May 25, 2024

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G7 loses influence amid tensions with China

G7 loses influence amid tensions with China

G7 leaders sent clear messages at the end of their summit in Hiroshima on Sunday. They call on China to stop its “interference measures” and affirm that they will support Ukraine against Russia at any cost, “however long it takes”. However, the scope of their resolutions remains limited, and their influence is weakened, to the benefit of emerging powers.

“It’s obvious: the G7 is losing its feathers,” says Charles-Philippe David. “There is a sharp decline in GDP among the G7 countries, and the group, as an institution, is less influential from a geopolitical point of view,” he says.

Rorom Chantal, a professor at the Université de Moncton who specializes in international relations, explains that new players are taking advantage of this loss of influence: “In 10 years, there will be only one Western economic power among the five largest countries in the world: the United States. The other four will be in Asia: Japan (G7 member) , but also China, India and South Korea.

This is one of the reasons why the G7 has invited India, Brazil and Indonesia as visitors to the summit. Justin Trudeau also met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva there. Both their countries are part of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), whose influence is becoming comparable to that of the G7, Mr. Chantal says.

What is the place for Canada?

The latter says the G7 has become “out of date” because “its announcements no longer have the significance of the past and they no longer concern China”. Mr. David agrees: “These summits do not lead to concrete results. The G7 is like a thermometer that allows us to gauge the geopolitical climate.

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What does the thermometer say about Canada’s importance in the world? Under Justin Trudeau, the country is “losing momentum,” and Mr. David believes.

The professor recalls Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s efforts to convince the great powers to reduce their nuclear arsenals during the Cold War, or Brian Mulroney’s efforts to convince his colleagues to allow South Africa in response to apartheid. “Justin Trudeau can take inspiration from his father and take the lead on the gun issue, which is gaining momentum at the moment, but that’s not his style,” he says.

Last Tuesday, Angus Reid published the company A study Almost half of Canadians think Canada’s international reputation is in decline. Approval rates for Canadian foreign policy are at their lowest level since the start of the Trudeau government, falling from 79% in 2016 to 51% in 2023, according to the same poll.

Mr. Trudeau pushed himself on some issues during the summit. He criticized Italy’s far-right leader Giorgia Meloni for her stances on LGBTQ+ people and convinced the group’s other member states to form a united front against Chinese intervention.

China, the elephant in the room

Political interference, military exercises in Taiwan, trade with Russia… Xi Jinping’s China was also criticized on the sidelines of the summit, although G7 members reiterated their desire to continue their economic cooperation with the country. Most populous on the planet.

“It’s a balancing act,” says Patrick LeBland, a professor at the University of Ottawa and an expert in international economic relations. “On the one hand, we want to reduce dependence. [et l’influence de] China, especially in the technology sector. But Xi Jinping’s government can exhibit aggressive and unpredictable behavior. So we want to minimize the risk of military conflicts at any cost.

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During a press conference at the conclusion of the summit on Sunday, Justin Trudeau declared that it is “necessary to continue to defend ourselves against authoritarian countries that use their economic power to exert unjustified pressure on others.”

Recall that last week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded that China itself was a victim of the West’s economic coercion. Mr. Chantal rightly points out that “it was the United States that practically invented economic coercion” and that “calls from the West to unite the Global South to counter China’s growing influence can be perceived as hypocritical.”

Zelensky monopolizes attention

The G7 countries also addressed climate change and humanitarian aid for “poor or developing” countries, Mr. As Trudeau recalled, it highlighted the group’s commitment to provide $600 billion in aid for infrastructure projects by 2027.

One person, however, monopolized the media attention and hid the rest of the files. Of course Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky went there. He was given more military aid on Saturday, particularly from the United States. Joe Biden also pledged $375 million worth of artillery, ammunition and armored vehicles. However, Brazil’s president said he would not send weapons to Ukraine, despite saying he wanted a ceasefire.

Charles-Philippe David argues that the “most important recent aid measure” is the US’s promise to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

He said that only military victory can change the situation. Sanctions as announced [vendredi] That may not be enough to sway Putin, because Russia still has large cash reserves and continues to sell its oil. It is precisely the war in Ukraine that Mr. David says. “On this issue, they really make all the difference.”

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