Over 50 years ago, a group under the name G7 formed between the seven most powerful countries in the world. Over the past years, the seven countries of Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the United States, have congregated to tackle the problems that face the world.
Standing as a symbol for democracy, the group was founded in 1975. Originally standing as a group of six, excluding Canada, these countries met as a means for the non-communist powers to meet and discuss the issues that pressed the world at the time such as the Cold War or the energy embargo of the 1970’s in which countries like Iran and Saudia Arabia, who essentially controlled oil at the time, would not trade with the US and their allies.
From August 25 to August 27, 2019, the leaders of the G7 along with supporting countries South Africa, India, Spain, and Australia, gathered in France to discuss issues ranging from climate change,rising tensions in the Middle East, and increasingly hostile trade tensions between the US and China. These leaders attempted to alleviate and solve such problems.
Recently, the leaders focused on the fires in the Amazon Rainforest in order to save one of the largest carbon sinks in the world. The fires have become increasingly present within that area. The seven countries eventually set aside $22 million dollars to help relieve the impact of the forest fires. While helpful in the short term, these $22 million dollars seeks only to stop what the eye sees rather than addressing the overarching problem of climate change.
However, the rainforest was not the only topic discussed during the summit. French President Macron had been attempting to get Iran and the U.S to reassess their relations ever since the U.S pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This plan of action, in theory, would influence Iran to halt pursuing nuclear weapons in exchange for a lifting of sanctions. Surprisingly, an Iranian diplomat was brought in by President Macron in high hopes to have the US and Iran peace things out. While the United States and Iran did not meet to discuss what they were going to do about the rising tensions between the two nations, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told the Washington Post, “We want to talk with Iran and talk about a diplomatic path forward.”
Finally, the issue of trade arose towards the latter half of the summit. President Trump, campaigning off his trade war with China, provoked fear into the leaders of the other nations because his tariffs on Chinese goods would have a trickling effect on the world economy. To calm his critics, President Trump created a false sense of security for the world leaders by establishing a lie that China had called him with the intention of compromise. The Chinese-state run press, Xinhua, quickly responded claiming that “China did not and will not surrender.” This unwillingness to negotiate or stand down by either side will only continue to foster tensions between the two countries.
Although minor tensions arose between the G7 countries, the overall consensus was this year’s G7 summit was more cooperative and cordial than the previous one, begging the question of what had changed within a year. The lack of a signed communique by all countries to end the conference did not give President Trump the chance to create the tension he created last year by not signing it. Or, maybe it was the other leaders adjusting to one another’s political philosophies. Whatever it was, the sense of comradery that was felt at the end of the summit made the future of peaceful negotiations more likely.
Information comes from CNBC, Time, and the Washington Post