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Biden-Putin summit: US wants predictability; G7's strong COVID response

Biden-Putin summit: US wants predictability; G7's strong COVID response
title placeholder | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

What topics will be in focus at the G7 summit?

Well, most importantly is the collective response to coronavirus. 1 billion vaccines, repurposed, and tens of billions of dollars in financing from the G7 to lower income economies around the world. It is by far the most significant show of leadership displayed since the pandemic started and it's coming from the United States and its allies. That is meaningful, especially given the direction that the world has been heading, this G-Zero world over the course of the past decades. It's nice to see. Lots of other issues being discussed. It's only 60 seconds. I can't go that far.

What do you make of the EU joining the US in a push to investigate the origins of coronavirus?

Sure you don't want to go back to the G7? It's a much happier conversation. It means that the US-China relationship is getting more challenging. It means that the Chinese are going to be incredibly defensive about the fact that they have not provided access to the international community to investigate the origins of coronavirus. There are other countries around the world that are increasingly concerned about it. And if this becomes a really big flap, it is possible that we could start to see more formal Chinese decoupling from the West around issues of healthcare and epidemiology. I could imagine even the Chinese government leaving the World Health Organization, which would be very significant since that's where lots of the necessary transparency really is absent for the rest of the world. Anyway, we watch this space.

With Biden and Putin to meet next week, in Geneva, what does each want from the summit?

Biden's made very clear, he said it himself, and so has Jake Sullivan and Tony Blinken, they want a more predictable relationship between the US and Russia. In other words, the status quo is not great, but they'd like it to persist. That's the baseline. They don't want it to get worse. They don't want sudden crises, whether it's on hacking, whether it's around Belarus, whether it's around issues of human rights, they don't want to rock the boat unnecessarily when the US-China relationship is considered to be by far the top priority, the biggest challenge. In the case of the Russians, he wants to be treated with more respect and he's unhappy with the status quo. He thinks that the West needs to be more divided, both internally and as a transatlantic relationship. Hard to see a lot being accomplished between the two leaders. But I do think if it surprises, the meeting will surprise on the upside. We'll watch next week.


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