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President Joe Biden is currently in England, participating in a meeting of the G7, an informal group of wealthy democracies including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The participants have issued a statement reinforcing their shared commitment to “democracy, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights to answer the biggest questions and overcome the greatest challenges.” They promised to value individuals and promote equality, especially gender equality.
The document recognizes that the world is at a critical juncture for both humanity and the planet, and affirms that democracy, rather than autocracy, is best suited to tackle the crises at hand. To illustrate the ability of democracies to answer the world’s needs, the G7 focused on helping the world recover from the coronavirus. It pledged another billion doses of vaccine over the next year in addition to the billion already pledged—likely an attempt to rival the 260 million doses of vaccine China has sent to 95 countries—and it called for more investment across the globe to recover from the pandemic “so that no place or person, irrespective of age, ethnicity or gender is left behind.”
The G7 leaders offered a visible show of solidarity, with leaders talking and laughing together. Its statement repeated U.S. President Joe Biden’s slogan that we will “build back better,” and it painted a world that addresses climate change, prevents the exploitation of labor, demands gender equality, and protects human rights.
Right now, these promises are hopeful statements more than realities, but the show of solidarity in defense of democracy is no small thing.
This week, the New York Times broke yet more eye-popping news about the administration of former president Trump. In 2018, the Department of Justice subpoenaed Apple for information about White House counsel Don McGahn and his wife. This means that we now know that Trump’s people secretly investigated journalists, Democratic lawmakers and their families and staff… and the president’s own lawyer and his wife, apparently out of concerns about leaks.
Israel’s legislature, the Knesset, has voted 60 to 59 to support a new coalition and oust right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in power for 12 years and who is currently under indictment for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. The session was heated, with people yelling and at least seven members escorted out. In Netanyahu’s final speech, he pledged to “topple this dangerous government and return to lead the country in our way.”
In Peru, right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori is challenging her recent defeat in the presidential election, claiming election fraud, although international observers say the election was clean.
Ahead of his meeting with President Biden on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putinreinforced his power, outlawing three organizations associated with opposition leader Alexei Navalny and putting troops on the Ukraine border.
But Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spent the past several years building ties to Putin, appears to be moving back toward his country’s longstanding NATO allies.
There are lots of moving pieces in the world right now.
Heather Cox Richardson is a Professor of History at Boston College. This post originally appeared at her Substack, Letters from an American.