The Group of Eight Has Also Outlived Its Raison d'Etre

Friday, July 11 2008 @ 04:55 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

Ron Paul, who still remains in the 2008 presidential race, bases his non-interventionist platform on the wrong assumption that everything happening outside of the United States is a "blowback" resulting from the past interventionist policies. Despite his naivete, however, there's no denying that a growing number of American people have been inclined to relearn from the founding fathers, be it George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. Their principles all come down to this: "Let's mind our own business, nothing else." Ron Paul seems to fret about his fellow countrymen mistaking his non-interventionism for isolationism, but that is not an important issue.

The 34th G8 Summit was hosted by Japan from July 7 through July 9. Toyako in Hokkaido was chosen as its venue because environmental degradation in the northernmost island is not so serious as in the other part of the archipelago. The 8 leaders, along with their counterparts from the European Union, China, India, and some African nations, chitchatted over their pet issues such as what measures to take to cut the greenhouse gas emissions and how to cope with the global food crisis already affecting tens of millions of Africans and about to hit the industrialized nations as well. To demonstrate how the leaders in the developed countries are concerned about the worldwide degradation of environment, the Summit's host even staged a tree-planting ceremony on a lakeside ground.

Despite the Japanese media's acclaim for the success of the 3-day-long gathering, these guys were just exchanging empty words and symbolic gestures. That being the case, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda was the best person to preside over the pointless meetings. The Japanese people, for that matter, are the best people to host the ceremonial Summit.

Throughout its duration, the municipality of Yokohama took a token step to switch off all the night-lights on the Ferris wheel. Some other cities also "lighted down." TV stations paused their midnight broadcast as if that would have cost their audience something, rather than benefited them. Only newspaper publishers did not follow suit because they don't realize that they are one of the greatest contributors to deforestation in such countries as Brazil and Indonesia. They think they are entitled to the privilege of consuming a huge chunk of wood pulp just because they are in a position to disseminate the wornout placebo about "eco-consciousness".

The only misstep the hospitable government took in hosting seven leaders and their spouses (Sarkozy's wife was smart enough to skip the Summit extravaganza) was the meticulously prepared banquet. The July 8 edition of the Independent daily of the U.K. ran a big story with the headline "Over caviar and sea urchin, G8 leaders mull food crisis." The Times' headline read: "G8 leaders feast on 8 courses after discussing world food shortages." The Times also showed its readership the full menu which included caviar, sea urchin, hairy crab soup and the juiciest meat of milk-fed lamb as well as vintage wines. The participating leaders enjoyed the same feast even at the working lunch, which not only the starving children in Africa but also we ordinary Japanese citizens have never dreamed of seeing, let alone tasting.

The G8 framework is not alone in having outlived its raison d'etre. There are very few bilateral or multilateral frameworks which are still functioning. But as long as this G8 farce goes on like this, our fate is in the hands of these hypocrites who can comfortably talk about stabilizing gas prices as if by doing so we weren't missing the golden opportunity to break our addiction to oil. As I wrote in Time to Pull the Plug on the United Nations, it's absurd to expect America, or any other self-complacent nation for that matter, to take care of the rest of the world when it cannot take care of itself.

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