The recently concluded 44th G7 Summit was indeed one of the most unusual summits in the history of the G7 (previously G8). The summit, hosted by Canada, occurred at a time when the tensions between the West and the USA is at its peak. While the man who prefers walking out than negotiating is continuing his journey with a dangerous national pride and disregard for fellow nations, the world in general and Europe in particular, is telling without talking that the US is playing the ‘big brother’. With troubled domestic politics and growing nationalism, even these European cradles of liberalism are not free from the threats of the rhetoric of protectionism and closed borders. The G7 leaders (except Trump, obviously) have to tackle the growing national pride in domestic politics and at the same time, have to remind America that only globalization and international brotherhood can cherish the unity and harmony that the world is by and large enjoying since the atrocities of Second World War.
However, things did not seem as usual as it were before. A large cloud of uncertainty hovered over the summit. The summit started and proceeded with the USA finding itself in an odd position. The G7 summit, in fact, became a breeding ground of mistrust and suspicion between various sides. Whereas Trump wanted more from his allies (as usual), his ‘America First’ policy contributed its share of creating mistrust between the US and its all-weather friends like Canada and Germany; and there was this one picture that summed up the tense mood of the G7 summit. The picture that you see as the cover of this article was posted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s official Instagram handle and soon became an internet sensation, and there was a spree among the users to give an apt caption for the image. The title of this article, ‘No Donald; that is not how musical chairs works’ was, in fact, a caption went viral on twitter, made by an anonymous user. Usually, opinion articles are based on latest happenings around us or based on certain socially relevant events; but this time, we are writing solely based on this one picture. A picture that is worth a thousand words, truly.
Why does this one picture tell us all about G7?
Started as G8, the member nations decided to do the math and subtract Russia in 2014, making the grouping as G7.
Russia was ousted for its annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the fellow members felt, at that point of time, that Russia is a threat to a world order that is embracing the path of globalization and stability. Russian nationalism and the rhetoric of Putin was something that annoyed the members in 2014. However, we are in 2018 and things have changed; in fact, a lot. One of the areas of disagreement between Trump and his fellow leaders was the issue of re-admission of Russia into G7 to make it G8.
Trump reaffirmed his earlier position that bringing in Russia would be an asset for G7. He also antagonized with his usual style of impromptu rhetoric and controversial statements. In fact, his wrecking ball approach left him isolated, which was evident from the picture. All the G6 leaders were looking at him with dismay and Donald was sitting, as always, with the an expression of nonchalance.
The picture became viral not just because of its artistic beauty, but also because of its ability to depict how Trump is antagonizing his allies and derailing the world order that was built post-World War II.
The G6+1 Summit and Future
While it is a fact that Trump and his allies failed to reach a consensus on several matters, it is too early to say whether the G7 will lose its relevance or whether it will even get dismantled. After all, Trump is a seasoned businessman, who knows his trade and has made a fortune out of it. However, the summit reminded the world of the hypocrisy of the West in protecting the environment and preventing drastic climate change. The pile of wealth on which the Western world sits as made out of polluting and exploiting the natural resources in the early 18th and 19th centuries. And today, they are least concerned about the environmental change. The G7 was divided on the climate change and the issue of using fossil fuels.
Whereas the G6 ‘reaffirmed their commitment towards alternative energy and cleaner environment’, Trump wanted ‘cleaner’ ways to use fossil fuels. While the G6 initiative is appreciable, the US decision creates a cloud of skepticism over the ability of such forums to create meaningful ways to tackle pollution and global warming.
In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality. The reality that this picture portrays is nothing but one thing: that Trump does not know how to play the fiddle of power with responsibility.
Picture Credits: Voanews.com