The G20 summit – extended wars and growing contradictions

The G20 summit – extended wars and growing contradictions


The G20 summit – extended wars and growing contradictions

The G20 (Group of Twenty) – initially an informal gathering of 20 of the world’s largest economies- was formed in 1999, in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. An attempt to co-ordinate global policy on trade, health, climate, and other issues.

Members of this exclusive club, comprise Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.

Originally it sought to unite finance ministers and central bankers from twenty of the world’s largest established and emerging economies. A decade later, at the height of the Global Economic Crisis the G20 was elevated to include heads of state and governments.

The global financial crisis (GFC) began as a result of cheap credit and lax lending standards that fueled a housing bubble. When the bubble burst, banks were left holding trillions of dollars of worthless investments in subprime mortgages. The crisis began with the downturn in the US housing market which was a catalyst for a financial crisis that spread from the United States.

Today, though the G20 is recognised as a premier global forum for discussing economic issues; during this year’s ongoing forum, it has degenerated into a melting pot of contradictions ranging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to American meddling in China’s relationship with its neighbour Taiwan.

The Taiwanese problem in reality is a contradiction in terms, in that Taiwan is not recognised by the UN as an independent nation. None of the G20 members -including America- recognises Taiwanese independence. Yet the US and its EU partners keep confronting China regarding the status of Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory. Resultantly the G20 today faces many divisions.

The US is in an undeclared trade war with China imposing sanctions on trade with that country. China has imposed sanctions on import of goods from Australia. The US is in a political standoff with Saudi Arabia as that country cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day, ignoring US requests to increase oil production.

Ukraine is considered the breadbasket of Europe, while Russia produces about 25% of the world’s nitrogen fertilizer. Most countries in Europe and poorer nations in Africa depend on Ukrainian wheat for their food needs. Likewise most countries the world over depend on Russia for supplies of fertiliser.

Today Russia and Ukraine are involved in a destructive war of attrition which has disrupted the worldwide food supply chain. . 

Though the main aim of the G20 is to co-ordinate a global policy on trade, health, climate and other similar issues, this year’s summit appears to be degenerating into a war of words between the US and its western allies on the one hand and Russia and China on the other.

Rather than bringing the Russo-Ukraine war to an end, the US and its allies keep pouring arms and armaments into Ukraine, thus prolonging the conflict -a direct contradiction of the COP20 aim of enhancing global trade.

On another front, al-Jazeera reported US President Biden has “no plans” to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit. Biden also warned Saudi Arabia that there will be unspecified “consequences” for ‘siding with Russia’ in supporting the petroleum production cuts.

Rather than co-ordinating efforts to help smoothen trade relations, health and climate, this year’s G20 summit seems to have deteriorated into intra-group squabbles and avoidance of seeking solutions to even pressing problems like climate change and global warming.

The New York times reported rich countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan and much of western Europe, account for just 12 percent of the global population today, are responsible for 50 percent of all the planet-warming greenhouse gases released from fossil fuels and industry over the past 170 years.

What needs to be kept in mind is that the G20 represents the interests of the globally richest countries. Their coming together is therefore, a means to continue their global domination. The aim -to sprinkle the crumbs which fall off the table among the poor is merely a means to keep them from rocking the ship which maintains the status quo

According to the OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) the G20 is home to 89 percent of all the billionaire wealth in the world, while ‘reliefweb’ statistics show G20 countries receiveUS$136 million every day in debt repayments from the world’s poorest countries -at a time when up to 828 million people are facing hunger.

Source : Daily Mirror