Democrats & Liberals Archives

Instead of G-8 Why Not G-X?

Every year the so-called Group of 8 (G-8) has a big meeting where presidents and prime ministers discuss issues of the day - poverty, climate change, etc. - and then issue statements that are filed away in government archives. This is what happened last week when President George W. Bush attended the G-8 meeting in Germany. Yawn.

Niall Ferguson thinks that the G-8 could be made more relevant if countries of rising influence would become members of the group:

But it's absurd that Brazil, China and India continue to be treated as what the Germans used to call salonsunfähig — unworthy of an invitation to the salon. They, along with Mexico and South Africa, were relegated to the antechamber of global power last week, as "outreach" countries.

Ferguson is especially concerned that China is not in the group. Perhaps China would belong if the group were solely concerned with economics. I think of the group differently. It should be concerned not so much with economics as with politics. Originally, G-7 was a group of democratic leaders, and that is what it should be. In such a group, India belongs and China does not.

Democratic countries are taking a beating on the world stage. In the UN many autocratic countries have so much influence they prevent this world body from functioning as an agent of reconciliation and peace. I believe that one reason for this is that democratic countries do not work together as a major force in the UN and elsewhere on the world stage.

Instead of expanding G-8 with other powerful countries, we should invite all democratic countries, large and small, to become members and act together to foster democratic initiatives in the UN and elsewhere. It's goal should be the spread of freedom by peaceful means.

For too long Americans have been criticizing the UN for its failings. However, one of America's biggest failings is that, though it is the most powerful member of the UN, it does not lead. With good leadership, America can make the UN a respected body that promotes openness and peace. To exercise this leadership, it would help greatly if all democratic countries became part of one united group - let's call it G-X where X is a variable that is constantly increasing.

As Ferguson says, G-8 is passe. Let's convert it into a democratic G-X.

Posted by Paul Siegel at June 11, 2007 11:00 PM
Comment #222935

The G-8 is a weird, ad-hoc group. It consists of the seven “industrialized” nations with the largest GDP, plus Russia. China is not invited because it is not considered an “industrialized” nation, even though half the stuff you pick up at Walmart is made in China. (I’m making that second part up, but I think it is basically true.) China has the second largest GDP.

I like the idea of reaching out to democracies. India belongs in the club on the basis of both economic power and political system. It has the 4th largest GDP.

Posted by: Woody Mena at June 12, 2007 6:47 AM
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