As the G7 concludes its meeting for another year, it had be marred by the disputes between the leaders of the other six nations and the US over the recent introduction of tariffs on goods and resources such as steel. One of the most interesting things to emerge out of the meeting was the near unanimous denunciation of Trump’s call for Russia to re-join the group, after they were forced to leave in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea, with only one other leader supporting this, the new Premier of Italy – Antonio Conte.
It doesn’t take an expert to work out that Western relations with Russia are at a post-Cold War nadir, with events over the last few years further declining the relationship such as involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, alleged involvement in the 2016 election and the Skripal poising that took place this March in the UK. However, there is still a strong case for Russia to be able to rejoin the group.
Even though there is much suspicion of actions of the Kremlin, if the West want to make progress with Russia and attempt to improve the relations, the best way is to create a forum in which leading nations can talk to Putin and his regime directly, as Trump said “We should have Russia at the negotiating table” and in that respect he is right. The way to achieve progress and to end hostilities, in many circumstances, is through discussion and dialogue, this has been seen in the past with Nixon in China in the early 1970s, Obama with both Iran and Cuba, as well as currently with Trump and the North Korean regime.
If Russia were to rejoin the G7, it doesn’t legitimise their actions over the last few years, however it does allow for the West to mend actions and allow for Western leaders to show unity against Russian aggression and interference. . . as well as allowing for the decline in relations to possibly halt.
Donald Trump was likely using the call to allow Russia back into the G7 as a way of antagonising his fellow leaders, however his call – in this circumstance, does have a valid point on allowing further progress. And if Russia were to be the true enemy of Western global powers. . . why is it still in the G20?
We can never legitimise what Russia have done over the last few years, however we must get past it in the end, allowing Russia back into the G7 is the best way to start a thaw in relations between Russia and the West.