The so-called Group of Seven (G7) was formed in the wake of the oil crisis of the 1970s to promote cooperation between western countries, in particular, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. Eventually, the goal of this summit of “advanced democracies” focused on the coordination of the efforts to win the Cold War.
“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries.”
Following the end of the Cold War, and with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia was invited to join the group, and G7 became G8. After the Kremlin’s takeover of Crimea in 2014, however, Moscow’s membership was suspended.
Nowadays, the Group of Seven is gradually becoming irrelevant. The balance of global power has shifted from Europe to Asia, and Russia is no longer seen as an existential threat to the free world. The increasing role of Asia in the modern world, and China’s growing assertiveness on the international stage, necessitates changes to the goals, agenda, and even composition of the organization.
President Donald Trump has recently suggested expanding G7 given emerging global political needs, as well as the need for the world’s liberal democracies to push back against Beijing’s aggressive behavior. He argues: “I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” adding that other countries should be invited to participate in the organization.
Accordingly, we should consider turning G7 into G10/G11 by adding Australia, India, and South Korea to the member list—in addition to the EU (whose representatives have been participating in G7). In order to ensure the preservation of their values at home and their promotion abroad, and to establish and defend domestic and global peace, open societies from around the world must fight back against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aggressive tactics. This is one way to build this global coalition of free and democratic states.
[caption id="attachment_182643" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] Zbigniew Brzezinski.[/caption]
THE CHANGING BALANCE OF POWER
As former national security adviser to the Carter administration, Zbigniew Brzezinski, notes in his book The Grand Chessboard, Eurasia is the pillar of world power, “the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played.” Brzezinski continues, “[H]e who controls Eurasia controls the world.” Historically, the United States has always tried to prevent the emergence of a single hegemon in Eurasia. To that end, it intervened in two world wars and contained the Soviet Union for almost fifty years.
To effectively contain China, Washington needs to make similar moves and seek collaboration with other countries.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, it seemed as if Washington’s ultimate objective—the creation of a stable Eurasia with a favorable balance of power—was achieved. Russia struggled to adapt to the new realities following the collapse of the USSR in 1991; China was only beginning its growth; Japan was suffering from economic malaise; key European powers (the U.K., Germany, and France) were reliable allies of Washington. That era of unchallenged U.S. dominance, however, has come to an end. True, the United States remains the world’s most powerful country, the only hyperpower, and its absolute power has been on the rise continuously. But its relative power has reduced as other countries’ influence surged.
There are many countries challenging U.S. dominance today—Russia, Iran, North Korea, among others. But most importantly, the twenty-first century has witnessed a spectacular rise of China. While the 2000s and the early 2010s were about the assertion of the Chinese economic power, since the late 2010s, China, under the rule of a dictator Xi Jinping, began to expand its political influence as well. Since the end of the Cold War, China has become a single most powerful challenger of U.S. supremacy and the greatest threat to the world’s democracies and the rules-based world order.
On June 15, while India—and the world—were reeling from the coronavirus crisis, the People’s Liberation Army invaded India’s Ladakh region, resulting in the clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers. At least twenty Indians died. (Beijing has remained silent over the number of Chinese troops killed). This was the deadliest clash on the rugged Himalayan border since the 1962 Sino-Indian war.
This provocation is just one of many fronts on which the CCP has been taking advantage of the chaos brought by the coronavirus; they’ve been making moves from the South China Sea, to Hong Kong, to cyberspace. Chinese military forces have sequestered ships from Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines in the South China Sea. They’ve staged a military exercise overtly aimed at training for an invasion of Taiwan (with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang recently hinting that the “reunification” with Taiwan will not necessarily be peaceful). And, bypassing Hong Kong’s constitution, China imposed a new national security law that will further consolidate the Party’s hold over the territory and substantially undercut the citizens’ rights and liberties.
The recent incursion into Indian territory is similar to China’s 1962 invasion of India, which happened just four days after the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis. While Washington provided some support to India (such as small arms and ammunition), John F. Kennedy rejected Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s request for more advanced weapons and closer military cooperation. India lost the war—and the disputed Himalayan border has since then remained a constant source of friction between the two countries.
There is a hope that this time will be different, however, and that Washington and its allies will deepen their collaboration with India to collectively contain Chinese expansionism. Beijing is not going to enter a potential new Cold War alone—it is heavily investing in expanding its influence through programs like Belt and Road Initiative, and is actively working to deepen its partnership with Russia, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, and even some NATO members (such as Turkey and Italy).
To effectively contain China, Washington needs to make similar moves and seek collaboration with other countries.
[caption id="attachment_182642" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] China.[/caption]
THE DANGERS—AND ADVANTAGES—OF CHINESE EXPANSIONISM
Contemporary Asia and its balance of power are becoming increasingly similar to Europe just before the First World War, as Zbigniew Brezinski noted in Strategic Vision. Before World War I, Germany had been a resurgent power that sought to achieve dominance in Europe and crush Great Britain. The difference is that at the time, Great Britain was supported by France and Russia, and later—by the United States. (France, in turn, wanted to avenge Germany for the loss of territories during the 1870 Franco-Prussian war). Imperial Germany’s desire to dominate Europe facilitated closer ties between the U.K., France, and Russia, culminating in the formation of the Entente alliance, which the United States joined later during the war. Germany was defeated—but only because other countries united to deter it.
[T]he United States, which supported the U.K. during the First World War, is currently Japan’s principal ally and is against Chinese expansionism.
Similarly, today in Asia, as in Europe a century ago, China is a rising power striving for supremacy. Japan (like the U.K.) is an island nation aligned against Chinese dominance in the region. India, aggrieved at China’s 1962 aggression, as well as the recent incursion in the Himalayas, like France, aims to check China’s power.
Lastly, the United States, which supported the U.K. during the First World War, is currently Japan’s principal ally and is against Chinese expansionism.
The parallels between the current situation and the conditions that led to the First World War, however, do not necessarily imply that a new global war is inevitable. It’s highly probable that the Chinese desire to dominate Asia will backfire—provided other countries are willing to take appropriate steps and unite their efforts early, rather than “appease” the aggressor. Chinese expansionism must be met with a corresponding response from both Western and Asian powers—and the creation of the G10 is the first step in this direction. The United States, to contain China and ensure the security and stability of itself and its allies, should unite in common front with others.
[caption id="attachment_182641" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] Donald Trump.[/caption]
THE PROPOSED AGENDA FOR THE GROUP OF TEN
G10 will be one of the most powerful alliances in history—the ten countries account for 60% of global net wealth and approximately 50% of the world’s nominal GDP (and this does not even include other member-states of the EU and NATO). China, even if it allies itself with other countries, will have a hard time confronting the capacity of such a strategic formation.
The primary objective of the first summit of G10 should be to coordinate efforts to better defend common interests against authoritarian regimes and prevent violation of other countries’ sovereignty—in both cyberspace and the real world.
Among other things, the Group of Ten’s agenda should focus on the following issues:
- Investigation of the cover-up of the outbreak of the coronavirus by Chinese authorities and possibly the demand for relevant reforms of the Chinese system of governance so as to prevent similar disasters in the future;
- The creation of the D10 Club (the alliance of ten democracies), as was suggested by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, aimed at reducing the members’ dependence on Chinese technology. In particular, the target should be Huawei’s 5G equipment. 5G is essential to the new era of artificial intelligence, Big Data, Internet of things, self-driving cars, etc., and outsourcing its development to a company with known ties to the CCP is a grave threat to national security;
- Condemnation of Chinese territorial aggression against India and facilitation of closer military cooperation with New Delhi and other regional powers;
- Common action against Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law on Hong Kong that is going to severely limit the citizens’ rights and liberties, in violation of treaties China signed with the U.K. and the U.S. The U.S. Congress has already passed sanctions against China, but Washington should convince its partners and allies to join its efforts against Beijing.
- Imposition of international sanctions for the CCP’s “demographic genocide” in the region of Xinjiang, where birth control measures are being implemented to curb Muslim population, in addition to mass detentions in internment camps and other forms of repression—a brazen violation of fundamental human rights and liberties.
In our increasingly interdependent word, we cannot afford to condone what is going in other regions of the world. We have global pandemics, a globalized economy and common threats to world security and stability. Therefore, Washington should lead the free world in containing China and defending the interests of open societies—and to that end, the G10 alliance is a crucial first step.