Portnikov: Putin’s return must be resisted

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron with their wives in the Red Room at the White House, April 24, 2018, Washington, D.C. Photo: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron with their wives in the Red Room at the White House, April 24, 2018, Washington, D.C. Photo: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen 

International, Op-ed

The proposal by US President Donald Trump to return his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to the G8, of course, can become a real political sensation.

Even if Trump started making such proposals annually, they would not cease to be an important factor in world politics. However, just because the American president proposes it, it does not become a reality.

Against the backdrop of world media reports about a telephone conversation between the presidents of the United States and France, and their agreement on Putin’s invitation to the G7 summit in 2020 in the United States, the most important thing you need to understand is their agreement is not about changing the format of the prestigious club. For the G7 to become the G8 again, all of the members must consent. At last year’s G7 meeting, Trump’s proposal to invite Putin was supported only by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. It is unlikely that today the American president can count on unanimity – even if he is supported by Emmanuel Macron.

But as the host of the summit, Donald Trump may invite a leader of a non-G7 country to participate in its discussions. Anyone. The Biarritz Summit, which begins in a few days, will be attended by leaders of several such countries. They are supposed to discuss world environmental issues. Macron himself, on his own behalf, invited the Prime Minister of neighboring Spain, Pedro Sanchez, to Biarritz. That’s exactly how Trump can invite Putin. Would the Russian president want to be a guest of the club, of which he was a full member until 2014? From Putin’s point of view, such an invitation – without restoring Russia’s full membership in the G8 – would look like real humiliation.

Vladimir Putin photographing with members of Moscow's Night Wolves biker club on their August 10, 2019 ride in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March 2014. Photo: kremlin.ru

Vladimir Putin photographing with members of Moscow’s Night Wolves biker club on their August 10, 2019 ride in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March 2014. Photo: kremlin.ru

The next question is what to do with the problems that served as the reason for Russia’s exclusion from the G8 and its transformation into the G7. What about the fact that Russia annexed Crimea and continues the war in the Donbas? What about the fact that Russia cannot be considered a democratic country at all while the “Big Seven” is a club of democratic leaders, and therefore you will also not see the president of China in it? When the leaders of the G7 invited Russian President Boris Yeltsin to join their meetings, they preferred to turn a blind eye to the fact that the Russian economy did not reach the level of Western economies. They simply decided that they would not invite the Russian finance minister to meetings in the G8 format, but the Russian president they would. At present in Russia there is neither democracy, nor economy. What is the point in inviting Putin now? Is it Trump’s whims? Or Macron’s illusions? Or the fact that the American president has already entered the rage of the election race, and the French president sees himself now as the new leader of Europe?

President of Ukraine visited the State Enterprise Olympic Educational and Sports Center Koncha Zaspa, 16 July 2019, Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: president.ua.gov

President of Ukraine visited the State Enterprise Olympic Educational and Sports Center Koncha Zaspa, 16 July 2019, Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: president.ua.gov

Yes, so far the point is precisely all of that. Behind the actions of Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron there is no real serious policy. Even so, their intentions do not become less dangerous in terms of consequences. And these intentions must be resisted. First of all, by the Ukrainian leadership. Because allowing any return of Russia to cooperation with the West without ending the war against our country and the annexation of Crimea will inevitably lead to a new spiral of aggression, new territorial losses and casualties.

And it will not be Macron, or Trump, or even Putin whom the Ukrainians will hold responsible for this imminent catastrophe.

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Translated by: A. N.
Source: ESPRESO

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