Blinken and G7 partners turn their attention to ‘democratic values’

London – Group of 7 was formed to help coordinate economic policy among the world’s top industrial powers. Since four decades, it has dealt with energy shortages, global poverty and financial crises.

But Secretary of State Antony J. With Blinken meeting with a group of 7 foreign ministers in London this week, a major item on the agenda would be Mr Blinken said in remarks to the press on Monday, “defending democratic values ​​and open society

Obviously, that defense is against China and, to some extent, for Russia. While the economic and public function of recovering from coronovirus has been paramount, Mr. Blinken is also appointing a group of 7 – from the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – to coordinate with an allies to compete globally between democracy and the authoritarian philosophy of Moscow and Beijing.

A turning point in this week’s meeting is the presence of nations that are not a formal group of 7 members: India, South Korea, Australia and South Africa. Also, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is Brunei.

It is no coincidence that those guest nations are in the Indo-Pacific region, making them central to Western efforts to grapple with Beijing’s growing economic strength and regional ambition. China was the subject of a 90-minute opening session on Tuesday morning, and the program concluded with a group dinner on the Indo-Pacific.

“The broader context for these meetings is China and the authoritarian challenge China presents to the democratic world,” said Ash jain, A senior fellow at Atlantic Council.

Mr. Jain said that the group is now emphasizing common values ​​on shared economic interests. “Unlike the group of highly industrialized nations, the G-7 is being re-divided as a group of like-minded democracies.” They are changing the emphasis, ”he said.

Many of the countries represented at the meeting do big business with China and Russia, complicating efforts to align them against those countries. Participants said that China’s pattern of economic coordination was a specific topic of conversation on Tuesday.

But President Donald J. Those efforts were simplified by Trump’s departure, who repeatedly feuded with a group of 7 allies and confused them with calls to reinstate Russia, which Was expelled in 2014 What was the group of 8 after the removal of Crimea from Ukraine.

Nor is it a coincidence that the expanded guest list coincides with groups in 10 countries and the European Union, South Africa and Brunei, collectively organizing them as short-handed as “D-10” New world body by proponents of doing. Those supporters include UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the host of this week’s gathering and the architect of its guest list.

Mr Johnson has invited India, Australia and South Korea to send a group of 7 nations this summer to their heads in Cornwall, with a group of like-minded democracies to pursue common interests and tackle similar challenges. Citing his ambition to work. “

President Biden has similarly suggested that the world is forming groups in competition camps, divided by the openness of their political system. In his Addressed to congress Last week, Mr. Biden said that “America’s opponents, the world’s autocratic, are betting” that the country’s battered democracy cannot be restored.

As a candidate, Mr. Biden Is also committed to Holding a “summit for democracy” during his first year in office, and officials say plans for such an event are underway. Asked on a tuesday Interview with the Financial Times As to which countries could be invited to such a summit, Mr. Blinken did not respond directly.

And Wednesday’s agenda for the gathering includes a session on open society, including issues of media freedom and disintegration. Other sessions over two days include Syria, Russia and its neighbors Ukraine and Belarus, Myanmar and Afghanistan.

Some groups of 7 countries are concerned about the creation of a new global body that may contribute to the Cold War-style polarization along ideological lines.

At a joint news conference on Monday, Mr Blinken and his British counterpart, Dominic Raab, were not cautious to suggest that they were forming a new club.

Asked if a new “coalition of democracies” could emerge, Mr Raab said he had not seen such “theological” terms, but a growing need for “agile groups” of like-minded countries. Have seen those who share the same values. Want to protect the multilateral system. “

Addressing the same question, Mr. Blinken was careful to note that this week’s meetings did not amount to conspiring against Beijing.

“It is not our objective to try to contain China, or to hold China,” Mr. Blinken said. “What we are trying to do is to maintain the international rules-based order that our countries have invested over so many decades, for the benefit, I am not just about our citizens, but around the world.” I will argue with people. ” – By the way, China. (This line is not for public consumption only. American diplomats have given the same message to foreign counterparts in private, almost verbally.)

But a The interview One night before CBS’s “60 Minutes” broadcast, Mr. Blinken clarified how the United States sees China’s rise.

“I think that over time, China believes it can and should happen and will be the dominant country in the world,” Mr. Blink said. China is challenging the international order, saying that “we are going to stand up and defend it”.

Jeremy Shapiro, A former State Department official in the Obama administration who is now director of research at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said informally expanding the Group of 7 is easier than building a new body.

“It is always a pain, from a government standpoint, to invent a new platform because you have to have endless discussions about who and who it is, and how it works, and its relationship with the United Nations.” The need is there, ”Mr. Shapiro said.

He said the group of 7, whose mission had become unclear in recent years, has acquired a new sense of purpose as it seeks to organize Trump’s post-democratic world following Chinese and Russian threats.

“You will work hard to watch for the last five years or more because they told Russia to do one thing in the interest of the G-7,” Mr. Shapiro said. “There was not much to do.”

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