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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.26 minutes to read.

For all of Biden’s attempts to put forward a show of comity, there were limits on what the leaders could agree to in the end. One of Biden’s major proposals to the group — a global infrastructure program meant to compete with China’s Belt and Road initiative — was included in the summit’s final statement. But it didn’t include any specific commitments from countries on how much they’re willing to contribute…

And though language on China went further in calling out Beijing’s human rights and economic abuses than previous G7 statements, earlier drafts of the communiqué were sharper. Behind the scenes, European leaders appeared resistant to go as far as Biden wanted in holding China to account… Biden has framed his entire trip around the notion of defending democracy in a battle against authoritarianism. But some in Europe find the democracy versus autocracy formulation overly reductive, allowing little room for the reality that many countries will end up relying on China or Russia in some form or another.

Kevin Liptak, CNN

Others note that “Even before Biden’s departure, polling showed the United States regaining its stature after it had so horribly diminished under the last president. A Pew Research survey found: ‘In each of the 16 publics surveyed, more than six-in-ten say they have confidence in Biden to do the right thing in world affairs. Looking at 12 nations surveyed both this year and in 2020, a median of 75% express confidence in Biden, compared with 17% for [then president Donald Trump] last year.’…

His administration’s decision to rejoin the World Health Organization drew huge approval (a median of 89 percent), as did its move to rejoin the Paris climate agreement (85 percent), to organize a summit of democracies (85 percent) and to increase the number of refugee admissions in the United States (76 percent). Many pundits and foreign policy officials feared Biden’s predecessor did lasting and permanent damage to U.S. influence, prestige and power around the world. So far, Biden is showing that fear to be overblown.

Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post ($ or try incognito)

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.45 minutes to read.

Mr. Biden often criticized Donald Trump’s China policy for not involving allies, and he had a point. China practices divide-and-conquer politics internationally, and Chinese mercantilism is best resisted by an alliance of democracies that can show Beijing it can’t play one off against another…

“But the weakness of ‘multilateralism’ is that it requires unity of purpose that can be defeated by the lowest-common-denominator participant. European leaders are reluctant to put their exports to China at risk with too forceful a stance. That’s why they’ve merely mumbled criticism of China’s decision to strangle the autonomy that Beijing promised Hong Kong in its treaty with Britain…

On Covid-19’s origin, meanwhile, the G-7 is already demonstrating the weakness of multilateralism backed only by gauzy, hopeful rhetoric. ‘We also call for a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China,’ says Sunday’s communique. Is that it? The world’s leaders want the same WHO that failed in its first Covid-19 origin study to do another one—this time with . . . feeling?

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

The G7 countries should launch a joint investigation into the origins of the virus to complement the ongoing Five Eyes inquiries. Countries such as Japan, Germany, France, and Italy with world-class intelligence services and medical-research institutions can share the benefits of their expertise and their insights on China…

A G7 investigation could illuminate not only the scientific evidence for the origins of the pandemic, but the reasons for China’s systematic cover-up of the facts surrounding both a possible lab leak and even the potential zoonotic origins of the virus. If Beijing refuses to comply in full with such an inquiry by the world’s leading powers and consumers of Chinese products, our nations could launch a coordinated campaign to impose sanctions — including against the WIV and its parent body, the Chinese Academy of Sciences — for its willful disregard of our collective security, economic stability, and public health. This could be accompanied by other forms of strategic pressure including tariffs, export controls, and restrictions on access to capital and intellectual property. Let’s face it: China has, through its failure to simply inform other nations of the pandemic’s potential to spread human-to-human in a stealthy and rapid fashion, cost the world economy trillions of dollars in lost growth potential and fiscal loss.

David Asher, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former State Department staffer. (Published in National Review)