Hovering over the Group of 7 meeting and the NATO summit that follows it is a perilous moment for the global economy, probably the most tenuous since the 2008-09 financial crisis.
Inflation has flared across the United States and Europe, driven by the supply-chain disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic; a surge of consumer demand as economies have reopened; and, in recent months, a spike in food and energy prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Rapid price increases have hurt workers and families across G7 nations and eroded their leaders’ standing in the polls — particularly President Biden’s.
For all their calls for unity, the gathered leaders will be hard-pressed to find quick and concrete ways that they can work together to help relieve that economic and political pain.
They are set to discuss infrastructure investment and other ways to unsnarl global supply chains; new steps to counter trade practices by China that American leaders and others call predatory on the international scale; and a range of issues surrounding inflation. But all fear that interest rate increases could be a prelude to recession.
Perhaps most urgently for Mr. Biden, the leaders are expected to discuss ways to bring down global oil prices — and with them, prices for drivers at the gasoline pump — including possible changes to how European nations have sought to hurt Russia’s oil export business.
The leaders are also expected to spend significant time discussing global agriculture and how to increase the world’s food supply as the war cuts off access to critical sources of nourishment for rich and poor countries alike. So far, the Biden administration hasn’t been able to get Ukraine’s farm products to the global market.
And all of this comes as Russia is doing what it can to tighten the noose, in what appears to be an effort to bring President Volodymyr Zelensky’s country to economic collapse.