this week G-7 meeting in Germany It brings to mind Mark Twain’s dubious quote that “history does not repeat itself – it does harmonize.” Or substitute it if you like Santayana’s familiar (and authentic) axiom: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
This G7 meeting should be judged the worst G7 meeting since the one in Japan in 1979 which also took place amid a global energy crisis and spiraling inflation. Another factor that these two summits, 43 years apart, have in common: an American president waiting for lunch.
Both the 1979 meeting and this week’s meeting attempted to create an oil buyers cartel to limit oil imports but with opposite goals in mind. In 1979, the Group of Seven wanted to limit imports from the Middle East (the attempt immediately failed). today is The G7 wants to limit imports from Russia (Through the indirect means of a “price ceiling” amounting to the same share level) As the Middle East, especially the dominant producer Saudi Arabia, is begging to increase oil exports to the West.
Just as in 1979, when other G7 leaders were tough on Jimmy Carter at the top, this week Frenchman Emmanuel Macron has tried to talk nicely with Joe Biden, who seems to be trying to emulate all the mistakes of Carter’s policy. On the eve of President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia to grumble for more oil production, Macron advised Biden that the Saudis and other major producers in the Persian Gulf were close to current maximum capacity and thus could not save Biden even if they wanted to. to me.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan intervened To spare Biden what was about to become a public embarrassment, given the implicit text of Macron’s advice was that the United States needed to standardize its actions, starting with the search for our oil resources for relief.
It should be noted that France is serious about energy, unlike its neighbor Germany, which faces a real risk of running out of natural gas next winter. Unlike Biden, the French government does not launch demagogic attacks on oil giants, and recently announced its intention to build a new generation of nuclear power plants.
While Biden is undoubtedly sincere in his desire for the G7 to unite behind tougher sanctions and a boycott of Russian energy, he appears oblivious to the fact that Europe is looking for a face-saving way to ease existing sanctions that threaten to harm it. More economies than Russia.
Another similarity between Biden’s position and the dismal Carter years: Saudi Arabia has good reason to be unhappy with the United States both times. In 1979, Saudi Arabia was angry that the United States had backed down – and even encouraged – the downfall of the Shah in Iran, thus handing Iran over to the radical Islamists who have destabilized the Middle East ever since.
The Saudis resent Biden, who called them moral monsters one day, and they come begging for more oil at a lower price the next, while reopening fruitless negotiations with Iran that will have only one outcome – a nuclear-armed Iran.
The Saudis have always set their oil policy with Saudi self-interest in mind, and they will do so again now, though they might enjoy the sight of another idiot American president bowing before them. They may long for the good old days of Jimmy Carter, when it sometimes seems like Biden’s project to make Carter look good by comparison.
Stephen Hayward is a resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley and author of a new biography, “M. Stanton Evans: Conservative Intelligence, Messenger of Liberty.”
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