G7 Hiroshima meeting damages the quest for world peace
Protesters in Japan demonstrate against the Group of Seven nations' meeting in Hiroshima. Peace activists in Japan opposed the summit's focus on weapons for the Ukraine war and the installation of U.S. nuclear missile-armed submarines in South Korea. | Hiro Komae / AP

One would think that the G7, the most powerful nations in the world meeting in Hiroshima—the site of the explosion of a nuclear bomb that killed tens of thousands and maimed many for generations—would bring the world at least a bit closer to nuclear disarmament and the admittedly elusive goal of world peace.

It didn’t happen, however, and much of the blame lies with the negative role of the U.S. at the gathering, which ended this past weekend.

Missing from the meeting was Russia, of course, which has been expelled for years, after it moved into Crimea. The G7 (formerly the G8) is now made up of the United States, Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy. China, despite being the world’s second-largest economy, wasn’t invited. Other nations, particularly ones the U.S. wanted to pressure into sending weapons to Ukraine, however, were present.

Among that group were the South Koreans, who refused once again this weekend to sign up for weapons shipments. They had the honor just weeks ago of being the country into which the U.S. decided to place nuclear weapons for the first time since the 1990s. U.S. armaments makers recently helped fund the election campaign of the right-wing replacement of a South Korean government that had called for peace talks with North Korea.

Other countries at the meeting, including Brazil and India, also refused to send weapons.

The G7 countries themselves all went along with the U.S. call for F-16 jets, though, as well as more tanks, anti-tank weapons, ammunition, artillery equipment, and other things to be pumped into a conflict that has cost the U.S. taxpayers so far almost $50 billion in weapons alone.

Unlike the G7 this past weekend, countries like Brazil, China, and South Africa have been trying to stop the war, with calls for a ceasefire and negotiations. They have coupled these calls with diplomatic forays to both Kiev and Moscow.

Alongside the pressure for more war, there were, of course, also the obligatory ceremonies this weekend at eternal flames and memorials for the victims of Hiroshima. President Volodymyr Zelensky, unfortunately, remarked that the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima could not be compared with the “immoral shelling of Bahkmut” by the Russians. It’s hard to imagine what was “moral” about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The U.S. destruction of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, was not at all necessary to end World War II. In Europe, Hitler and Mussolini were already dead, and in Japan, the Navy and the Emperor were not in a position to carry on with the war. The Hiroshima bombing was simply to show the world—especially the Soviet Union—that the U.S. was now in charge. That would last until its monopoly on nuclear weapons was broken by the USSR four years later.

Perhaps the worst part of the G7 meeting, however, was that there were essentially no plans put forward to solve the major problems of the world, which is ostensibly the reason for the gathering. The attacks on both Russia and China, in fact, helped put that goal further away from being achieved than it had been when the meeting started.

Important planning not done

None of the hoped-for major concrete initiatives for tackling climate change emerged. No strategies for international efforts at building up clean energy or for battling the starvation and hunger stalking so much of the planet came out of the meeting. These and other efforts, of course, are needed to tackle the worldwide migration crisis.

The G7 nations, together with Russia and China, need to cooperate if those problems are to be meaningfully addressed. The short-sightedness of those who pursue the goal of U.S. supremacy on a world scale and the spreading of NATO’s power all over the planet was on full display and explains the lack of progress in those important areas of world concern.

Who can blame China for saying Monday that the G7 gathering endangered the chance of achieving world peace?

It is clear the U.S. headed up and succeeded in getting six other powerful countries to obstruct the only efforts that ARE now underway for peace. How awful it is to come out of a meeting in Hiroshima with world peace only further obstructed than it had been before the leaders gathered.

How terrible it is that the G7 countries leave their meeting in Hiroshima with the region in which they gathered more destabilized than when they began. They did nothing to encourage disarmament and, in fact, sealed the deal on more U.S. nukes being sent to the region.

How terrible it is that they did nothing to relieve the oppression of many of the developing countries in the world. This was an opportunity for massive debt relief to be extended to poorer nations and for real economic progress to become possible for them. Those profiting off the huge debt in those countries and the profiteering arms producers and fossil fuel companies in the West would have no part of this.

Peace—and the economic progress that goes with it—were essentially ignored by the G7 in favor of more armaments for war and more attacks on China and Russia, countries that must be part of the plans to develop a more peaceful world of economic cooperation and progress.

How terrible it is that the G7 vilified China, the world’s second-largest economic powerhouse, behind the U.S. when they should be working with China on both world trade and economic development and with China on its efforts for peace. Instead, they signaled they will continue to interfere in China’s internal affairs with veiled threats about what would happen if things don’t go the U.S. way on Taiwan.

In addition, they essentially approved the U.S military buildups all over the region, including in the Philippines and the South China Sea, and they encouraged the remilitarization of Japan while they condemned Russia for having ships in the Black Sea, a body of water surrounded on all sides by Russian territory and a body of water in which U.S. and NATO ships conduct war games.

It is going to take a powerful peace movement all over the world to stop and reverse the dangerous course on which the weapons makers and the capitalist profiteers at the fossil fuel and other companies are pushing. Failure to prevent them from advancing the militaristic policies currently pursued by the G7 countries could eventually have unimaginably horrific consequences.

The people of the world are entitled to much better than what they got from the leaders at the G7 meeting last week.

As with all op-eds published by People’s World, this article represents the opinions of the author.

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John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.