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The G8 Epoch Is Over

Russia doesn’t need to be part of the western hierarchy

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The author is a prominent political analyst and Academic director of the Foundation of the Valdai Discussion Club

On April 10th, prior to the meeting of the Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven, Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier discussed the possibility of Russia’s return to the Group of Eight, saying:

“ Not a single major international conflict can be settled without the involvement of Russia”.

But does Russia need that? The very fact that the question of returning to the G8 was brought into discussions proves that the atmosphere in the world has changed. This means that the West is gradually abandoning its rejection of Russia, realizing that it needs to restore its relationship and cooperation. 

The question is: how can it start a new page in Russian relations? The statements made by Germany’s Foreign Minister, or the Japanese Premier, Shinzo Abe, show a real lack of understanding and imagination by western leaders. In my opinion, for all practical purposes, the restoration of the G8 is extremely unlikely, and most importantly, nobody needs that. 

The G8 epoch and integration in Extended West  

The G8 reflected a certain epoch when Russia was pursuing integration into the so-called Extended West. Why we failed is another story. What counts is that it didn’t happen.

The fact that we don’t fit into the Western community was clear long ago. The diplomatic confrontation between Russia and the West started long before the Ukrainian crisis for lack of shared opinions, drawing a line under our contradictions. 

The Western Membership Club

When Russia was accepted into the G8 in the 1990’s, it seemed that this would not just be participation in a club but a decision of strategic importance looking to the future. But the desired future didn’t happen back then and probably never will: it’s obvious that the world is no longer moving towards an extension of the western model. 

In my opinion, given this fact, it makes no sense to restore the G8. 

The G7 has moved back to the more predictable and clear format of a western countries club. Nobody could ever explain properly why Russia was among them in the first place.

Nor does Russia need it, now that it’s clear this club will never become a ‘world government’, as it once expected. 

These powerful countries are exerting a major influence on world events but they do not decide on the world’s destiny among themselves. 

Who will join a ‘world government’?

Speaking theoretically about a body on a global scale, of course, it would be not a group of seven, or even a group of eight – it would be a group of twenty. And it would develop, because it is representative and thus more legitimate. Countries would own blocks of shares in a system of global control.

It is the group of twenty that Russia needs to join, working hard with the BRICS and western countries. This is a new perspective and a new prospect. 

The attempt to lure Russia back to the G8 to influence it doesn’t make sense. What role would Russia play? Nobody has the answer.

I think Russia should not make any effort to return to the G8 or have this as a strategic goal. It doesn’t mean that we should confront the West, but we need to change the relationship. Russia doesn’t need to fit itself into the western hierarchy.  

Source: RIA Novosti
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