Hiroshima: The G-7 Communique


Washington calls them the “steering committee of the free world,” western media, “global leaders” or leaders of “advanced democracies”.

However, the NY Times headline (5/21) noted their diminished stature: Biden is not Alone in Lacking Support at Home, so are Six Other Leaders (byline Peter Baker).

Italy’s PM Meloni topped the other Six with her 52% domestic approval. The Times article adds that the meeting offered the “unloved leaders” a welcome “chance to strut and posture and play the role of statesman shaping the forces of history”. Mr. Baker’s comment reflects the dwindling prestige of the neocolonial “West” in the eyes of the global South, whose concerns the conference purported to address but has historically ignored.


The official communique offers a lengthy list of  good intentions, but will any be acted on? “Human Rights, Refugees, Migration, Democracy” weighs in (lightly) at number 45 in the list of 65 items. The human rights catastrophe at the southern US border is overlooked. In reality the Seven are preoccupied with Ukraine and China.

Remarkably, the word NATO is omitted from the text, perhaps to avoid offending conference attendees from the global South, or possibly on the insistence of French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron has opposed Europe’s getting roped into Washington’s quarrels with China and has questioned NATO’s announced march into Asia. He has advocated European policies less subservient to a conflict-oriented Washington, an echo of former president Charles De Gaulle’s stance two generations ago.

China, unmentioned until the end of the communique, was the real target. Beijing denounced the gratuitous hostility of one of the Seven. «China on Monday firmly opposed and strongly condemned the wrongful claims made by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak after the Group of Seven (G7) summit in which he called China the “biggest challenge of our age to global security and prosperity” . . .  [Sunak was] simply parroting other people’s words that constituted malicious slanders in disregard of the facts» (Global Times 5/22).

The standout achievement of the conference was hailed in a Reuters headline. Hiroshima’s savoury pancake wins new fan in Britain’s Sunak.  Okonomiyaki is «widely considered “soul food” in Japan», Reuters informs readers.  US President Biden’s early departure further underscored the occasion’s irrelevance.

At the meeting only President Lula da Silva and Prime Minister N. D. Modi bore convincing authority. Lula represented Brazil, a recovering Monroe Doctrine victim, Modi India, a recovering victim of British colonialism. With his enviable 78% approval rating Modi towered over the Seven, as did Lula. Washington resents both leaders’ refusal to take its side in the war over Ukraine.

Washington is working hard to lure Modi away from his neutral position, but Indian non-alignment is a valued legacy from J. Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, who refused to participate in Washington’s “cold war”. The policy has served India quite well since 1947. Furthermore, the foreign policy savants in Washington don’t seem to realize how much its no limits partnership with Britain hurts the American image in India. The 2022 Indian film R.R.R. (Rise, Roar, Revolt), a blistering critique of British behavior during the time of the Raj, has drawn large audiences.

Meanwhile to humor Six of the Seven fed up with Washington’s China crusades, the US president assured them that he would “thaw” relations with China “soon”, calling the white balloon incident “silly”.

“De-risking” now replaces “de-coupling” as the obligatory catch phrase to «reflect European and Japanese concerns about pushing China too hard» (Reuters 5/22) even as the neocon / pro-war Biden Administration plans to risk war with China using Taiwan to «replicate Ukraine» (in the Chinese phrase).

In a parallel conference China set out to extend ties with the stans of Central Asia, anticipating trouble in the so-called Indo-Pacific, another newly minted catch phrase that eliminates China from Asia (rhetorically). But even South Korea and Japan are wary. After a lapse of fifty years’ peace memories of the savagery of Washington’s wars in Korea and Indochina still remain strong in the region.

As the G7 were meeting China was making diplomatic gains, in the Middle East, in Latin and Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Moreover, its two dramatic interventions – brokering an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and presenting a draft peace plan for the Ukraine – upstaged Washington.  And now there is a possible Chinese initiative to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians, yet another “challenge to global security”.

The recent accord between Riyadh and Tehran dismayed Washington, but Riyadh dismissed Washington’s pique.  Immediately after came the Ukraine peace plan that initially Washington derided, but then reversed itself, faced with criticism for opposing peace. Washington gave the Chinese initiative a reluctant nod.

Now that Secretary of State Blinken is off to Beijing again, the world hopes that Washington will temper its aggressive militaristic approach, which has done little to benefit mankind or even relieve the world’s many and massive hardships. Washington would be well advised to follow the Chinese example: promote concord not conflict.

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