President Donald Trump announced on May 30th that he will be postponing the G-7 summit, an annual gathering of the world’s most economically advanced countries. The meeting, which currently includes the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, was originally planned for June, but will now be taking place sometime in September. In part, the reason for this postponement is due to the coronavirus epidemic, but President Trump has also stated a desire to include more countries in the meeting. Such invitees include Australia, Russia, South Korea, and India. This plan has been questioned by many who worry about coordinating with Russia in light of the nation’s recent acts of political violence.
In his justification for his desire to include Russia, President Trump called the G-7 a “very outdated group of countries” which fails to “properly represent what’s going on in the world.” He believes the inclusion of several other economically significant countries will establish a more well-rounded conversation among the group. However, other members of the G-7, who remember that Russia was banned from the former G-8 in 2014, are less inclined to support President Trump’s plan. As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explains, “Russia was excluded from the G-7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago, and its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7, and it will continue to remain out.” Almost all other G-7 leaders align with Trudeau’s statement. According to Atlantic Council, France is the only nation other than the United States that supports Russia’s inclusion.
Russia’s invasion of Crimea, a southern region of Ukraine, initiated a violent, authoritarian rule which continues today. Over time, as more Russians have pushed themselves into the region, more Ukrainians have been forced to flee. As cited by the Council on Foreign Relations, about 1.5 million Ukrainians have been displaced, more than 10,000 have died, and nearly 24,000 have been injured since the Russian invasion. Such an attack is extremely unwarranted, especially given the fact that Russia’s infiltration took advantage of Ukraine’s political instability. And unfortunately, Russia’s attacks haven’t stopped there. Since 2014, Russia has also targeted the Western world, including many of the G-7 members, through cyber-attacks, political assassinations, and disinformation campaigns. Atlantic Council calls this an “innovative” form of aggression through which Moscow attacks nations while not actually declaring war.
Since Russia has neglected to cease its aggressive behavior, both in the Ukraine and on the world stage, inviting the nation back to the G-7 summit would only condone its behavior. The fact that President Trump has already extended an invite to Vladimir Putin, despite the warnings of his fellow G-7 members, has already begun to demonstrate a tolerance for violence. This cannot be the case for such world players as the G-7. If these leading nations were to show support for Russia, other nations would be more inclined to practice politically violent behaviors. In order to establish implications for peace, President Trump must rescind his invitation and shun Russia from participating in the summit. Only with diminished Russian influence can the Ukraine and other Russian targets maintain a more peaceful existence.