The G7 is not all it’s cracked up to be

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak has hailed the Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers’ cross-border tax proposals as ‘truly historic’ and ‘seismic’. These proposals, which would establish a minimum global corporate tax, are to be targeted at multinational companies.

You can understand why Sunak was making noise about this. For years the largest international corporations, including the iconic Big Tech firms, have been adept at minimising their global tax bills. Making them stump up more lucre allows the UK government to pose as a global leader, and to give substance to its ill-defined ‘Global Britain’ slogan. No doubt there will be more of this from Boris Johnson this weekend, given it is Britain’s turn to host the G7.

Leaving aside the hyperbole from British ministers, what might the G7 tax agreement tell us about the state of international relations? In particular, does it represent the historic revival of ‘multilateral co-operation’, as many commentators have claimed? No, not really, is the short answer. Read the full article here.

A culture war against China

After the defeat of Donald Trump many international relations commentators think that Western politicians and diplomats can now revert to their postwar multilateralist ways, without having to deal with an unpredictable and erratic American president. No more unilateralist antics. No more disregard and contempt for America’s allies. And no more capricious provocation of China, with the dire potential consequence of a military standoff.

But this expectation of a reassuring return to international norms could actually be much more dangerous to global peace than anything Trump initiated. A resumption of Western complacencies about international affairs would only compound the existing deep-rooted challenges – challenges that have in fact been exacerbated by the response to Covid-19 far more than by Trump.

Read the full article here.

Video introducing my latest book “Beyond Confrontation”

My latest book “Beyond Confrontation: Globalists, Nationalists and Their Discontents” addresses the escalation of international rivalries – West-East, US-China and intra-Western – all of which have been amplified by the impact of the pandemic.  In this short video posted on LinkedIn I explain more about the book.

Why the West must stop bashing China

Problems in the US are for American people to resolve. Problems within Britain are for British people to sort out. The same applies with regard to China’s national sovereignty. Chinese Communist Party repression against Chinese people, the same as the repression meted out by authoritarian regimes anywhere, will not be resolved by other governments or international bodies stepping in with economic or other weaponry.

The basic solidarity principle to follow is that to be genuine, freedoms have to be secured by ordinary Chinese people. History reveals that durable liberty and democratic politics are not things that can be brought about by government bodies nor by outside institutions, but only by the people themselves.

From this perspective, there are five reasons that Western China-bashing is regressive, counterproductive and dangerous.

Read the full article here.