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Multilateralism Is Dead. Long Live the G-7

Host Emmanuel Macron has vowed to “innovate,” but that likely won’t be enough to save the international order.

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Illustration: Nichole Shinn for Bloomberg Businessweek
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By 2 a.m. on June 29, officials locked away in the negotiating room at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, were starting to fall asleep.

They’d been working without a break for two days, subsisting on pasta with shrimp paste and other unpalatable fusion fare, and yet were no closer to drafting a communiqué that all the world leaders present could accept. As the fatigue set in, the “Sherpas,” as these officials are known, decided the only way to stay awake was to conduct the rest of the meeting standing up. Even that didn’t resolve the impasse.