The US independent analytical publication War on the Rocks writes about whether Japan will be able to bring Russia back to the G7. 2016 will be a special year for Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. As chairman of the G7 summit he seeks to demonstrate the global leadership of his country. The so-called ‘doctrine of Abe’, which involves a multi-vector foreign policy, became super successful over the last three years – the Japanese leader has visited 63 countries and conducted more than 400 high-level meetings.
However the most difficult aspect of the Japanese foreign policy is to ensure Russian-Japanese relations against the background of the forthcoming G7 summit. The ongoing territorial dispute between the states over the Kuril Islands, as well as the absence of a formal peace treaty after World War II complicate the diplomatic rapprochement, but despite this, the two leaders are ready to meet each other. According to experts, so far Abe is the only world leader of the G7 who has the ability not only to establish a partnership with Russia, but also to become a mediator between the West and the Kremlin. It is unlikely that Russia will participate in the summit this year, but Abe has announced that an informal summit with a participation of the head of the Russian Federation will be held in Sochi in May, which is extremely important in the light of the international trends. A meeting of the leaders in Sochi will be held on the eve of the G7 summit and a possible visit of Vladimir Putin to Japan will take place after the meeting of the G7, which, in turn, confirms the commitment of the Japanese leader to do everything to facilitate the return of Russia to the international political arena.
If Abe will be able to pave the way for q convergence of the Kremlin and Washington, it will not only strengthen Japan’s status as a world leader, but will also create a number of opportunities to reduce the tense situation in the world. The strategic partnership between Moscow and Tokyo has a number of advantages for both countries and for the region as a whole. A convergence between the two leaders will be continued through various international platforms, which in turn has a positive effect on the image of Russia in the world.
Although Russia and Japan are not ready to cooperate, there is a number of reasons why the Russian leader is extremely wary of the Japanese Prime Minister. For example, the subordination between Tokyo and Washington. As a long-time US ally, Japan has to competently approach its foreign policy, in order not to cause a further aggravation of the conflict between the Kremlin and the White House. Abe’s task is to convince his colleagues, the member states of the G7 summit, of the fact that Russia is an important geopolitical player, and without its participation it would be impossible to resolve either the Syrian crisis, or to solve the problems of the European migrant crisis. In addition, the Japanese Prime Minister will resolve the territorial dispute with Russia, which probably will not be as difficult as it used to be in the light of Moscow’s readiness to discuss and resolve these issues.
Given the enthusiasm of the Japanese Prime Minister and the favorable geo-political climate, there is a high probability that the G7 Summit will be the starting point of Russia’s return to the world political arena.
The British publication The Guardian writes about why Moscow and Washington need each other. The Syrian war has been going on for a long time, but diplomacy is so inefficient that the hope for a quick end to the crisis is becoming less realistic with each passing day. However, the cessation of hostilities was agreed by almost all the warring parties and this gives a chance to the world community that joint actions can bring visible results.
A difficult and dangerous mess in Syria has led to the fact that even those states that are opposed to each other in the strategic and political sense have faced a necessity of cooperation to prevent an even greater danger. The threat of the large-scale war was a factor that contributed to the rapprochement between Washington and Moscow, at least regarding a settlement of the Syrian crisis.
Russia’s intervention in the situation in Syria has affected significantly the international community as a whole, which is aware of the complexity of the situation and the need to cooperate with the Kremlin to solve the problems of the Middle East. Moscow has managed to achieve a ceasefire in Syria due to competent diplomacy and foreign policy. The United States and Europe have to recognize the fact that Russia has managed to reach agreement with many of the opposing forces in the SAR, which has led to a reduction of tensions in the region. The US influence in Damascus is very weak, but in order to fight international terrorism, it needs an ally who is trusted in the conflict region. And this ally is Russia. Moscow and Washington need each other at least in order to alleviate the suffering of millions of Syrians caught up in the heart of the acute geopolitical events.