had agreed in advance on a statement of no less than 19 000 words, 40 pages. It contains all kinds of things and, thus, spreads thin with no consolidated, common strategy. It contains countless ”we reiterate,” ”once again condemn,” ”reaffirm,” ”stand united,” ”re-emphasise,” ”remain deeply concerned,” and ”continue to” – revealing the repetitive character of it all.

Since G7 meetings are informal, more political than economic, and decisions non-binding, they could, in principle, be golden opportunities for more free, creative and visionary thinking that would inspire and enthuse the rest of the world.

The statement professes that G7 will meet the global challenges. But in the midst of a deeply worrying global crisis and the emergence of a multipolar world with great new opportunities, there is not even an attempt at that.

The G7 leaders appeared to suffer from an intellectual jetlag.

Under ”concrete steps” – their priorities – they mention Ukraine, disarmament and nuclear freedom, economic security, clean energy economies, food security, and Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) – the latter being an old one containing many other items but infrastructure, too little too late to match the Belt and Road Initiative.

Secondary priorities are a free and open Pacific, global economic recovery, achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), evolution of the Multilateral Development Banks, decarbonisation, cooperation about various other climate- and energy-related forums, global health through vaccine manufacturing capacity, and AI.

Among those is also to ”cooperate on international migration and strengthen our common effort to fight the trafficking and smuggling of human beings.” But have they not done that so far? Will they address the one main reason people seek asylum and become refugees (not migrants!), namely warfare? No!

The only discernible set of principles or concepts are: the UN Charter, respect for borders, universal human rights, gender equality and human dignity; multilateralism and rules-based trading.

And that comes from 7 countries, most of which have never adhered to the UN Charter’s Article 1 about making peace by peaceful means and have violated other provisions on a daily basis, not the least as NATO members.

Perhaps because they met in Hiroshima – giving Ukraine’s pop-up president Zelensky an opportunity to say what everybody had heard before but also compare his falling Bakhmut with Hiroshima… – the G7 statement reads: ”Strengthen disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, towards the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all.”

Except for Japan, the G7 countries have never seriously done anything for that. NATO members embarked on the provocative expansion of NATO over 30 years and decided about the – intellectually absurd – measure of spending 2% of their GDP on the military as a floor, not a ceiling. And they’ve spent close to 100 US $ billion on arming Ukraine instead of investing brainpower in bringing about a ceasefire and a long-term solution. In their de facto fight to weaken Russia, they urge China to put pressure on Russia – the China they see as their main adversary whose mediation it turns down.

And this is stated in Japan, which is now investing hugely in re-militarisation – and in Hiroshima, where President Biden found no reason to say, ”I am sorry!”

The statement refers to the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 as the basic guideline that they have all grossly ignored. They omit every mention of The Treaty in the Prohibition of 2021 with 92 signatories, however of course none of the nuclear powers! 55 years-old words. Nothing new – also not the cynicism vis-a-vis humanity demanding nuclear freedom.

G7 doesn’t attempt bridge-building or cooperation. They single out adversaries: First, China – with the usual elements of the Western accusation industry but stated more strongly. Then Russia, North Korea, Myanmar, Iran – the latter shall never be allowed to have nuclear weapons (no mention of their own and Israel’s) adding involuntarily funny words about the JCPOA as a ’useful reference’ – an eminent victory for diplomacy in 2015 the US withdrew from. Then Syria but no mention of the illegal US bases there or of Syria’s re-integration into the Arab League. And of course no mention of the China-mediated rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

What words can’t be found? Conflict-resolution, defensive defence, common security, multi-polar, world order change, nonviolence, forgiveness, global dynamics, bridge-building, reconciliation and… Nord Stream. And BRICS.

The reasons they seem to still think of themselves as world order leaders must be a) a deep-rooted colonial centre-periphery worldview with themselves at the centre; b) a self-centredness preventing a respectful understanding of 90% of humanity, non-Western thinking and world order changes, c) a history of teaching with Bible or Sword, not learning, d) denial of their own declines (in more fields), and e) their hubris-like intoxication from spending out-of-all-proportions 50% of the world’s military expenditures.

To avoid more cold and warm wars and secure a peaceful future for all, the Rest must wisely abstain from every tit-for-tat, act constructively and benevolently seek – in spite of all – to help the West accommodate to the future cooperative world.

This article was published by Wenzhou News on May 30, 2023
七国集团广岛峰会——西方衰落的里程碑? – yet another Chinese media that I shall write comments for on a regular basis.

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