G7 Summit, June 2015 (Image: europa.eu)
This week’s meeting of the G7 has been forced to focus not on the challenges posed by the Islamic State, Iran’s nuclear program, or Ebola but on the actions of a former member of the group, Russia, because Moscow by its aggression in Ukraine has betrayed the entire civilized world, according to Vitaly Portnikov.
Unfortunately, Vladimir Putin to this day does “not recognize all the consequences of his insane actions” or that Russia was taken into what was then the G8 not on the basis of economic power – in that case, China would have been included – but “based on the hope that the Russian leadership would accept the importance of the joint defense of democratic values”
The G7, as Portnikov points out, “is based precisely on these values – democracy, free markets, and respect for sovereignty, human rights, and human life.” The West invited Russia to join in the hopes that it would respect these values, but Putin’s actions show that the West “miscalculated.”
If “by some miracle” Russia survives “on the political map of the world” and ultimately becomes “a normal country,” it is going to find what it views as its place in this grouping occupied by Brazil or India or even China “when [Beijing] shifts to democracy of a Japanese type,” the Ukrainian commentator argues.
And it is the prospect of its growth to include these countries that explains why the G7 this week “is talking so much about Ukraine.” For its members, “the stabilization of the situation” in Ukraine “and the punishment of the aggressor” is not only a manifestation of its core values but “a lesson for future members of the club” about what is permissible.
That in turn highlights what must be the most bitter reality of all, Portnikov concludes: “The Russians have betrayed not only us [Ukrainians]; they have betrayed the entire world which had so many illusory hopes about them.”