Edited and translated by Huang Jin, People's Daily Online
The US-led Group of Seven (G7) has decided to suspend participation in the Group of Eight (G8) and abandon the scheduled G8 summit to be held in Sochi in Russia. The Russian Foreign Minister commented with harsh irony that as the G8 is an informal group, there is no formal membership, so there is no such concept as “being ejected”.
As globalization increases, the influence of the group, whether G7 or G8, is becoming weaker. Especially after the global financial crisis, emerging economies have flourished, bringing change to the international economy, and also changing the face of world politics and diplomacy.
As a 'rich man's club', when the G7 absorbed Russia in 1998 it had the strategic intention to westernize Russia. Since Putin came to power, he has had frequent confrontations with the West’s strategic plans, and as result the G8 is becoming something of a “man of straw”, maintaining the form, but with few substantive actions. Thus the matter of the G8 returning to G7 is of little importance for global politics.
The real issues of concern are not whether the G8 can survive, but whether the globalization process will be stopped and whether a new form of cold war will be launched. The G7 changed the theme of the Nuclear Security Summit to condemn Russian actions in Crimea, reflecting the sharp confrontation between the West and Russia.
Excluding Russia from the G8 is a further sanction and a warning shot from the U.S. and its allies to Russia. If the situation in eastern Ukraine deteriorates, tougher economic sanctions will be imposed by the western side against Russia.
We must now wait to see how Russia will react. If Putin offers some compromises to split the U.S. from its allies, it is possible that Russia and the West will shake hands again after a period of cooling-off.
In fact, Russia has already made some conciliatory gestures. During the Nuclear Security Summit, the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Ukraine engaged in a first dialogue, indicating Russia’s tacit assent to the new regime in Ukraine. As long as the situation in eastern Ukraine can be gradually calmed down, Russia, Ukraine and the West can be expected to enter into a period of negotiations.
Read the Chinese version:G8变G7已不算什么大事;Beijing News, author:Chen Bing.