The G7 Summit: This past week a group of world leaders known as the G-7 met in Carbis Bay, UK to discuss a wide range of issues. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: The G7 Summit
This past week, and into the weekend, a group of world leaders known as the G-7, or Group of Seven, met in Carbis Bay, UK to discuss a wide range of issues. An official communiqué textualized the agreements reached by the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK in the English beach resort town. To keep it simple, they focused on the “four C’s” as POLITICO noted: COVID-19, Corporate minimum tax, Climate, and China. The meetings marked Joe Biden’s first trip abroad as President of the United States. Here’s what both sides had to say about the G7 Summit.
On The Right
Right-leaning outlets and commentators mainly focused on the G7’s response to China. Overall, they think democratic leaders wasted a valuable chance to hold Beijing accountable for militarization in the South China Sea, human rights abuses, and most importantly COVID.
That’s It? The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board says Biden made some “modest” (at best) progress “to rally a united front against China’s violations of global norms.” The editors take issue with “the final G-7 communique [which makes] a fleeting reference” to violations in the South China Sea, “Hong Kong and Xinjiang”, and economic competition. They believe “the G-7 leaders will have to do far more… to counter China’s trade depredations, intellectual property theft, and threats against its neighbors.” In regards to the origins of COVID, the Editors also think it’s absurd that the G7 leaders want the WHO involved. They ask: “The world’s leaders want the same WHO that failed in its first COVID-19 origin study to do another one?” They argue that the WHO’s “investigative team this year included scientists with a clear conflict of interest because they had been involved in funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology, from which the coronavirus may have leaked.” Zooming out, they write “The WHO is a leading example of how multilateral institutions that include dictatorships are eventually corrupted and operate against US interests.” The fact of the matter is that “China won’t be moved by feckless G-7 pleas for better behavior.”
Flunked China Test: Writing for Fox News, Liz Peek said the G7 “flunked [the] China test” and won’t “hold Beijing accountable for COVID.” For background, Peek characterizes “China’s willful unleashing of a deadly virus on the globe,” the “single greatest act of villainy the world has ever known.” She believes Beijing needs to pay and is astonished that Biden’s solution to the problem is to “promote a ‘Build Back Better World’ campaign aimed at narrowing the $40 trillion infrastructure needs of the developing world.” Peek notes that the aim of this initiative “is to counter Beijing’s infamous Belt and Road initiative,” but then asks “who will end up shouldering most of that effort?” Simply put, “American taxpayers” will be on the hook for building tunnels and bridges beyond our borders. “While Americans might have hoped the G-7 leaders would throw sanctions on Beijing officials, erect barriers to Chinese tech firms or eject China from the World Trade Organization, they will now watch our government direct billions in aid to jumpstart other countries’ infrastructure repair.” Peek ends by saying, “That will teach Xi Jinping!”
A Chance to Stand Firm: Finally, writing for National Review, David Asher said “G7 leaders should [have used] their collective power to demand answers from the Chinese Communist Party on the coronavirus.” Asher adds, “Now that an increasing number of scientists, reporters, and political figures are finally taking the lab-leak hypothesis seriously, elected leaders owe their citizens answers about the who, when, where, how, and why of the origins of COVID-19.” Additionally, “China’s documented violations of the International Health Regulations must not go unaddressed, and the Chinese military’s compliance with the peaceful-purposes clause of the Biological Weapons Convention should also be verified,” Asher writes. Ultimately, “This weekend’s summit [was] the perfect opportunity to show the CCP that the G7 will not rest until it has the answers the world deserves — and [it] is prepared to take all necessary steps to ensure that this catastrophe will never recur.”
On The Left
Left-leaning outlets were largely upbeat about Biden’s first G7 meeting. They believe “America is Back” and that Biden is helping repair damage from the Trump years. With that said, some felt short-changed.
Three Takeaways: Kevin Liptak of CNN provides “3 takeaways from President Joe Biden’s first G7 summit.” First he writes “a weight [was] lifted.” Liptak says “The differences in body language between this weekend’s summit in Cornwall and the three summits attended by Trump couldn’t be starker. Biden’s style of diplomacy was uniquely focused on the give-and-take between two human beings [rather than] Trump’s apparently unwillingness to cultivate positive relationships with world leaders.” The second takeaway is that “differences remain.” In a nod to Liz Peek’s critique above, Liptak talks about “Biden’s major proposal to the group — a global infrastructure program meant to compete with China’s Belt and Road initiative,” but acknowledges that “it didn’t include any specific commitments from countries on how much they’re willing to contribute.” Third, “Biden’s [G7] trip [was] carefully choreographed to highlight traditional American alliances before Wednesday’s summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Zooming out, Biden’s G7 trip “signaled a return of the United States to the type of consensus-based diplomacy shunned by former President Donald Trump.”
Writing for the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin says “America is back. And it’s popular.” Rubin outlines how, in her opinion, “President Biden — unlike his predecessor, who was the subject of ridicule and provided cringeworthy moments such as his Helsinki news conference in which he sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence community — gave Americans reason to be proud in his first trip abroad.” Rubin notes that “Our allies also like Biden. “Looking at 12 countries polled during the first year of both their presidencies, a median of 77% describe Biden as well-qualified to be president, compared with 16% who felt this way about Trump.” At the end of the day, “Many pundits and foreign policy officials feared Biden’s predecessor did lasting and permanent damage to US influence, prestige, and power around the world. So far, Biden is showing that fear to be overblown. Change our president, return to a ‘normal’ foreign policy, embrace democracies and — lo and behold — America’s popularity soars. And it only took six months.”
Not every left-leaning outlet sang Biden’s praises, however. Samantha Michaels of Mother Jones wrote that “President Joe Biden and leaders of some of the world’s richest countries disappointed environmentalists Sunday at the G7 annual summit by failing to agree on a deadline to end their use of coal for electricity.” The crux of the matter is that “The group’s failure to ban coal by a certain date worries energy experts, in part because it makes it harder to pressure China to curb its own carbon emissions.” Quoting Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, in the New York Times, “This was a moment when the G7 could have shown historic leadership, and instead they left a massive void.” Although “members agreed to stop international funding for coal projects that lack technology to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions within the next two years… energy experts were hoping for a bolder plan,” Michaels said.
Flag This: The G7 Summit
According to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, a majority of the American public has a great deal or good amount of trust in President Joe Biden to negotiate on the country’s behalf with other world leaders. Currently “52 percent of Americans have confidence Biden will represent the US well when making deals and discussing challenges with leaders of other countries around the world,” The Hill notes. Biden now travels to Geneva for a highly-anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow.
Flag Poll: The G7 Summit
Do you trust President Joe Biden to negotiate on the United States’ behalf with other world leaders? Comment below to share your thoughts.