TOP STORIES Here's what foreign policy experts are discussing ahead of...

Here’s what foreign policy experts are discussing ahead of the G7 meeting.


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Before Russia invaded Ukraine, this year’s G7 summit was supposed to be an opportunity to switch from typical geopolitics and finance issues and focus on the future. The main topics were to be climate, healthcare in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and justice around the world.

Instead, most analysts expect the conference to be “Ukraine, Ukraine, and then some more Ukraine,” as Sudha David-Vilp of the German Marshall Fund, a public policy think tank, put it.

The war has also changed the main themes that observers hope to see. Here are some of the most popular questions from foreign policy experts in Germany and elsewhere.

While European and American leaders have largely managed to speak out as a united front about the war, experts say Moscow hopes cracks will appear as the energy crisis worsens and economic problems such as runaway inflation emerge.

G7 leaders “should make it clear that they can handle these simultaneous crises,” said Torsten Benner of the Global Public Policy Institute. “And they need to convince countries outside of the traditional ‘West’ that they are not joking, that they will ensure global food security.”

However, not all of this has to happen in public.

“They need to have an internal discussion about the possibility of runaway inflation and gas cuts this winter,” Mr. Benner said.

Europe and the United States emphasize that Ukraine, not foreign leaders, will determine how the war with Russia ends. Even while providing more advanced weapons, they insist that NATO powers cannot be dragged into the conflict, in part because of fears of a nuclear standoff with Russia.

In addition, targets often look blurry.

Germany and France have hinted that they want to move on to talks, but backed off and pledged full support for Kyiv’s victory during a visit to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this month. And the United States has provided arms, but has also signaled that it is willing not to risk escalation.

Foreign policy analysts say G7 leaders should discuss what exactly they hope to achieve and how, and articulate that to Ukraine and the public.

“The main topic will be the question: how will this war end? And is there a Western position? said Ulrich Speck, a Berlin-based foreign policy analyst. “Of course, the decision will always be with the Ukrainians. But I think it would be dishonest to say that the West does not have a position on this issue – or that individual countries do not.

Among Western leaders, faith in international forums such as the United Nations as a means of building diplomatic alliances and mediating conflicts has waned, in part because of the stalemate created by the veto power of Russia and China on the one hand, and the United States and its allies. with another.

Given Germany’s push to use the G7 summit to discuss fairer geopolitical relations, analysts are wondering if it can use its G7 presidency this year to try to forge a broader democratic alliance beyond rich countries.

“The idea that the richest of the rich countries can come together and make decisions about the future direction of the world economy belongs to another century,” said Lutz Weischer of Germanwatch, a global justice advocacy group.

Many climate analysts are concerned that Western leaders are backtracking on their commitments, in part because of increased lobbying from the fossil fuel industry.

Lindsey Stringer, a York University professor and co-chair of the Think7 Environmental Task Force, a group of think tanks offering proposals for the summit, is looking for concrete measures – in particular whether the G7 will offer more funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

“We are far behind where we should have been,” she said.

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