We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The late G8

Those who look for symbolism as a guide to events might like to note that ‘Evian’ spelled backwards is ‘Naive’. Whilst I would never suggest that that is anything except concidental I do reckon that even a casual observer of the latest G8 conference in that Southern French town would have noticed that idealism (to the extent that it ever existed at all) has given way to thorny realpolitik.

No amount of mutual backslapping and bonhomie can disguise the fact that this latest conference was little more than a cosmetic exercise in alleged unity of purpose where none, in fact, exists. Quite aside from the fact that US-EU tensions are hardly going to be settled by a couple of days of diplomatic chinwagging in the Alps, the early exit of George Bush illustrates pretty effectively where he feels his priorities lie:

President George W Bush was not present for the summit’s final session on Tuesday, having left the previous day on the Middle Eastern leg of his foreign tour.

Nothing could illustrate more clearly that the Americans regard the Middle-East as a more pressing concern than the latest round of plaintiff appeals for ‘international somethingorother’ from the likes of Chirac and Shroeder. The former demands attention, the latter can be safely stacked in the pending tray.

But even aside from that, there are cracks which just cannot be papered over with reams of polite communiques. Even a left-of-centre and devoutly internationalist British PM is pressing for a different worldview than the one assiduously promoted from Paris. The result will be no single worldview at all.

I suspect that this G8 malarkey has had its day and not because of the travelling circus of the ‘Great Unwashed’ wreaking havoc and gutting town-centres in its wake, but rather because the reasons for its inception just no longer hold true. This annual round of global group-hugging was only important when it was felt (perhaps not unreasonably) that the interests of the world’s great industrial powers were converging. They are not converging any longer and, if anything, they are diverging. This is not so much globalisation as polarisation.

This will likely not be the last G8 summit. There will probably be more in the future. But I suspect we have seen the last meaningful one and that the summits of tomorrow will be prove to be nothing more than an exercise in formality and politeness where the delegates exchange chit-chat whilst waiting for something bigger and more exciting to come along.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VK

4 comments to The late G8

  • Is there any truth in the claims that the US is feeling more forgiving to France now, and that some kind of “normal working relationship” is restarting?

  • G Cooper

    I absolutey agree with Mr. Carr’s analysis of the progressive lack of importance of these beanfeasts. The only people getting any benefit from them seem to be the ‘no logo’ Neanderthals who do seem to enjoy their spot of looting here and there.

    Incidentally, did anyone else catch this evening’s BBC Radio 4 coverage of the G8 conference on PM? It featured one of the most openly biased pieces of anti-US polemic by the BBC reporter covering the event (and who’s name I didn’t manage to catch) that I have ever heard outside the pages of the Independent. Had I not been stuck in traffic I might even have called in a complaint about it – it was quite astonishingly brazen.

    Currently the BBC is operating a gloves-off policy, circling the wounded Blair more tightly with every news broadcast, laying into the US over …well just about anything, really and generally enjoying itself in a fit of smugly indignant self-righteousness.

    I wonder if ‘Tone’ is at last regretting having given control of the BBC to his (presumably former)supporter and party donator, Greg Dyke?

  • Russ Goble

    Mark, with regards to France, I suspect that is the line put out be the state department, whose natural inclination is to more forgiving to just about anybody. Perhaps, it’s a famous Bush rope-a-dope, let Chirac and de Villepen feel confident enough to overplay their hand where the EU and UN are concern, making it more possible to de-legitimize both bodies.

    Or it could be genuine, which worries me because the Bush administration has shown a little bit of a habit of trying to make nice whenever the supposedly hard work is done. We’ve tried to make nice with the UN and let them in to start choking off whatever free market may be developing in Iraq (read Mark Steyn’s latest in the Telegraph). Or, as has happened with the Shiites, we are so concerned about not offending muslim sensibilities we are letting the Iraqi shiites strong arm their way around Iraq, thus damaging the “feeling” of freedom some Iraqis have. And God knows, he’d tried to make nice with the Democrats several times only to see that they will never return the favor. Sounds like what would happen with France.

    In summary, I hope we don’t let France off easy. I suspect Bush and Co. won’t, but there are troubling signs that they might.

    As for the G8, it has even less purpose for our new world than the UN, which is unfortunate because it would seem a natural place to seek unity in the war on terror.

  • Andrew X

    Regarding the BBC and it’s fellow travellers…

    Just remember that the more people are getting the life squeezed out of them, the louder they scream.