The main event of the annual calendar of international life – the G20 summit will take place in Rome this weekend. The leaders of the largest countries in the world have not gathered together since the summer of 2019 – and even now the summit will be held in a combined version. Most of the executives came to Rome in person, but some decided to limit themselves to the online format.
Moreover, among those who chose videoconference are the heads of Russia and China, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, and the reason for this was the quarantine restrictions. Because of them, the President of M-exico will not come either, and the Prime Minister of Japan was prevented from reaching Italy by the parliamentary elections on Su-nday. But Germany will be represented by two chancellors at once – current and future: Angela Merkel takes her deputy Olaf Scholz with her, who will soon replace her as head of government. Moreover, Scholz will speak at the summit and participate in meetings – this has never happened before in the practice of the G20.
But the Rome summit is really unusual – especially since immediately after it ends in Glasgow, a summit will begin in the framework of the UN climate conference. As Scotland moves majority of the Rome meeting – and Putin and Jinping again limited to the online format. Therefore, Joe Biden will be in the spotlight in both Rome and Glasgow – and there has already been talk that the G20 is turning into a Western club, or even dying, because Russia and China have decided to ignore it.
This is certainly not the case. Moscow and Beijing have not lost interest in the G20 format – moreover, the practice of annual summits of leaders of the world’s strongest countries, which has developed since 2008, is fully consistent with Russian and Chinese ideas about building a new world order and abandoning Western-centric practices. The G-8 died in 2014, China refused the American proposal to create the G-2 – so, apart from the G-20, there are no more convenient formats for meetings of leaders of the world’s most important countries (the East Asian summit is closest to it, but in it does not represent Europe and the Arab world).
But still, the decision of Putin and Xi not to go to Rome, apart from the coronavirus, has an additional reason – Russia and China want to look a little from the outside at how the Atlanticists will advance their agenda in the new, post-coronavirus world. It’s not about how everyone can fight the pandemic together – what is there to talk about, even if there is no mutual recognition of vaccines? And not even about the “green transition”, that is, new energy, which, according to the plan of Western strategists, should become a new driving belt of globalization, allowing the West to further formulate the rules of the world economy. No, we are talking about a more utilitarian agenda: the formation of a broad coalition “for democracy”, but in reality – against China and Russia. In December in Washington, Biden will convene an online summit “for democracy” – so let him rehearse in Rome.
Although it is possible to predict the outcome in advance – it will not be possible to draw anyone from non-Western countries into the “anti-authoritarian” club, and the point here is not at all how democratic the West considers their internal order. In Asia from the G20 – India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia. Why would they need an anti-Chinese campaign? Each of the countries has huge ties with China and a very serious relationship with Russia. Muslim Indonesia has long been intimidated by Chin-ese expansion – but the isl-and republic does not want to become the battlefield of the West with China again. Indeed, in the mid-1960s, thanks to, among other things, the provocations of the Anglo-Saxons, more than half a million communists, mainly of Chinese origin, were killed there.
Even dependent and pro-American South Korea does not want to get involved in containing China – and a good lesson for it is the example of Australia, which played anti-Chinese games and is now losing a huge Chinese market. Perhaps Latin America will subscribe to “containment of authoritarian regimes”? But for Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, it is much more urgent to strengthen their own states and economies – with the active participation of the same China.
The same applies to the only African country in the club of the greats – South Africa. In addition, it is part of the BRICS – the well-known “five” of non-Western countries that grew out of the Russian-Chinese-Indian format.
That’s the whole non-Western part of the G20 – because the rest of its members are already part of the Atlantic club (Europeans plus Canada and Japan). But many of them are not eager to contain China in the American way: Italy, France, Germany and even Sinophobic Great Britain have huge plans for cooperation with the Celestial Empire. And with Russia too – and after all, Biden’s “anti-authoritarian” approach unites Moscow and Beijing into a single “threat to peace.” That is, both the Chinese and the Russians will have to be held back – and this is simply a suicidal path for Europe, for example. She understands this very well – and sees how the Atlanticists are trying to forcibly sign her on a comprehensive containment of the “eastern threat”.
The NATO Secretary General recently said that the Russian and Chinese threats should not be considered separately, meaning the military component. And the “coalition for democracy” also puts an ideological foundation under the containment of China and Russia. So any potential participant will be forced into the fact that it is very dangerous to deal with the Chinese and Russians and that everything must first be approved in Washington.
It is clear that under such conditions, few people would want to become a member of the “club for democracy” – the world has long ceased to be ruled by the West. The absence of Putin and Xi Jinping in Rome does not return the world to the Atlantic period of modern history – on the contrary, it underlines how much everything has changed over the past ten years.
But when will world leaders come together now? The next G20 summit is scheduled for 2022 (more likely in the fall than summer) in Indonesia, Bali – it is hoped that by this time the coronavirus pandemic will weaken and the meeting will be held in full face-to-face format.
However, even before the Bali summit, the leaders will have a good reason to meet – in three months, the Winter Olympic Games will open in Beijing. Vladimir Putin will definitely be there, and many leaders of other states will also come. But it is unclear how the West will be represented, more precisely – Europe. If it’s as bad as at the opening of the 2014 Games in Sochi (recall that this was before the return of Crimea), then the Europeans did not have the courage to defend their independence. And this is a very big problem – but first of all for themselves.
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