VAGUE ALTERNATIVES AND G7 SUMMITRY: THE BUILD BACK BETTER WORLD INITIATIVE | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

VAGUE ALTERNATIVES AND G7 SUMMITRY: THE BUILD BACK BETTER WORLD INITIATIVE

Summits often feature grand statements and needless fripperies. In Cornwall, the leaders of the G7 countries were trying to position and promote their relevance as the vanguard of democratic good sense and values. They, the message went, remained relevant, valuable and essential to the order of the earth, despite challenges posed by the autocrats.

Never let contradiction get in the way of such a united front. Babbling about liberal democratic values matters little when it comes to crusty realpolitik. The UK and the US continue to supply armaments to their favourite theocracy, Saudi Arabia, even as they take issue with Russia and Chinese actions they deem aggressive, cruel or authoritarian. Germany’s position on dealing with Russia remains distinct within the grouping, not least on the issue of energy politics and the Nord Stream 2 gas project. Nor does the G7 necessarily share the same attitude in dealing with China, each having had its slant in coping with Beijing’s actions in recent years.

The China Syndrome has produced some form of united response at the summit. Welcome, then, to the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative. This will entail, according to a White House factsheet, “a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership led by the major democracies to help narrow the $40+ trillion infrastructure need in the developing world, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.” The initiative will also involve “the G7 and other like-minded partners” coordinating and mobilising “private-sector capital in four areas of focus – climate, health and health security, digital technology, and gender equity and equality – with catalytic investments from our respective development finance institutions.”

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