By: Sputnik News
Posted : 30.5.2017
The two-day G7 Summit in Sicily has exposed deep divisions within the bloc. Speaking to Sputnik, Argentinian political scientist Daniel Blinder highlighted that without Russia and China, the G7 meeting’s agenda had no real relevance. The latest G7 agenda bore little if any relevance without Russia and China’s presence, Argentinian political scientist Daniel Blinder of the University of Buenos Aires, told Sputnik Mundo.
The two-day summit, which took place in the Sicilian city of Taormina, Italy, on May 26-27, has exposed contradictions among the participants. The agenda of the meeting was focused on the fight against terrorism, climate change, and the refugee crisis.
According to Blinder, the bloc, comprised of seven countries that accumulate over 60% of world’s wealth — Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Japan, Britain, and Italy — is experiencing a «crisis of leadership.»
«The world is no longer the same as it was in the G7 era [in the 1970s]. That explains why the bloc does not include countries like Russia and China: its agenda is irrelevant. Its ability to response to its own challenges is very limited, just because [G7 countries] sidelined such significant players [as Russia and China],» Blinder told Sputnik.
The only «big player» at the meeting was US President Donald Trump, the Argentinian academic noted, however, this player has strong protectionist incentives.
«In any event, one should not be naive: the US has always been pursuing protectionism,» Blinder said, «It is important to remember that all the countries of the G7 group show themselves as big liberals in foreign trade, but in their domestic policy they do not exercise such an approach. They protect their economies and manage [money] flows to remain economic powers.»
Meanwhile, the G7 leaders failed to reach consensus on climate change with Donald Trump still refusing to endorse the global Paris climate change agreement.
«The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,» German Chancellor Angela Merkel said commenting on the issue.
According to the Argentinian academic, Trump’s position is quite understandable.
«Trump has adopted a position of a businessman in regard to this matter,» Blinder told Sputnik, «His energy policy envisions the use of fossil fuels, while Europe is pursuing the policy of transition to renewable sources [of energy] and environmental protection.»
«This creates a conflict of productivity: while on the one side of the Atlantic [politicians] are investing in the development of new energy sources, on the other side [their counterparts] continue to rely upon traditional crude,» the academic pointed out.
However, despite simmering contradictions, the G7 players are likely to maintain cooperation in the medium term.
«In the medium-term, the [G7] alliance will be maintained,» Blinder believes, «They will continue to be linked in the military sphere in the long run. However, political tendencies in any bloc intensify disagreements. The growth of Russia’s military potential and Chinese expansion cast doubt on the future of the US and Europe if the Old Continent ceases to feel protected as a result of Trump’s politics,» he concluded.
Indeed, following Donald Trump’s first foreign trip to Europe as the US president, some EU leaders openly demonstrated their frustration.
For instance, addressing an election rally in Munich, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear that Europeans should now rely on themselves.
«The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over. I’ve experienced that in the last few days; we Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands,» Merkel said.
Speaking to Russian newspaper Vzglyad, German political analyst Alexander Rahr, director of the German-Russian Forum, characterized the recent summit as the «most ill-fated gathering» in years.
«In NATO, they have all been speaking different languages for a long time already. Some of the Europeans wanted to discuss Ukraine and the relationship with Russia. However Trump has no interest in these issues. He treats Europe as a junior partner and leaves no room for any landmark changes in the mutual relationship,» Rahr said, adding that the Americans and the Europeans have a very few common grounds.