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Biden puts the G-7 on his side to deal with China challenge

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

The US president not only wants to impose tariffs in a trade war, but he also seeks to join forces with Europe to create a concrete strategy against China

The G-7 summit, which ended this Sunday in Cornwall (south-west England), has been called the summit of the pandemic. With all of that implies. 

The coronavirus has not only already caused about 128,000 deaths on both sides of the Atlantic, but it has also highlighted the increasingly important weight of China on the global table. 

Therefore, the objective of the seven richest democracies in the world was to guarantee their ability to influence, a particularly important mission for the United States, with which the Asian giant competes for world hegemony.

The big dilemma, however, was finding the right balance between extreme competition and the necessary cooperative coexistence with the Xi Jinping regime for global challenges such as climate change. This is perhaps one of the most complex coexistence paradigms in recent history.

Although the Munich Security Conference has decided to postpone its 2021 edition, this month it published a comprehensive report on how liberal democracies can “compete where they must and cooperate with competitors where they can.”

The fact that Boris Johnson, in his role as host of the G7, put forward a working group on the sensitive issue demonstrates its relevance and, at the same time, how difficult it is to reach a consensus.

Unlike Russia, which is seen as an actively hostile state that needs to be treated as such, the ‘premier’ believes that with China a hybrid approach of rivalry and cooperation is needed. 

It is a vision shared by the Prime Minister of the Italian Government, the technocrat Mario Draghi, former head of the European Central Bank (ECB) and current president of the G-20.

Joe Biden, however, is betting on a tougher line. In many respects, it could be said that the current US president does not differ much from the line maintained by his predecessor, Donald Trump. Both share the view that China not only seeks to become the world’s “modern workshop”, but also an active ideological alternative to the liberal order.

Of course, the response of one and the other to this challenge is very different. Biden’s policy is not only to impose sanctions or tariffs in a trade war but also to join forces with Europe to compete, making the union of the West a more compelling example for countries caught between China and the United States.

In short, while Trump was obsessed with commercial competition – which led to great tensions with the EU – Biden is starring in his first European tour trying to propose to his transatlantic allies a credible strategy with which to challenge the new capitalist model of the Chinese state.

In this sense, the American president was especially interested in the G-7 leaders not only denouncing the abuses of Beijing against the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang province but agreeing to act in a coordinated manner.

And it has achieved its purpose, because the G-7 (United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, plus the EU) has agreed to launch a major infrastructure plan to counteract the advance of the Asian giant. 

This is the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative, to “respond to the needs of low and middle-income countries,” the White House reported in a statement. 

In short, a clear response to the Chinese project One Belt One Road or OBOR, which aims to revitalize the so-called Silk Road by modernizing infrastructure and telecommunications to improve connectivity between Asia and Europe.

The ‘Sherpas’ of the US Administration pointed out that they do not want to “force countries to make a choice.” 

“It’s more of a kind of recognition that there is still a huge infrastructure gap globally,” they explained to the press. But the counterattack is more than evident.

For Beijing, the days when global decisions are dictated by a small group of countries are long over, as it believes that world affairs should be managed through consultation with all countries, large or small. Through statements by the spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London posted on its website, the Asian giant reiterated that “there is only one system and one international order in the world, which has the United Nations at its core.”

Biden’s victorious image at this summit contrasts with that left by Johnson. Their goal for this post-Brexit-era host debut was to show that the UK, despite having left the EU, is still a major player. 

He wanted to steer the debate towards economic recovery from the pandemic and the vaccination campaign, in which the United Kingdom is in the lead, having supplied the first dose to 75% of the adult population and the two punctures to 54%.

However, the G-7 summit has been dominated by the great controversy between London and Brussels over the new controls to be imposed after the historic divorce, the so-called ‘sausage war’. The bilateral meetings with the European leaders have been very tense, especially with the French Emmanuel Macron.

In this sense, although Johnson wanted to strengthen ties with Biden, the newspapers have brought to light the “diplomatic reprimands” from the White House to Downing Street, warning him that if he does not comply with the agreement with the EU, there will be no free agreement trade between the United Kingdom and the United States.

In the press conference in which Johnson announced the conclusions of the summit on Sunday, he stressed that the tensions related to Brexit were only a “small part of the discussions” of the leaders of the seven richest democracies in the world. 

The ‘premier’ preferred to focus on the G-7 donation in the next year to developing countries of 1 billion doses of vaccines. With which, by the way, they also seek to counteract the ‘vaccine diplomacy’ of Beijing and Moscow. 

The figure seems generous, but according to the World Health Organization, it is 10 billion doses less than what is needed to vaccinate 70% of the world.

In any case, the controversy surrounding the Irish Protocol has been the center of attention. 

The tactic of Number 10 is now to blame the EU for the major problems (both political and logistical) that exist in Northern Ireland, accusing it of not understanding that the British province is part of the United Kingdom.

However, it was Johnson who agreed to leave Northern Ireland with a different status than the rest of the country after Brexit, by refusing to remain in the customs union. 

As a consequence, products now passing from Great Britain (Scotland, England, and Wales) to Northern Ireland must go through a series of checks. 

But the British government threatens not to carry them out and Brussels warns that it is willing to take legal action and impose tariffs.

Photo by Jack Hill – WPA Pool / Getty Images

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