G-20 summit: A triumph for Putin and Jinping as unilateralism takes a back seat.

By Elijah J. Magnier:

In a dramatic conclusion to the G-20 summit, after “200 hours of non-stop negotiations, 300 bilateral meetings and 15 drafts,” as Indian official Amitabh Kant pointed out, a final statement emerged. There was no mention of Ukraine and its ongoing conflict. Furthermore, by their absence, Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping cast long shadows over the proceedings, dealing a blow to President Joe Biden’s gathering. Given that Ukraine was expected to dominate the summit’s discussions, its omission speaks volumes. Indeed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hailed the summit as a “success”. Is the US accepting that unilateralism may be fading from the global stage?

The G20, a formidable gathering of the world’s major economies, includes members of the G8, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US. It also comprises the European group and other major nations such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey. This group accounts for a staggering 85% of global GDP and 75% of international trade.

Interestingly, the G20 summit occurred three weeks after the BRICS meeting, a coalition of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. These nations, representing the “South” coalition (encompassing Latin America, Africa and Asia), have a seat at the G20 table and a sophisticated geopolitical economic vision. Their discussions often revolve around critical issues that sometimes overshadow the G20 agenda. A prime example is their focus on opening new markets and promoting trade in local currencies in the ”Global South”. Together, the BRICS countries represent 42% of the world’s population and 36% of global GDP.

The BRICS coalition is set to become even more powerful. Next year, countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt are expected to join, further increasing its influence on the global stage. This expansion underlines the shifting dynamics of global economic power and the increasing importance of emerging economies in shaping the future.

The notable absence of the Russian and Chinese presidents at the recent summit speaks volumes about the changing geopolitical landscape. While the Russian president’s lack can be attributed to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and America’s intention to steer the summit towards condemning Moscow, China’s non-participation reflects the escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington. The US’s assertive stance towards China – arming Taiwan, blocking the transfer of semiconductor technology and building more American bases around China, to name a few – has increased hostilities. Under these circumstances, it’s understandable that President Xi Jinping would choose to show solidarity with Russia, a strategic ally, by limiting high-level meetings with the US, even if diplomatic channels remain ostensibly open.

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