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G-7 must seek to end, not prolong, wars

G-7 must seek to end, not prolong, wars

The West is seen to be playing a dubious role in the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars.

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Last Updated : 13 June 2024, 19:30 IST
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Russia’s war on Ukraine and Israel's war in Gaza are top of the agenda at the G-7 summit in Italy. Immediately thereafter, representatives of some 90 countries are due to assemble – Russia is not attending -- for a separate “peace conference” that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has convened and Switzerland will host. Russia's war on Ukraine has now gone on for nearly 28 months. It is clear that Ukraine cannot beat Russia on the battleground, as was earlier believed. It needs more money, more weaponry, and perhaps it hopes for other countries' boots on the ground. It wants the world to gather as one in the Swiss Alps and speak against Russia. The bad news for Zelensky is that most of the world – which means the Global South -- is tired of this war. It has appeared increasingly as a proxy war between Russia and the US/NATO. Zelensky and his backers in the West may warn that Russian aggression will not stop with Ukraine. But across the world, South or North, people are outraged that Western leaders -- the same who are gathered in Italy -- will do nothing to stop an expansionist aggressor in the Middle East with the blood of over 34,000 civilians on its hands, even as they preach sanctimoniously against Russia's scant regard for territorial sovereignty. 

In the last two and a half years, several redlines have been crossed in the two theatres of war. The latest is the G-7 sign-off in Italy on a legally dubious plan to use frozen Russian funds to give Ukraine an immediate loan of $50 billion. The plan will require Russian funds to be frozen for a decade or more, which effectively means that the war is expected to go on for that long. Meanwhile, since the start of Israel's war against Hamas, the US has enacted laws to provide $12.5 billion to Israel, which Israel will use almost entirely on military spending. 

In Europe, the initial public enthusiasm for backing Ukraine is giving way to fatigue. The impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the economies of Europe is one reason for the rightward shift in the European Union elections. In the US, the possible denial of a second term to President Joe Biden may lead to an abrupt withdrawal of patronage to Ukraine. Instead of finding ways to prolong the two wars into the “unknown”, by pampering Israel's war machine on the one side and indulging Zelensky's fantasy of defeating Russia on the other, it would have been so much more grown-up of the G-7 to focus on finding an end to both wars. That is what most of the world wants.

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