- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by BBC diplomatic correspondent Barnaby Mason
Wednesday, Jul. 25, 2001 at 11:36 AM
Analysis: G8 defensive as summit ends
This year's G8 summit will unfortunately be remembered for the death of a demonstrator shot by police, and two days of the kind of violent protests which have come to mark international meetings of this kind.
The leaders of seven major industrialised countries, plus Russia, met behind steel barricades that sealed off a large area of the old centre around the port.
The unprecedented security reinforced the image of powerful politicians cut off from their own people and the world.
At the end of their meeting, the G8 leaders deplored the violence, loss of life and mindless vandalism.
They defended the right of peaceful protesters to be heard, but said a violent minority could not be allowed to disrupt their discussions.
The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, responded angrily to the suggestion that the violence meant summits had to change.
It was turning democracy on its head, he said, to conclude that democratically elected leaders should not meet because people came to riot and throw petrol bombs at the police.
Nevertheless, the format of next year's summit in Canada is likely to change.
The Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, said the scale of the meeting in the western province of Alberta would be reduced, with much smaller delegations.
The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, said it would be held in a mountain resort in the Rockies, though Mr Chretien would not confirm that.
But this tactic for keeping away violent demonstrators would contradict recent moves to open up the G8 summit to a wide spectrum of civil society.
It might also make the leaders look even more isolated.
This year the G8 leaders went to great lengths to counter the view that they were arrogant rich politicians who did not care about poor countries.
The overall theme was fighting global poverty; as the final communique put it, making globalisation work for everyone, especially the world's poor.
New initiatives were announced. There was a programme to help developing countries develop the use of information technology, an effort to bridge the digital divide.
A plan for Africa set out a partnership between the G8 and a similar number of African countries.
Several African presidents were invited to Genoa to take part in one of the sessions.
The G8 pointed to progress in the number of highly indebted countries qualifying for debt relief - 23 now, compared with only nine a year ago.
The total relief in due course should amount to more than bn dollars. Some of it will be directed into basic education and health.
The summit also saw the formal launch of a global fund to fight Aids, malaria and tuberculosis. Promised contributions so far are a little more than bn dollars.
The response from campaigners was that the amount was hopelessly inadequate, chicken feed compared with the scale of modern western government spending.
On debt relief, only unconditional cancellation of all debts would satisfy them.
The big powers also set conditions. Aid depends to a greater or lesser degree on respect for democracy in the recipient country - the rule of law, economic reform and efforts to stamp out corruption.
That has to be borne in mind when this year's host, Mr Berlusconi, says the G8 does not want to govern the world or impose its will on other countries.
It may not literally impose, but it certainly believes it knows the way things should be done.
Global warming was the issue on which the countries of the G8 clearly could not resolve a basic disagreement among themselves.
There was no shift in President Bush's rejection of the Kyoto treaty; no shift in the European Union's determination to ratify it.
The G8 leaders said they would nevertheless work together to stabilise emissions of greenhouse gases; the Americans shared this objective.
Mr Bush said they were serious about it and were working out a strategy to do just that.
The fact remains that the United States will not accept internationally binding limits on gas emissions. That is a gaping hole in international action.
The Genoa summit as such can hardly be blamed for failing to bridge the gap. If the G8 were still an informal gathering of leaders exchanging ideas, the original fireside chat at Rambouillet in 1975, it would not matter.
But the clock cannot easily be wound back. The G8 summits have become huge events laden with unrealistic expectations. Inevitably, these are never met.
Even if the politicians could manage without the publicity, a media black-out would bring charges of secrecy and unaccountable behaviour.
The governments are engaged in messy compromises; while campaigners operate on certainty and passionate conviction.
They are never going to see things the same way.
Report this post as:
Change Links September 2018 posted
More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre
Site Outage Friday
Change Links August 2018
Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land
More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke
Change Links 2018 July posted
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings)
Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico
Change Links May 2018
Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
More Local News...
OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala
Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation!
Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme
Paraphysique de psychosomatique
Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal
Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy
Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales
Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc
Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk
Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement
The Dictatorship of Corporations
18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting
Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue
Shopping du bashing
After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again
“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen
Probabilités de fin d'humanité
Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW
Steer clear of work morality!
The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally!
August 2018 Honduras Coup update
Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges
Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts
Paraphysique de contextualité
Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism
Ex-voto de réification
Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh
More Breaking News...