The G-8, or Group of Eight, a meeting of eight leaders from the most prominent nations, wasn’t strategically valuable for Russia, as it didn’t incentivize or highlight a special status for Russia. Creating a G-3, Group of Three, composed of Russia, China and the United States, the world’s three pre-eminent powers, would be far more precious and would highlight their special relationship. A group of three member countries is sustainable long term — the United States could incentivize Russia to cooperate with the gradual cessation of sanctions, Russian behavior would become more predictable as it will want to maintain the current state of amicable relations in a G-3 coalition and China is likely to trust the United States in a G-3 with Russia included. The United States could be balanced by those two countries in order to foster amicable relations and build trust between three countries that have had historically precarious relationships. In 1998, Russia was added to the G-7, or Group of Seven, creating the G-8. The G-20, or Group of 20, was created in 2008 as a response to the global financial crisis, and it catered to stagnating globalism after the Arab Awakening failed, accreting toward the worst refugee crisis since the ending of World War II.
Left unchecked, the Trump administration rescinded the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia in order to be able to counteract the accumulation of arms by China. The United States also revivified sanctions on Iran and withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement. In addition, the United States’ ostensible containment policy toward China will automatically fail because China trades with the entire world, and thus is the epitome of globalized economic integration. Since Russia “annexed,” or invaded, Crimea in 2014, the United States has had overtly belligerent and precarious relations with Russia. The United States needs to acknowledge that we live in a multilateral world and that the Cold War ethos of unilateralism is over.
Previous diplomatic action between the United States and other countries has been successful. In the 1990s, the Bush administration pursued successful multilateral coalitions that solved the invasion of Kuwait with Operation Desert Storm. Multilateral action through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, helped end the conflict in the former Yugoslav Republic.
As it stands, the G-20 is unsustainable; nothing is accomplished and it suffers the endemic fate of inertia, like Congress — there are too many actors to accomplish anything. It is an annual premier social event where member countries ostentatiously pat themselves on the back for accomplishing nothing. When it was created, realistic and effective foreign policy was not as imperative as it now is. It is the United States’ responsibility to assume the creation of a G-3 with Russia and China. Wilsonian idealism is extinct in the age of globalization. The United States is supposed to be emblematic of leadership and hope, not of fear and isolationism. We must engage the world, not retreat. Sorry, President Donald Trump, hyperpowers structure alliances in the age of multilateralism to solve world crises — they don’t get to abate from the world.
Mendel Litzman is a junior majoring in political science.