For Biden his confab with the G-7 and summit with Vladimir Putin were exercises in public relations. For the Europeans and Putin they were inconsequential. Russia, China, and Iran will continue to do what their doing in Eurasia, ignoring the occasional American protest and trying to lure the Europeans away from the American axis. From Alasdair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
Washington would do well to discount von Leyen’s gushing love-in with Biden – it means very little, Alastair Crooke writes.
The show came, and now has passed. The G7 visuals were meant to underline the prolongation of the unipolar moment and its purported values – Macron described it as a ‘family’ get-together, after a long hiatus, and Johnson remarked that it was so reminiscent of a ‘return to school’, with old mates crowding around, after the ‘hols’. The West is back, facing off against the autocratic ‘beasts from the East’ – so says the new narrative of the U.S. and the EU – said without a trace of irony – as democracies are mobilising against the threat from ‘the East’. The West is best; democracy is best; and works better, too … and shall win any race!
But visuals and re-booted mission statement apart, where does this take us? Well, nowhere substantive, beyond Boris Johnson’s celebration of G7 bonhomie. The NATO summit however, did elevate Russia to an ‘acute threat’, whilst China was lowered a rachet, to being only a ‘systemic challenge’. Why so?
Well, the NATO statement represented something of a Faustian Bargain. West Europeans (Macron and Merkel essentially) were resigned to the fact that they needed to give Biden some ‘China Threat’ language in the final communiqué to bring him – and America – back aboard the multilateral Eurobus. The Europeans have pressing trade ‘bones’ (steel and aluminium tariffs), that they wish to pick with Washington. So they didn’t want China entirely demonised; they need it too much. They wanted it instead, ‘differentiated’. That is to say, they argue that China presents differential threats – military, trade, tech and cultural – each of which should be treated differently. Macron says this approach represents the spirit of his Euro strategic-autonomy campaign.