Joe Biden wants to restore American credibility and rally the Democratic world to a historic struggle with the authoritarians led by Russia and China.
Boris Johnson wants to fly the UK flag – and must cement global relations to justify his post-Brexit vision of ‘Global Britain’.
Others are concerned about Covid 19, the ever-present challenge of a global response to climate change and the coming shock of the post-pandemic recession.
But everyone has their own national interests to defend at the G7 summit, and they are not always comfortably aligned.
This is what the Seven Nations want.
The G7 is the first test of Boris Johnson’s grandiose, if somewhat vague, ideas of a “world Britain” government set out in the Integrated Foreign and Defense Policy Review published in the spring.
The central thesis is that post-Brexit Britain can be a “convener” – a country with the diplomatic clout and respect for allies and adversaries to negotiate progress on the enormous global challenges facing all governments.
Two global issues stand out.
The most urgent is the recovery of the Covid-19. Mr Johnson has set a date to get the whole world vaccinated by the end of 2022.
There are strong doubts as to whether this is feasible, and major differences over the details – especially whether rich countries should give up intellectual property rights to vaccines. But he will be able to claim a victory if the G7 produces some kind of action plan.
The other big problem is climate change. The UK is hosting the COP 26 summit in Glasgow in the fall, and Mr Johnson will be keen to use the G7 to lay the groundwork for a successful global deal to cut emissions and stop rising temperatures.
He will be in alignment with Mr. Biden on China and Russia.
Then there are domestic British interests. The clash with Europe over trade and the Northern Ireland Protocol will dominate meetings with all European leaders, and indeed Joe Biden.
And, of course, trade. The guest list – South Korea, South Africa, Australia and India – reflects Britain’s desire for free trade deals beyond Europe.
Emmanuel Macron is under siege at home, and a rising far right means he will face a tough election in 2022.
He will therefore want to be seen as vigorously defending French interests in the G7, and demonstrating that Paris remains at the center of world leadership.
He will be very happy to push Mr Johnson on the controversial Brexit issues, including the rights of French fishermen and the future of the Northern Ireland protocol.
And he will push hard for more help from Covid for Africa, and eager to claim credit for whatever emerges – this is a traditional sphere of French leadership that Mr Macron does not intend to cede to none of his fellow Western leaders.
He spoke unambiguously in favor of Mr Biden’s call for a vaccine patent waiver, aligning with the United States, South Africa and India, but setting himself on a trajectory collision with EU ally Angela Merkel and Britain’s Boris Johnson.
This will be Angela Merkel’s last summit before she steps down as Chancellor in September.
After 15 years in office, she is by far the most experienced of the leaders present and has great credibility as a stateswoman who maintained the liberal world order during Donald Trump’s turbulent years.
She will unveil an ambitious German climate change plan to reach net zero by 2045, and she will push Mr Johnson hard on the Northern Ireland protocol.
His encounters with Mr. Biden can be tense. She refused to cancel the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Germany and Russia – which the United States sees as a Kremlin foreign policy tool designed to weaken Europe and undermine solidarity with Ukraine. She also opposes her idea of giving up patents on the Covid vaccine.
Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese Prime Minister, has been in office for less than a year.
He will also seek support for his not-quite-popular decision to move the Tokyo Olympics forward this summer, despite the Covid pandemic.
He will also want assurances from his allies on China, especially his increasingly assertive claims to the waters of the Western Pacific, but could resist anything he sees as overly confrontational rhetoric about China. superpower neighboring Japan.
The presence of South Korea as a guest will be slightly irritating for Japan. The two neighbors, although the two US allies are deeply concerned about China, have had strained relations throughout the history of the 20th century.
And Japan was alarmed by suggestions made in the run-up to the summit that Mr Johnson wanted to recruit the invited powers into a new semi-formal group of “D-10” democracies to counter China. This idea could dilute the weight of the G7 and jeopardize Japan’s status as the only Asian member at the first table.
Justin Trudeau will seek to reestablish ties with the United States after frequent disagreements with Mr. Trump between 2016 and 2020.
He will be well aligned with Mr Johnson and Mr Biden on China, which is holding two Canadians on espionage charges in retaliation for Ottawa’s arrest of a Huawei executive.
He was less enthusiastic about Mr Biden’s call for a Covid vaccine waiver, but said he would not block one – provided it is negotiated through the World Trade Organization.
But he can be slightly embarrassed when the talks revolve around climate change.
Canada is the fourth largest oil producer in the world and has the highest emissions growth rate of any G7 country since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016. Critics say the expansion of the oil and gas industry contradicts Mr. Trudeau’s commitment to reducing emissions.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi was previously governor of the European Central Bank, and his G7 shopping list is rightly focused on the economy.
He is a big supporter of the proposed 15% global minimum tax on multinationals, which G7 finance ministers are about to endorse. He also wants mechanisms to keep poorer countries from getting into debt as the global pandemic gives way to a global recession.
In talks with Mr Biden and EU leaders, he will voice his concerns about migration across the Mediterranean – and in particular the instability in Libya, Italy’s southern neighbor.
Mr. Biden probably has the greatest performance anxiety of all.
He’s once said he wants to prove America is “back” as a world leader, and he’s set ambitious goals for himself.
He wants other leaders to agree to waive patents on Covid vaccines – a request made by India and South Africa, who will attend the summit as guests, but to which Merkel and Britain’s Boris Johnson opposed… at least for now.
He wants commitments to help developing countries improve their infrastructure and switch to a green economy, in direct competition with China’s belts and roads program.
And perhaps most daringly of all, he wants to rally democracies for what he sees as an epoch global struggle between open societies and their enemies – personified by China and Russia.
In exchange for the exclusion of sanctions on Nord Stream 2, he will want Merkel to commit to supporting Ukraine and seriously standing up to Russia.
He will have harsh words with Boris Johnson and EU leaders over the Northern Ireland protocol. The United States will not tolerate anything that compromises the Good Friday Agreement. Thursday that they must “behave” to attract jobs and investment.