Vision of the world with Suhasini Haidar | US President Joe Biden’s Grand Tour
Diplomatic Affairs Editor-in-Chief Suhasini Haidar discusses Biden’s recent European tour and meeting with Putin
In this episode of Worldview, our Diplomatic Affairs Editor-in-Chief Suhasini Haidar examines US President Joe Biden’s efforts to rebuild US power with several summits in Europe such as the G-7, NATO and EU, as well as its face-to-face meeting. with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Six months after the start of his mandate, US President Biden made his first trip abroad: he attended the G-7 summit in the United Kingdom, visited Brussels for talks on the objectives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, met with European leaders and finally sat down for talks with President Putin. India was a guest participant at the G-7 last weekend, but is affected by the outcome of each of those meetings, so let’s talk about each.
The G-7 summit – which brings together what are called the richest democracies in the world: United States Canada United Kingdom Germany France Italy and Japan, invited 4 other democracies to the conference in Carbis Bay to Cornwall – Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea. Today, the G-7 countries have been meeting since the 1970s.
Much has changed since:
– The G-7 is no longer the richest of these groups. While in 1980 they represented 51% of global GDP, they now produce around 31%.
– Second, the rise of emerging economies like India, China and Indonesia is not recognized by such a group
– Third, 3 members are members of the EU common currency and maybe don’t need separate membership
– The G-20 grows in importance as a more representative multilateral grouping
Given this kind of context, the G-7 today has a lot more to prove. It is also the first leaders’ meeting after the coronavirus pandemic, and the first since the United States changed president.
What were the main lessons from this year’s summit, including the outcomes listed in 6 documents.
Some of the top takeaways that have already been criticized:
– A pledge to donate one billion vaccines – which is considered a small number, given the resources and immunization status of these countries
– An infrastructure project called the Build Back Better World (B3 World) initiative aimed at countering the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, but did not include any details on the investment – nor does it deal with the way in which EU members like Italy that are part of the BRI will continue.
– On climate change, the G-7 has not set a date for the exit of coal, and in particular to make electric vehicles compulsory
– A special session on open democracies heading towards Mr Biden’s plan for a summit of democracies this year
– The G-7 made specific mention of the threat of cyber warfare and ransomware from Russia
– Finally, the message that came out was that the G-7 was determined to face China-
4 negative references on human rights violations in Xinjiang / Hong Kong, on Chinese actions in the South China Sea and East China Sea, a reference to Chinese non-market policies and practices, and the need to a more transparent investigation into the origins of the Coronavirus in China.
What was India’s position?
– On the pandemic, PM Modi gave a message from One World One Health – need access to vaccines – where India is in a race against time. India also thanked G-7 leaders for their broad support for the joint proposal with South Africa for a TRIPS / patent waiver at the WTO.
– On open companies, Prime Minister Modi said India is a natural ally of the G-7, but has been criticized for the statement he signed condemning “growing authoritarianism”, network closures, information manipulation and rights violations – areas where his own government has often been criticized. Significantly, Indian diplomats have worked hard to dilute the language against Internet shutdowns, so India’s claim that the shutdowns are due to risks to national security and public order has not was not included in the reviews.
– On China, India has largely bypassed issues, and officials said the Chinese aggression, including on the LAC, was not addressed during outreach with special guests.
– Regarding climate change, India has yet to make commitments on phasing out coal, and the outcome would have been a relief. Prime Minister Modi, who was unable to travel for the G-7 due to pandemic restrictions, can now travel to the UK for the COP26 summit in November this year, India’s commitments will be monitored there from close.
Mr Biden then traveled to Brussels for meetings with EU leaders, but more importantly with NATO leaders, including the United States, Canada, Turkey and European countries, where he had a four-part mission:
– To repair the damage caused by former President Trump’s marked differences with NATO, and to assure them that the United States is back
– To continue its mission against China – the declaration of 30 NATO countries made it clear that China poses a “systemic challenge” to them,
– Discuss the way forward for the withdrawal from Afghanistan where US troops will leave by September
– And reassure NATO about American support for Russia, while preparing the ground for its next meeting with President Putin
For India, NATO’s unity against China would be heartwarming, as it would pose challenges for India with China, but the US position on Afghanistan is anything but the opposite. The US withdrawal appears to be continuing regardless of growing Taliban violence and Pakistan’s role. In particular, a proposal by Turkish President Erdogan during NATO talks to build a joint mission with Pakistan and Hungary for peacekeeping in Afghanistan will cause deep concern in New Delhi. One day after these meetings, significantly, EAM Jaishankar met with US Representative Spl on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha.
Finally, there was the Biden-Poutine summit in Geneva. After talks that lasted more than 3 hours, the United States and Russia agreed to start talks on strategic stability and pledged to continue the nuclear arms control treaty, but their differences became apparent in the separate press conferences that followed, which Biden and Putin appeared to take. slides over each other.
What India was waiting for:
– India has a close partnership with the United States and a traditional friendship with Russia, and better relations between them are welcome, especially as the Russian-Chinese bond is a concern
– Better relations will also give India a breather as it purchases S-400 missile systems from Russia this year, which should trigger US sanctions
– The increasing polarization in the opposite direction between the United States and its Western allies against China and Russia is difficult for India and the Modi government which still tries to walk a tightrope. Keep in mind that later this year Prime Minister Modi is expected to attend both the Quad Summit in Washington and host President Putin, President Xi and others at the BRICS Summit in Delhi.
Book recommendations this week:
- Capital and ideology by Thomas Piketty
- Every nation for itself: winners and losers in a G-Zero world by Ian Bremmer
- Putin’s world: Russia against the West and with the rest by Angela Stent