Whereas the G8 is trying to redefine its role in a changing political landscape, new emerging world powers have an intention to step out from shadow of the US and "old Europe". After South Africa had joined BRIC, it became apparent that G20 turned into a pull rope between the two opposite forums – the G8 and BRICS. If Mexico, Argentina, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia follow South African example, the new global division might lead to the resurrection of Cold War rhetoric.
Against this background, a controversial US-China forum (the G2) which serves as a transatlantic as well as a transpacific bridge between these two states is considered to be a wise step towards setting up a new pillar in a multipolar world. Not aiming at changing the existing world order, this forum plays a vital role in bolstering its political weight in a broader framework of G8-G20-UN. The practice of establishing high-level bilateral relations between big political actors who have some common as well as conflicting interests adds up more balance and in the long run stability to the global political stage.
The proposal to set up a G2 forum between Russia and Canada is rooted in the same benefits for the international politics which the US-China forum poses. According to the Brookings Institution repot on the G8, “the most pressing issue is not, in fact, whether to maintain or discontinue the G8, but instead to identify ways to draw non-Western powers into security cooperation”. Following this line of argument and bearing in mind Russia’s special role as the only state which is a member of both G8 and BRICS, one can suggest the establishing of a new G2 between Canada and Russia. This initiative will build closer ties between the aforementioned parties, assist in improving mutual understanding between BRICS and G8 members, and increase global security collaboration.
Future successful cooperation between Canada and Russia is based on a number of important similarities, such as the size of the states, similar geographical and in part demographical conditions. According to the World Bank eAtlas of Global Development 2011, both states have 95 percent of primary education completion rate, the share of women in total employment is 45 percent, the share of undernourishment population is less than five percent, 99-100 percent of population have access to an improved water source. Also Canada and Russia are close in such indicators as gross national income per capita, foreign direct investments, the share of urban population, the share of agricultural output, energy use per capita, and the greenhouse gases emissions per capita. Moreover, both states have a nearly coincident percent of international migrants and the national governments put a special emphasis on multicultural integration.
These trends support the fact that the countries face a number of similar internal problems. With regard to climate change matters, both states have sub-Arctic regions with 0,4 percent of Canadians and five percent of Russians living in the respective areas. According to the permafrost modeling forecast ECHAM, both states can lose nearly 20 percent of their permafrost territories. The latter is directly linked with states’ oil and gas extraction. Finally, both countries share similar concerns over new international rules of navigation and broad maritime security agenda.
The abovementioned common trends, preconditions and challenges form a basis for a new Canada-Russia high-level forum.
Olga Kolesnichenko is a freelance journalist and European security expert.