No institution is perfect, but some are more suited than others to handle a situation that is ongoing. Old ways of thought die hard, and the herd instinct that resulted in the G-7 uniting in an effort at destroying the foe of the past, in the process ignoring the foe of the present, was visible in 2022. South Korea is under increasing threat from its nuclear-armed cousin to the north, which has sent Seoul reminders of its destructive capabilities on almost a weekly basis during the past year. Not that Pyongyang has received any appreciable blowback for this from the EU, the US, the UK and other components of the World War II Cold War 1.0 Atlanticist alliance. Each has had its attention diverted back to Europe, and to a world view that regards Russia as by far the biggest threat facing them. The very Russia that under (these days much reviled) Vladimir Putin kept on knocking at the doors of the EU and even NATO for entry without any success. The President of the Russian Federation was merely following in the footsteps of CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and Putin’s predecessor in the Kremlin Boris Yeltsin when he made such overtures. Unluckily for those anchored to the St Petersburg school of policy that regards Europe as the navel of the world with Russia needing to be the diamond in its midpoint, the open advocacy of the majority of Atlanticist leaders of a strategy of destroying Russia economically, geographically and societally has proved beyond doubt that while Russia may consider itself quintessentially European, that feeling is not reciprocated in the countries to its west. The fuse that ignited the 24 February 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces was lit in 2014, when a Russia-friendly elected President of Ukraine was driven out of the country and replaced by Petro Poroshenko, who had an almost atavistic hatred of Russia and indeed, any individual whose mother tongue was Russian, including those located in his own country. While dinosaurs have disappeared except on screen, those still clinging on to a reality that became extinct by 1991 not merely survive, but thrive. It is possible through looking at their writings and speeches to discern a direct correlation between those who detested and sought to destroy Russia and those who regarded China as the great shining hope of the future. To this day, that illusion persists, revealing itself in such futile pursuits as beseeching CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping to order President Putin to withdraw his forces from Ukraine. Lost as they are in the mists of the past, leaders of the G-7 seem unable to comprehend that Asia has replaced Europe as the vortex of geopolitical tensions, and that their countries have entered Cold War 2.0, a systemic contest between the biggest authoritarian state and the largest democracies.
The G-7 is not a monolith, as witness its refusal to damage itself economically by stopping purchases of Russian oil and gas in, for example, the suicidal manner that Germany has done. Even France and Italy appear to be disconcerted by the future consequences of adopting what may be called the Biden-Johnson line, which is to melt down Russia in the expectation that such an outcome would spell the end of Putin. Instead, it is becoming a marker signifying the moving away from hitherto compliant countries of the sway of the Atlanticist countries. Apart from Japan and South Korea, no non-Atlanticist country has joined hands with the Atlanticist powers in measures that they anticipate will destroy Russia much before they themselves fall victim to the unforgiving consequences to their economies of seeking to cut themselves off from a country that has the highest Gross National Resources (GNR) in the world. The G-20 could provide a reality check before the G-7 crosses the line beyond which disaster awaits the world. Once peers of the EU in South America, Africa and Southern Asia (that arc of land from the Gulf countries and Iran to Indonesia and Vietnam) become members of an expanded G-20, the resulting body would be by far the most representative and the most capable of ensuring such requisites for human progress as a free and open Indo-Pacific. Of course, China is likely to act the spoiler in the G-20, much as Pakistan has embraced a similar role in SAARC, but ways could be found of bypassing such sabotage, once the Atlanticist powers get real and back away from pushing Putin’s Russia into a corner that gives the Kremlin the choice between defeat and the use of what may be termed the “special weapons” that Russia has in abundance. If any international construct can prevent such a catastrophe, it is the G-20 during the year that India under Narendra Modi has been given the presidency.
MDN