OpEdNews Op Eds

Yet Another G8 Farce

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Few expect the G8 summit taking place in Heiligendamm, Germany from June 6-8 to yield positive results. The main question is how much damage Bush will do to US international standing during these three days.

At last year’s G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Bush made headlines by groping German Chancellor Angela Merkl as she spoke with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

This year, demonstrators have filled the streets near Heiligendamm, a seaside resort in northern Germany, to protest the Bush administration’s policies as well as the annual G8 meeting (of government heads from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy Japan, Russia and the United States). Organizers estimated that 80,000 took part in pre-summit protests on Saturday and police used water cannons when 10,000 demonstrators infiltrated the security zone close to the meeting on Wednesday.

It’s a far cry from the August 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, where both Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair repositioned themselves from Iraq warmongers to anti-poverty activists by making positive noises about helping Africa.

As usual, musicians Bono and Bob Geldof (who organized the accompanying Live 8 concerts) heaped praise on both failed leaders at Gleneagles – and denied the obvious connection between war and poverty. By the summit’s close, the G8 had unsurprisingly made little progress on global warming, thanks to resistance from Bush, but had pledged to write off the debts of 18 countries and double African aid to $50 billion.

Bono called the result "extremely meaningful" and Geldof proclaimed, "a great justice has been done … On aid, 10 out of 10; on debt, eight out of 10 … Mission accomplished frankly."

As if. First, the G8’s supposed largesse wasn’t due to kick in until years later, leaving far too much leeway for countries to wiggle out of the commitment. And as journalist George Monbiot noted, Germany and Italy soon said that "budgetary constraints" might prevent them from honoring the funding commitments they’d just made; one week later, a leaked document showed that four International Monetary Fund directors were trying to overturn the G8 debt deal. Within days, the British cabinet minister in charge of financial matters stunningly admitted that the extra funding G8 leaders had promised for aid included "the numbers for debt relief" – as Monbiot put it, "The extra money they had promised for aid and the extra money they had promised for debt relief were in fact one and the same."

So the whole 2005 summit and its accompanying hoopla ended up something of a farce, a celebrity-filled extravaganza to convince the public that positive action was being taken on Africa, when in fact the continent had once again been given the shaft.

At this year’s G8 summit in Heiligendamm, the war of words between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bush over a proposed US missile "defense" system in Eastern Europe is distracting attention from other critical topics. Once again, the US is blocking progress on global warming and has rejected a proposal to strengthen compliance with new aid promises for Africa. Along with Britain, the US is also fighting proposed regulation of speculative hedge funds.

At least Bono and Geldof have finally come out and criticized G8 leaders for "not keeping their promises" on aid to Africa. That’s something.

Watch Heather at www.youtube.com/heatherwokusch and at

 

http://www.heatherwokusch.com

Heather Wokusch is the author of The Progressives' Handbook: Get the Facts and Make a Difference Now, which went to #1 on Amazon's political activism charts in December 2007 (www.progressiveshandbook.com). Heather can be reached at (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

You're Scaring Me, Obama: Let the Bush Years Die

Breaking the Nuremberg Code: The US Military's Human-Testing Program Returns

Rumsfeld's Guinea Pigs: US Citizens at Risk for Military-Weapons Testing

Easter Surprise: Attack on Iran, New 9/11... or Worse

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments

 

Tell a Friend: Tell A Friend


Copyright © 2002-2014, OpEdNews

Powered by Populum