President Biden is participating in a virtual G7 summit this weekend. This is important news, but it’s been relegated to secondary status because of the distress associated with th southern cold snap and COVID-19 concerns.
There was little fanfare. There were no contentious efforts to get Putin readmitted nor to have the meeting held in person to boost the value of a Presidential real estate investment. Instead, it is to be an effort by the leaders of key Western nations to address differences in policy concerns. By ironing out problems outside of the influence of potentially antagonistic international bodies, like-minded nations can present a stronger stance on the world stage.
Boris Johnson of the UK is the official host, and he is expected to press for coordination on manufacture and distribution of vaccines. This is likely to be warmly received by all of the member nations, who are dealing with their own problems related to COVID-19. Japan, in particular, is facing significant pressure to effectively eliminate the disease’s transmission if they wish to salvage their Olympic games. While many nations have made clear they expect the games to be cancelled, Japan has been desperately trying to host them due to the expected economic revitalization they expect will follow.
World economics is another key agenda item. The various leaders are expected to present different ideas on how to best regain a strong economic footing post-pandemic. These discussions are not expected to result in immediate policy change, but the tone and topics addressed should be very informative to those seeking confirmation as to Biden’s long-term economic views.
China is also expected to be a matter of considerable discourse. Trump’s bellicose attitude toward the Asian superpower was more bluster than anything else; he was recalcitrant to speak against them on human rights abuses, demonstrations of authoritarianism or military expansionism, even as he regularly attacked them with general rhetoric. Today, Canadian ministers are voting on whether or not to condemn China for genocide against the Uyghurs and France is sending warships to the South China Sea. Biden has maintained the antagonistic relationship with China but has pivoted to addressing specific topics such as human rights abuses. Expect the other G7 nations to shape a general Asian policy as a result.