July 13, 2005
G-8 SUMMIT: 'REAL AND SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS'
** Hopeful writers see a "platform for future progress" emerging from the G-8 summit.
** Papers demand change in the "unfair world economic system" to fix "Africa's sorry state."
** Liberal media call the U.S. "isolated and unyielding" on the global warming issue.
** "New, rising global powers" such as China and India should join the G-8.
'A modest but real advance'-- Optimistic papers praised the G-8 summit for achieving "at least fruitful, if not decisive" results despite the London blasts. Canada's leading Globe and Mail stated this G-8 summit "achieved more than any other in memory," and Bangladesh's independent Daily Star noted the G-8 showed it will "accept responsibility for alleviating poverty and acting for the common global good." The positive commentary belied pre-summit fears of "excessive expectations" for the "unparalleled media spectacle"; Britain's left-of-center Guardian had cautioned it was "foolish to expect too much." Critics slammed the "exploitative" and "arrogant" G-8; Norway's independent Dagbladet saw "little greatness" among G-8 leaders.
'Trade, not aid'-- As for aid to Africa, observers judged that "euphoria is inappropriate" unless the "scandal of rich-world farm subsidies ends." Germany's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung found it "disgraceful that rich countries continue to cling to their agricultural subsidies," while Ghana's regional Independent said the "G-8 members who claim to love Africa [must] open up their markets." Citing "never-ending corruption" and "tyrannical regimes," conservative papers stressed Africa "must help itself." Chile's La Tercera noted Africans "are the only ones who can put an end to their problems." Leftist outlets blasted the G-8's "vainglorious phraseology of debt forgiveness," instead urging "meaningful action to help the world's poorest."
'Stubborn and irresponsible'-- Dailies criticized the U.S., the "world's biggest and richest polluter," for refusing to "tackle the global warming issue seriously." They termed the G-8's final climate statement a "plan of action in name only" which will, said the left-of-center Irish Examiner, "free America to continue polluting...with disastrous implications." Turkey's mass-appeal Sabah claimed Bush "does not care about global warming." Other dailies lauded Bush's "conciliatory" remarks on the human role in climate change as signaling a "less rigid position." Italy's centrist Corriere della Sera praised Bush's "move forward," while France's centrist La Tribune labeled the "noticeable evolution of the U.S. position" a "sign of hope."
'China and India should be invited'-- Questioning the G-8's "democratic legitimacy," papers advised the G-8 to "consider its own composition and future carefully." Arguing the G-8 "needs a major overhaul," Russia's centrist Krasnaya Zvezda proposed China and India's admission. India's right-of-center Pioneer declared "India should be a member," while Hong Kong's independent South China Morning Post urged the G-8 to update its membership rolls and opined "the most obvious candidate is China." Japan's conservative Sankei cautioned that Beijing saw G-8 entry solely as a way to "counter U.S. domination of world affairs."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, email@example.com
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 120 reports from 40 countries over 5 - 13 July, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Faced With This Crisis: Instead Of Denying Climate Change Is Happening, The U.S. Now Denies That We Need Proper Regulation To Stop It"
George Monbiot commented in the left-of-center Guardian (7/12): "Faced with the greatest crisis humanity has ever encountered, the most powerful men in the world have meekly resolved to 'promote' better practice and to 'encourage' companies to do better. The R-word is half-mentioned twice: they will 'improve regulatory...frameworks'. This could mean anything: most of the G8 governments define better regulation as less regulation. Nowhere is there a clear statement that they will force anyone to do anything to stop destroying the conditions which sustain human life."
"Aid Is Well Worth Trying"
Chief economics commentator Martin Wolf wrote in the independent Financial Times (7/6): "The soft heart says that the rich countries should help the people of this ravaged continent. The hard head says that they cannot be confident of being able to do so. The sensible balance between the two is to proceed with preconditions.... Provided the increase in aid does not overwhelm economies, and governments are pledged to sensible policies and accountable spending, it is well worth trying. But no programme of external assistance will make poverty history. That can be achieved by Africans alone.”
"Befuddled By The Fog Of Kyoto: Britain’s Environmental Policy Is A Costly Shambles Based On Dubious Predictions"
Associate Editor Rosemary Righter held in the conservative Times (7/6): "How might governments get themselves off the Kyoto hook? By focusing on incentives rather than imposed targets. The goal should be to make carbon-free energy economically viable, and that will require heavy investment in such technologies as solar photovoltaics, carbon sequestrian and hydrogen technology. Governments need to get away from targets and penalties, and concentrate on maximizing the potential of research. Because this is what the Bush Administration has been saying, the Gleneagles summiteers will not want to admit that Kyoto is a bankrupt strategy. But the issue is too important for pride to trump common sense.”
"G8 Must Be Judged By Its Delivery, Not Its Rhetoric"
An editorial in the left-of-center Independent read (7/6): "Better, says Mr. Blair, to keep the US on board and the G8 united than push for agreement to which the world’s biggest economy and greatest polluter will never subscribe. That may be true in terms of getting a final communiqué in which the industrialized nations agree that climate change is for real and that something must be done. Even to get the US to sign up to that will mark some progress.”
"There’s No Risk To Blair Or Bush At The G8"
Adrian Hamilton commented in the left-of-center Independent (7/7): "The G8 will end in smiles all round. There’s no need to worry about that. But it’s at the September meeting of the UN to consider changes in its structure and the trade talks in Hong Kong in December that the real hard negotiations will take place and we will see how far the West is prepared to share power and sacrifice its own benefits in the interests of the wider world.”
"From G8 To G9: Brazil And India In--And Russia Out"
Timothy Garton Ash observed in the left-of-center Guardian (7/7): "In an ideal world, the state members of the G8--or rather GX--would be the democracies having the world’s largest economies. That would mean kicking out Russia and including India and Brazil, making a new G9. I like this idea. Size matters, but so does freedom. Yet imagine the outrage in Moscow! Conceive the fury in Beijing! So the G8+ will go on muddling through: no longer just the west, not yet the rest. In time, though, as we move from the end of the American century to the beginning of the Asian century, it will seem increasingly absurd that the great powers of other continents are not permanently represented at this top table of world politics.”
"The Real World"
The conservative Times editorialized (7/6): "People...have the impression that the eight men who will start talking at the Gleneagles Hotel tonight have it in their gift to make decisions that will transform the world. Excessive expectations are, in this respect, more dangerous than outright ignorance.... For there is the risk now that even if the final communiqué produces a set of important initiatives, the charge of 'betrayal' will be heard from groups whose dogmatic disposition means that a 'bourgeois democratic' summit of those tainted by their intimate links with 'globalised capitalism' is part of a callous and deliberate conspiracy which allows millions of children in Africa to starve and for the planet itself to be broiled.... There is, in truth, little that the G8 can say or do that will appease such nihilistic and eccentric critics.... The G8 is a relatively informal body.... The agenda varies from year to year according to the pressing questions of the moment.... All the leaders are to some degree constrained by their budgetary circumstances, legislatures and public opinion.... It is, nevertheless, significant that the G8 has seen its profile increase in the course of the past decade and that the presidency of this organisation has come to be thought of as a serious political opportunity and not merely as a bureaucratic chore. The G8 countries fulfil an economic role that the UN never has done and could not plausibly do, and their leaders have a democratic legitimacy that the IMF and the World Bank do not.... In that light, the G8 as an entity should consider its own composition and future carefully.... China and India should be invited to participate as soon as possible.... It would be wise to integrate them into every aspect of the international system as soon as possible.... As free markets and free trade have been the engines of China and India’s rise from economic obscurity, the politicians who represent the poor will be more enthusiastic about liberalisation than some established G8 members. If so, future G8 gatherings could prove to be more productive."
"The World Is Watching"
The left-of-center Guardian declared (7/6): "Expectations for the G8 summit...must surely be higher than for any other comparable event in living memory. Making poverty history is a terrific slogan and a noble ambition, but even its most enthusiastic backers acknowledge that it will only be achieved in a long, drawn-out and multi-faceted process.... The scale of the expectations, boosted by the excitement generated by last weekend's extraordinary Live 8 concerts, means it is especially important not to confuse spin with substance.... The G8 as a whole should be prepared for close scrutiny.... But while acknowledging the rare, even historic, opportunity that presents itself...it would also be foolish to expect too much.... The larger political issue is their ability, along with Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schröder and the rest, to influence Mr Bush.... The US delivers a lot of food to African countries but does less to encourage farmers to grow their own; it spends just 0.16% of its GDP on aid, shamefully short of the 0.7% target formulated by the UN.... And aid is less important than straightening out the terms of international trade.... It is a cheap shot for Mr Bush to talk about ending US agricultural subsidies if Europe ends its own; neither looks likely. For all that, Africa seems likely to end up a bigger star at the summit show than attempts to tackle global warming.... Any plans for new and binding carbon emission targets or developing clean fuel technologies...will be welcome. So will any framework for coaxing China and India, outside the G8 but the coming giants of the world economy, into compliance with tougher standards. Will the Gleneagles agreement now go down in history? The world is watching--and holding its breath."
FRANCE: "G-8 Postpones Precipitation Till November"
Sylvestre Huet asserted in left-of-center Liberation (7/12): “For Chirac the results of the G-8 on the climate are ‘substantial.’ President Bush’s senior advisor, Faryar Shirzad, said: ‘We are very happy with the final result.’ But for NGO’s it is ‘a result devoid of any significance.’ What does this lack of consensus mean and what does one find behind the rhetoric of circumstance? The ‘progress’ invoked relates exclusively to the initial position adopted by the U.S. President. It could be summarized as ‘climate, no problem,’ a denial of the analyses made by the Academy of Scientists in 1992. Hence, the simple mention of climate change due to gas emissions by man becomes the equivalent of ‘progress’ from the U.S. But the conference in London scheduled for next November will signal increased pressure for the U.S. It will de facto shed light on the huge responsibility of the U.S....and point an accusing finger at Washington... In time the diplomatic process of technology transfers will make the American position increasingly delicate.”
"A G-8 Of Union"
Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (7/11): “The picture that will remain is that of the solidarity expressed by all for Great Britain and the absolute rejection of terrorism. While the summit was necessarily upset by the bombings, it nevertheless reached if not decisive at least fruitful achievements. As if world leaders were eager to prove they could overcome their national interests. Compared to other G8 summits, this one turned into a somewhat paradoxical success. The number one success concerns development aid for Africa...with Blair getting what he wanted.... It is up to NGOs to make sure the commitment turns into actions. The second area of success concerns global warming. The American President confirmed the position he advertised in Denmark on July 6 about human activity affecting global warming. Even if President Bush does not ratify Kyoto, the fact that he made this declaration of principle seems to signal a new awareness. This evolution of the American position has for the first time allowed the adoption of a ‘plan of action’ in favor of less polluting energies.... But the plan still lacks concrete commitments and contains no financial promise. It is therefore at the symbolic level that this compromise has in fact marked the evolution of the G8. It is a first step, albeit limited when faced with the level of urgency. We could see it as only a ‘marketing’ campaign orchestrated by the American President, as the ecologists seem to see it. We can also read it as a sign of hope.”
"Chirac And Bush Ready To Do Away With Agricultural Subsidies"
Xaviel Harel noted in centrist La Tribune (7/8): "The noticeable evolution of the U.S. position on climate opens the door to ‘an important agreement’ and a concerted plan of action, according to President Chirac...who was pleased about the reference to Kyoto. But the reference carries no weight since it is simply an exercise in self-congratulation by the countries having ratified the protocol.... But another surprise advance with much more potential is the apparent agreement between Bush and Chirac on eliminating agricultural subsidies.”
"A Minimal Agreement On Climate"
Alain Barluet wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/8): “Limited American concessions should allow the G-8 to reach a minimal agreement on global warming.... In the compromise agreement, the G-8 emphasize their will to urgently take determined action in order to reach common objectives.... This common front was reached after bitter negotiations between the ‘sherpas,’ following a softening of the U.S. position on the role of human activity.... But the U.S. President did not waver on the Kyoto protocol.... The final communiqué, while noting the ‘satisfaction of those who ratified the Kyoto protocol in seeing its implementation,’ will include neither specific constraints nor a specific agenda, which would have been unacceptable for President Bush.”
"An Agreement To Reach An Agreement"
Christian Losson noted in left-of-center Liberation (7/8): “The agreement hides many disagreements. After weeks of harsh negotiations, the G-8 apparently agreed to a ‘plan of action.’ The problem is that it is a plan of action in name only.... The final product meets the smallest common denominator, with no figures and no obligations.... Since the beginning, the negotiations were a trial of strength between Europe and the U.S., with France playing the role of the attacker. Assailed at the beginning, in the end Washington comes out the winner.”
"Beijing And The Debate On Climate"
Jean-Jacques Mevel noted in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/7): “If the world’s two major polluters, China and the U.S., stay away from the debate, the international commitment that will succeed Kyoto I could well die before it is even born. At the G-8 summit, the Europeans and the Americans will be on the receiving end of Hu Jintao’s good graces, but for different reasons. Depending on whether Beijing chooses one camp or the other, Kyoto II will either see the light of day or not.”
"Bush Still Cool Towards Kyoto"
Christian Losson wrote in left-of-center Liberation (7/7): “Having acknowledged that human activity and climate change have a direct relationship will keep President Bush from having to sit on a hot seat with a dunce cap on.... A minimum agreement on the climate is beginning to take shape, albeit full of semantic subtleties.... But the Bush administration’s ‘ultra-minimalist’ stance is increasingly getting a pounding in the U.S. itself, where individual States are implementing regional gas emission permits.”
"Bush Opens The Way To An Agreement On The Climate"
Xavier Harel asserted in centrist La Tribune (7/7): “For Tony Blair, July 6 is a day to remember. Not only did he get the Olympic Games but he also found the key to an agreement on the sensitive issue of global warming. President Bush’s remarks on the role of human activity may seem like very little, but his statement opens the way to an agreement at the G-8. Washington’s position opens the door to a compromise...even if this does not mean that Washington will ratify the Kyoto protocol.”
"Blair Imposes His Priorities"
Alain Barluet wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/6): “As the President of a weakened Europe, Blair expects a diplomatic consecration from the G-8 summit.... The summit is expected to be dominated by serious diverging Franco-American views and to a lesser extent diverging Franco-British views.... On the eve of the summit, President Bush’s remark that the U.S. was ‘absolutely’ ready to cancel agricultural subsidies if the EU did the same was clearly upsetting for Chirac. Similarly, the U.S. President remained hostile to an agreement on the climate if ‘it looked like the Kyoto protocol.’ This is the issue over which it will be the hardest to reach a consensus.”
Antoine de Gaudemar noted in left-of-center Liberation (7/6): “Suddenly everyone seems ready to jump for Africa.... Why such eagerness? Because the other issues on the menu are less palatable, like climate change, which will remain a bone of contention because of America’s intransigence? Because the subject is more consensual? Everyone agrees that Africa needs help.... A continent overwhelmed by despair and misery...is a time bomb. Hence the first step and the cancellation of the African debt. Although spectacular in appearance, the cancellation of the African debt remains an injustice.... The political determination of the G-8 regarding Africa has every chance of being long lasting, because it is based on well-understood interests. For the Americans, it is oil, for the French it is leadership, and for everyone, the fear of seeing new competitors landing, such as China. Philanthropy is not necessarily cynical, but it is rarely gratuitous.”
GERMANY: "The Global Tribunes"
Nikolas Busse commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/11): "Tony Blair and his guests have done the right thing in Gleneagles. Following the terror attacks on London, it would have been an expression of hypocrisy and stinginess if the G-8 had not agreed on the British prime minister's desired increase in development aid. Especially European politicians have often said that poverty and hopelessness are the breeding ground for radical (Islamic) movements in underdeveloped countries.... Terrorism must not get any chance to destroy our civilized life. But the tragic circumstances under which the G-8 summit reached the agreements should not conceal that it was already decided before the beginning of the gathering that the Palestinians and Africa in particular would get more money. This also had to do with Blair's desire to give his foreign policy a more benevolent face after the Iraq war. However, the most extraordinary thing of this G-8 summit was the showbiz' massive influence. Never before have the leaders of the eight countries, who see themselves as the most powerful leaders, granted lobbyist such a privileged access. And never before has a lobby group used its reputation so ruthlessly to influence the common decision of the rich countries.... Artists like Geldof, Bono and Clooney want to be politicians without having received a mandate by the people from their countries. The rising influence of normal NGOs already undermines our parliamentarian system. The political self-mission of pop stars, who believe they have the right to be opinion leaders because they sell many records, is even more concerning."
"Summit In The Shadow Of The Bombs"
Stefan Kornelius observed in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (7/9): "Lobbyists and environmental groups see the G-8's climate agreement as a setback. Indeed, only little dynamism can be discovered between the lines of the communiqué, but the progress is the political symbolism. For the first time, U.S. President Bush has acknowledged at an international forum that climate change is scientifically indisputable. It will become more difficult in America's ideologically heated debate to ignore global warming as an invention of environmental lobbyists. There will be a time when Bush or his successor must actively create climate policy - may it be by the Kyoto Protocol or a more active policy to reduce gas emissions. It is frustrating that this acknowledgment process takes so long, but even Chancellor Schröder and President Chirac admitted that America's opposition is now history."
"Unrest Over The Summits"
Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich editorialized (7/7): "A few state leaders meeting for pleasant discussions around a fire place--that is the founding myth of the G-8 summits. In reality, things looked much different right from the beginning. Americans attended the first summit in France in 1975 with a delegation of a size of a company. At the time, 3,000 police officers secured the fireplace. Since then, the meetings have blown out of proportion and turned into a political spectacle, huge demonstrations and military training.... But it would be wrong to send them packing. Although hardly anything is decided at the G-8 summits, the meetings offer a platform for drawing attention to global problems. The climate will not be protected in Gleneagles, but President Bush must justify his policy there."
Jacques Schuster contended in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (7/7): "The annual summits always dealt with the problems of the world economy. Its members were never shy to discuss controversial issues if it were helpful. This year it looks like Bob Geldof has not just organized 'Live 8' but also the G-8 meeting. Watched by the world, eight state leaders are gathering to approve debt relief for Africa once more. Hardly anybody cares that the decision will not solve Africa's problems. Those who want to address them must discuss European and American subsidies for farmers, debate protectionism and impose sanctions on corrupt Africans. They should also talk about the weak European economy, which will soon fall behind China unless a miracle happens. This group shuns these topics and will not move much. As a result, the summit will remain what it has recently become: a ritual in which even the protesters play their role. This time around, they did not even realize that the state leaders are making the decisions protesters have always called for."
"The West's Duty"
Center-right Thüringer Allgemeine of Erfurt declared (7/7): "The West has the duty of helping the poorest countries, which often cannot overcome custom and trade barriers on their own. This also means that we should not create new dependencies out of advanced technologies, but help so Africa can help itself. Apart from the industrialized nations, the African Union also bears responsibility. You cannot for eternity explain the numerous conflicts by referring to the arbitrariness of the colonial past. There are battlefields from Liberia to Somalia, and a great deal of money is spent on weapons. The ruling classes' brutality, with which they suppress the poorest in their countries, is incredible. President Bush's answer that no money should be given to corrupt regimes is the most comfortable one."
"The Chicken Wing Dilemma"
Christoph Link held in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (7/7): "World trade is unfair if subsidized chicken wings from France are exported to western Africa, where they destroy the local market. The assistance is ineffective if it is supplied like the aid from the U.S., which pays for American corn in times of droughts. And it is true that the neo-liberal concepts of the World Bank and the IMF blow every chance for the industrialization of the African countries. They are flooded with cheap Chinese products because they must open their markets. These simple campaigns for Africa often ignore the lack of responsibility African governments bear, and the lack of state structures that make aid often impossible.... Money alone cannot help Africa - most of the 53 countries need domestic reforms. U.S. President Bush aims at the right direction calling upon African politicians to become an engine of reforms instead of recipients of aid.... It remains a mystery why Blair wants to replace this by his plan."
"Summit Of Poverty"
Arne Perras judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (7/6): "The wealthy nations are committed to following the noble principle to fight poverty, but they should be careful with their wording. Otherwise they could be convicted of hypocrisy and forfeit a high good of politics: their credibility. In reality, it is presumptuous for the wealthy nations to create the impression that they bravely fight poverty and misery. Those who fight must also be able to tolerate pain, and those who fight must also accept sacrifices. But we hardly see anything like that in the policy of the North towards the South. No, the wealthy nations do not really fight for the poor nations. At the G-8 summit they will seal the cancellation of debt--as evidence of their vigor and determination. With great pomp, they will celebrate this decision as 'historic', but this debt cancellation is not very painful for the North and it does not cost much, and it is by no means clear whether the poorest of the poor will really benefit from it. In the past, the result of such policy was that corrupt elites no longer had to repay their debt, while the needy did not receive anything.... It is disgraceful that rich countries continue to cling to their agricultural subsidies, that they refuse to establish a fair trading system that would offer the poorer countries a chance on the global markets. But the G-8 countries will not make up their mind to do this, since national egotisms are too strong.... That is why the G-8 will at best give the fight against poverty a small impetus. Euphoria is inappropriate.... Much would be won if the wealthy states...were better at splitting up their development assistance. Not everyone should do everything in every country. This will only produce chaos.... Hope will develop if the political culture in the poor countries is spreading. The North cannot force this development but it can promote it if it only wants it. This would be he best development assistance policy. It is laborious, and the its fruit can be harvested only in many years to come."
"What Will Help Out Of The Poverty Trap?"
Maritta Tkalec stated in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (7/6): "If money were the solution and money offered a quick and good solution, then the world in Africa would be OK. Over the past three decades, the African continent received a lot of money and produced much wealth, but what do we see: only poverty, disease and war. When we look at individual cases, we get the impression that much money causes much damage. Nigeria and Angola for instance are among the richest African states. They have diamonds and crude oil to build a functioning state, but instead this wealth motivates the greedy to ruin their country. For them it was worthwhile. Other countries which do not have natural resources have got used to the fact that the international community finances their state budgets and take care of their schools and hospitals. The stimulus to develop one's own initiative is small, and the one to divert large sums of money is great.... But when we talk about money, we must also discuss the fact why the EU subsidizes beet farmers with millions of euros, thus pushing African sugar cane farmers out of the market. We must also discuss why the U.S. is ruining hundreds of thousands of farmers in Africa with its subsidies for domestic cotton farmers. We must discuss first of all why the wealthy countries protect their interest with a lot of money and then praise the repair costs as development assistance.... The answers could be unpleasant."
"So Much To The World"
Moritz Döbler argued in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (7/6): "With great fuss, the G-8 summit will not produce too much new. Nevertheless, it produces much more than costs...since the G-8 has turned into a projection screen for the world. For years, opponents to globalization have mobilized forces, and now some of them see their ideas becoming a reality.... Such processes will not produce too many new things, but they are useful nevertheless.... The question whether the G-8 is in keeping with the times during the era of globalization should not be answered with structures but with contents. Gleneagles is a good example. Despite resistance, Tony Blair put Africa and climate protection on the agenda of the meeting."
ITALY: "A G-13 Is Born"
Alessandro Merli remarked in leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (7/9): “It will always be remembered as the G-8 summit with the flags at half-mast. But it is also the summit...that has produced, more than any other, a few concrete results.... The West has not only found itself united, but also shoulder to shoulder with new powers in the world economy, from China to India to Brazil.... Perhaps it is not appropriate to establish a cause and effect between the tragedy in London and the conclusion in Gleneagles, but undoubtedly the blows inflicted in the heart of the most globalized of capitals have generated a new determination.... The G8 has furnished the terrorists with a first answer...in which the enormity of the tragedy, paradoxically, acted as a catalyst. But there was an answer and the tone was right. Now, the decisions made in Gleneagles will have to turn into tangible actions.... Confirmation of whether Gleneagles marked a turning point or only a momentary reaction before resuming diatribes will be seen in the coming months. The decisive test will perhaps come next December at the WTO meeting in Hong Kong.... That is where the G-8 and its new emerging partners will have to demonstrate that they know how to do the right thing, together, even without the perverse incentive of terrorism.”
"The American Mini-Turning Point"
Federico Rampini said in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (7/7): “After Africa and the environment, in the opening day of G8 Tony Blair collects another success...thanks to a last-minute concession by his American ally. The British Prime Minister convinced George Bush to support a less rigid position on global warming. But America remains determined to reject the Kyoto Protocol on the reduction of carbon emissions.... Acknowledging that the global climate is changing due to pollution could compel the reduction of carbon gas emissions by conserving energy and adopting new limits on automobile emissions or electric power plants. Because of his ties to the oil industry Bush has always been against this measure. The White House manipulated the scientific studies that it commissioned to deny the ties between our model of development, industrial activities, and the greenhouse effect.... Yesterday’s declaration is a concession made for strategic alliance in exchange for British support of the war in Iraq. This should also be a mini-turning point for the religious American Right-Wing...who are sensitive to the environmental campaign and do not support the interests of the oil industry. The American concession has limits: Yesterday Bush confirmed his opposition towards the Kyoto Protocol.”
"Bush: 'It’s Time To Overcome Kyoto’ In Scotland At The Beginning Of The Most Difficult Summit"
Danilo Taino judged in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (7/7): “On the environment, Blair hopes to arrive at a final press release also signed by Bush. The American President, who never wanted to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol on the emission of greenhouse gases, yesterday traced a clear line in the sand: the response will come from technology, in particular from hydrogen and from nuclear.... On one hand, then, the White House makes a move forward and admits that the problem of global warming exists and that man contributes to its creation; on the other hand, he is not disposed to accept preset rigid quotas on the emissions of greenhouse gases. On these bases, Blair hopes for a compromise and last night seemed close to attaining a final press release in which for the first time it speaks of a ‘plan of action’, agreed upon by the eight and, in a mild way, makes explicit reference to Kyoto.”
"Bush’s Turning Point: ‘The Greenhouse Effect Exists’"
Alberto Pasolini Zanelli held in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (7/7): "On his way to Gleneagles, even if it was not really Damascus, George Bush has had a tiny but significant conversion. For the first time, he admitted that the ‘earth’s surface is warming up’.... Up until now, the White House tried to maintain that the thesis of the earth overheating was not scientifically proven. Now Bush makes a conciliatory move toward his G8 partners, but also reiterates his objections to the Kyoto protocol.”
"Bush Discovers That Blair Is Too Liberal"
Elite, center-left Il Riformista averred (7/6): “The summit which, in Tony Blair’s intentions, was meant to be the political and diplomatic masterpiece capable of erasing forever the Iraqi stain from his curriculum, is instead running the risk, as hours go by, of turning into an all-out failure. It would have clear and serious political implications, both on the domestic and the international level. The G8 opening in Gleneagles today, in fact, is born under the worst omens: an agreement on the environment is practically impossible, with George W. Bush determined to defend U.S. interests from a Kyoto-style joint communiqué, but also regarding Africa, the main issue at the G8 per Tony Blair’s desires. Overwhelmed by the popular enthusiasm raised by his proposal and amplified by Live 8 concerts, the British PM counted his chickens before they hatched. He placed too much emphasis on the watchword ‘erasing the debt,’ and Gordon Brown’s mantra of throwing poverty away over the last few weeks was too burdensome at the political level. By considering an agreement as already achieved and signed, the British presidency did not only irritate the U.S. ally, but also created exaggerated expectations for the easily inflammable no-global movement.”
RUSSIA: "A Special Summit"
Gennadiy Sysoyev commented in business-oriented Kommersant (7/7): “This summit is special...preceding the one Russia will host and preside over. It is the kind of blessing that, as seen by Moscow, will put an end to all speculation about whether Moscow belongs in the club. The Kremlin's desire to have the next G-8 summit concentrate on energy security is understandable--it is one of the few areas where Russia really matters. In the run-up to the summit in Gleneagles, Russia did its utmost to show that some of its interests differ from the rest of the G-8’s. For one thing, it welcomed China’s top leader to make a joint statement that exporting the Western model (of democracy) is a bad idea. For another, Moscow and its colleagues in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization insist that the U.S. and NATO set a date for the withdrawal of their troops from Central Asia. That kind of behavior may appear tough, if not confrontational, with regard to its G-8 partners, but this is not what Moscow meant it to be. In fact, Moscow can’t afford to act that way. The alliance with China and tough rhetoric addressed to the West are an attempt to boost Moscow’s prestige as the G-8’s next president. Apparently, Moscow knows of no other way to gain authority.”
Vladislav Inozemtsev claimed in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (7/7): “The just opened summit of the Group of Eight will hardly become historic. That follows from its agenda, which, the virtue of the British Prime Minister, focuses on aid to Africa and climate change. G-8 members have neither political will nor practical ideas to tackle those.... By helping African countries, participants in the G-8 summit help their military industrial complexes.”
"A Summit Of Half-Realized Hopes"
Yevgeniy Shestakov stated in official government-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta (7/6): “Gleneagles may go down in history as a summit of half-realized hopes. Whatever, it is hard to believe that the heads of state bent on a compromise on two key issues-poverty and climate change-readily aired their differences before the summit even began. British Prime Minister Tony Blair tried in vain to bolster his prestige in Europe by having the White House make concessions at the summit. It didn’t come off. President Bush made it clear that this tricky you-scratch-my-back-and-I-scratch-yours didn’t apply to relations between Washington and London. He explained that he was going to Scotland to implement his agenda, not to make the G-8 summit look good or bad.”
"Africa Comes Ahead Of Anything Else"
Aleksey Lyashchenko wrote in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (7/6): "The Group of Eight needs a major overhaul.... Many of its decisions remain unfulfilled and its composition doesn’t conform to the current situation in the world. The problem is similar to those of the UN and its Security Council, as well as of the OSCE and EU. But the G-8 seems to have a priority. All its members think its summits are always a success, with the organization providing the best forum to coordinate their strategic interests and views of the future. There have been calls to increase the Group’s membership to at least ten countries by admitting China and India, whose roles in world politics have been growing steadily.... Officials in Moscow say we should ignore the calls coming from the U.S. and Europe that Russia does not belong in the Group of Eight. Security stands high on the G-8 agenda. Russia is a principal nuclear power in the world with a great potential in other areas. So, to exclude Russia from addressing those issues is odd, to say the least.”
AUSTRIA: "Credible Aid For Africa"
Managing editor Eric Frey wrote in independent Der Standard (7/11): “It will probable never be clear whether the G-9 summit would have ended differently without the terror attacks in London. It is possible that Tony Blair would have pushed through his agenda of financial aid for Africa anyway. However, after the bloodshed in the capital, the heads of state and government could not afford to part without concrete results.... Whether the additional billions will really reach the poor in Africa instead of landing in the bank accounts of the corrupt elites, nobody can say. However, fortunately, the G-8 have send another positive signal to Africa: They want to discontinue their agrarian export subsidies, with which they outbid the poor countries on the global market, at a credible date in the future. Such a step would be just the kind of incentive for self-help that the developing countries are calling for. Whether it will actually come to that will also depend on the halting WTO negotiations. However, it would help the credibility of the West if this date were sooner rather than later.”
"Corrupt Elites Are Partly Responsible For Africa's Misery"
Senior editor Helmut L. Mueller asserted in independent Salzburger Nachrichten (7/6): "Africa's misery is not solely attributable to external factors but is often homemade. Unscrupulous elites have kept their peoples in servitude and exploited them. Where 'cleptocrats' reigned, as did Mobuto in Congo, aid cannot reach the poor. Therefore, it is right to link aid to 'transparency' and 'good governance' instead of supporting parasite political classes that, together with international wheeler-dealers, simply fill their own pockets. Let's take the horror scenario of Zimbabwe: The former Rhodesia had every chance for good development. However, a political madman like Robert Mugabe managed to ruin the country within just a few years. Mugabe's most recent acts of violence are reminiscent of the excesses of Pol Pot in Cambodia: First of all, the settlements of the poor in the cities are being flattened, because they are known as opposition strongholds; after that, the displaced persons are being away to the countryside. And nobody stops this criminal--not the African Union...not South Africa's President Mbeki...and not the rest of the world, for which Zimbabwe is simply too insignificant. Instead, there are lamentations on the G-8 summit about Africa's sorry state."
BELGIUM: "A Very Long Process With Many Casualties"
Philippe Regnier asserted in left-of-center Le Soir (7/9): "In one day, 500 times more African kids died than the number of victims of the London blasts. It is any elected official’s supreme duty to assure dignified living conditions to his citizens. Terrorism is exactly the opposite of this dignity. But rich countries leaders have also understood that, in a global world, security for their citizens can only be guaranteed if all countries are secure, and they have also understood that the sufferings of the poor countries’ population--who are the victim of war, of hunger, of dictatorship, or of extreme fanaticism--ultimately come back to hit us like a boomerang. That is a good reason to do something.... Yet, what have the G8 leaders done in Gleneagles? Those who consider the G8 a kind of self-proclaimed and illegitimate body will reply that they have done nothing. The pragmatic ones, who were hoping for a spectacular gesture, will respond that they have not done much.... In spite of his unfailing friendship with George Bush, Tony Blair has still not been able to convince the U.S. to join other countries and to do something significant, whether against poverty or against climate change. A very small step has been made in Gleneagles. It was a step forward, which is better than a step backward. The ball has been sent into the next Summits’ court. In the meantime, the huge popular pressure on world leaders played a capital role in convincing them to devote a share--albeit an extremely small one--of taxpayers’ money to world problems. This very long process will thus continue, in the middle of the bodies of those who were not strong enough to wait.”
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn stated in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (7/7): "Today, almost all African countries are in a worse condition than twenty years ago when Bob Geldof organized his first Live Aid. On the one side, Western companies are guilty because they cheaply carry off natural resources. On the other side, however, Africa’s continuing poverty is to a large extent the result of the fact that dictators ruin their countries through never-ending corruption, wars and massive arms purchases. Only when that trend is stopped will Africa be able to look at the future again. That is why we have to teach Africa how it must help itself. That process can take years and require enormous efforts. The summit in Gleneagles may be a start. As far as global warming is concerned, the chances of an agreement look even smaller. U.S. President Bush may begin to believe that man is responsible for that warming up, but that does not mean that he will be willing to sign the Kyoto agreement. The American energy lobby...is opposed to all international action programs. Gleneagles will not change much to that. That means that there is not much reason for optimism. Gleneagles will probably fit in the series of Evian, Genoa and other G-8 summits. All those summits ended with boasting final communiqués. The world is still waiting for their implementation.”
"The American Bolt"
Rachel Crivellaro opined in independent La Libre Belgique (7/6): "By justifying his refusal to sign Kyoto by saying that it was bad for the U.S. economy, U.S. President George W. Bush has cast a chill on the G8 that opens in Scotland today. Even if the somewhat warmongering statements of the U.S. President are nothing new and are first and foremost meant for the powerful American oil lobby, they nevertheless do not bode well for Tony Blair, who is trying to get the G8 leaders to reach an agreement to fight climate change, which won’t be easy. In addition to a diplomatic failure for the world leaders, another refusal of the world biggest polluter--the U.S. contributes to 45 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions--to address global warming would send an umpteenth disastrous signal to the international community. Indeed, it would become almost impossible to convince emerging countries to join the fight against global warming if the U.S. sticks to its position. Yet, it is important to point out that India is the world fifth largest polluter, that, by 2030, China will be the biggest polluter, and that the biggest growth in terms of greenhouse gas emissions will come from developing countries as a result of their economic growth. So why would Southern countries jeopardize their fragile economic and industrial expansion by accepting costly environmental norms whereas some of the North richest countries would continue to pollute without any qualms?”
Roger Huisman wrote in conservative Christian-Democrat Het Belang van Limburg (7/6): "Aside from the appalling corruption in most countries, Africa’s main tragedy is the exceptionally heavy legacy of colonialism and the greed of the former colonial rulers. In contrast to the Asian countries the 48 large and small countries of Black Africa have been a self-service store for valuable raw materials like gold, copper, cobalt, diamond and uranium that have contributed to the West’s unequalled prosperity growth. When they became independent in the Sixties most countries became orphans without well-educated elites that could lead the continent to modernity. The West has accumulated a considerable historic debt. It is high time to pay that debt back--although it is certain that Africa’s revival will be a long process of trial and error.”
Chief editor Peter Vandermeersch said in Christian-Democrat De Standaard (7/6): "The main issues are the oil prices, the economic situation and the Chinese financial system. Above all, however, the world is hoping for far-reaching decisions about aid for Africa and the struggle against global warming. As regards the latter issue, it is already certain that no results will be achieved. As far as the Kyoto requirements are concerned the American President will remain isolated and unyielding. About man’s impact on the warming of the earth one should not expect more than some lip service.... The leaders have an historic opportunity to double development aid...to remit the debts of the poorest countries and to take down the unfair trade barriers.... Despite all the concern about the personal tensions between the leaders, the opportunism of some of them, possible political deals and that there is no reason for bragging, we expect a lot from the G-8 summit. Africa is sinking deeper and deeper. Its per capita income today is lower that that of the Sixties. Life expectancy today is lower than in the Eighties.... No matter how imperfect it turns out to be, Gleneagles can lead to a new attitude towards Africa.”
CZECH REPUBLIC: "How Many White Messiahs Can Africa Sustain"
Daniel Kaiser commented in business-oriented Hospodarske noviny (7/7): "The G8 summit...is focused on Africa. World leaders speak about the black continent every year, but they must sense much bigger expectations from the public this year...provoked by pop singers Bob Geldof and Bono...and the series of concerts around the world.... Geldof must be recognized for one thing. He has managed to literally catapult Africa to the center of public interest.... But not everything that was revealed by this would please Geldof and the charity industry.... The West has pumped $0.5 trillion of development aid into Africa since 1960 but Africa as such has gotten worse off in all indicators since then. Subsidies will probably not save it. If they are not specifically targeted to, for example, the purchase of drugs against malaria, they will end up in bank accounts of African dictators and autocrats.... Only one goal of this year’s campaign for Africa is sustainable--free trade and the end of food dumping by which the rich world ruins African farmers. Prior to the summit, U.S. President George W. Bush offered to cancel subsidies to (U.S.) farmers and tariffs on food imports if Europe does it as well. This was the first real proposal which has thus far appeared in this year of Africa."
"The Week Of Africa"
Radek Honzak observed in center-right Lidove noviny (7/7): "Helping Africa was rarely a center of such an interest like this week...given the mammoth campaign culminating by the series of Live 8 concerts...and the G8 summit in Gleneagles.... Biggest differences at the summit are over the removal of trade barriers, in particular agricultural subsidies to farmers, which in the developed world amount to USD300 billion and close off the world (agricultural) market to the Africans. Bush stated that he will cancel subsidies for U.S. cotton producers if the EU will start reforming its common agricultural policy. But, as the recent EU summit revealed, France does not even want to hear about it. Therefore it would be a success of this G8 summit if only there would be an agreement made that the subsidies and tariffs would be discussed--perhaps at the upcoming WTO meeting this December in Hong Kong."
FINLAND: "Africa And Climate Change To Dominate G-8"
Leading independent Helsingin Sanomat declared (7/6): "Poor African countries can expect some tangible help but lots will remain unresolved. In environmental issues, progress is likely to remain marginal and symbolic. Hopes on agreement on climate issues were weakened by President Bush’s interview on the eve of the summit. He firmly rejected the idea that he owed PM Tony Blair anything because of help by the Britons in Iraq.... The President recommended new technologies as a way to decrease greenhouse emissions. As the world’s largest producer of these emissions, the U.S. is not in too much of a hurry to adopt such technologies. Optimists did take note of one of Bush’s sentences. The President admitted that global warming is a fact which is caused by human beings ‘to a certain degree.’ Coming from anybody else but President Bush, this confession would not have been a surprise, but until now the Bush Administration has questioned scientific consensus on the greenhouse effect. If his line were to start changing, even gradually, progress might be possible."
IRELAND: "G-8 Summit"
The center-right populist Irish Independent declared (7/9): "Despite the London bombings, the work of the G8 summit continued and a communique was issued yesterday. For many of the agencies and lobby groups that agitate on behalf of the developing world, the outcome of the summit is a disappointment, and certainly judged against what might have been, and morally, what should have been, that is the case. Nonetheless, real and substantial progress has been made and this should not be overlooked. The Live8 organizers, including Bono and Bob Geldof, were pleased with what has been achieved. On aid to Africa, they have given the G8 leaders 10 out of 10, on debt relief 8 out of 10, and on trade 6 out of ten. All of this translates into real poverty relief and lives saved. Not enough, certainly, but a real start.”
"G-8 Make Modest But Real Progress"
The center-left Irish Times held (7/9): "Much will now depend on implementing what had been agreed. The agreements establish a platform for further progress on these and other issues. They must be seen in the context of a greatly increased public awareness flowing from the mobilization of international opinion. Critical reactions to the summit communique are a natural part of such a political process.... To Mr Blair's affirmation that $50 billion extra has been committed to African aid and that this will double by 2010 campaigners say little of this is genuinely new money. Similar criticisms can be made about the agreements to cancel indebtedness. On trade there is a commitment to negotiate an end to agricultural export subsidies, but no deadline is laid down. Nevertheless the subject has been placed firmly on the agenda, which is a real advance. The agreement to help train 20,000 African Union peacekeeping troops is also welcome.... On climate change there has been a modest but real advance. Mr Blair was at pains to point out yesterday that the objective was not to re-open the Kyoto Protocol debate, which remains deadlocked between the United States and other G8 states. A dialogue has now been agreed between the G8 and the major developing states which are not yet part of Kyoto. President Bush has signed a statement acknowledging human activity contributes to climate change. The subject is to remain a central part of the G8 agenda. It will be up to world opinion, scientific research and political pressure to ensure it is equally part of the international agenda beyond the narrow confines of the G8.”
"Defining Moment For Poor Nations"
The left-of-center Irish Examiner stated (7/7): "It would be a travesty if violent protests against the G8 summit were to deflect the eyes of the world from vitally important campaigns aimed at ridding Africa of poverty and combating global warming. Considering the threat which militant demonstrators pose to the popular image of the campaign, Live 8 leader Bob Geldof was absolutely right to distance the organization from the unacceptable behavior of hard-core anarchists.... In a significant twist, US President George W Bush has finally recognized that human activity contributes to climate change. However, his claim that the Kyoto accord did not work for the US or the rest of the world does not wash. Maybe it would work if Mr Bush gave his blessing to measures aimed at reducing American emissions of greenhouse gases. His call for a ‘post-Kyoto’ era where emissions would be cut by new technologies, would free America to continue polluting the atmosphere with disastrous implications for climate change. On Africa, Britain insists the final summit document will commit the rich nations to help the troubled continent. That objective should not be compromised by the demand from Mr Bush that African leaders should end corruption in return for debt cuts. For millions of people struggling to eke out an existence around the world, the G8 summit has the potential to be a defining moment in global politics. In principle, world leaders have already agreed to 100% debt relief and a doubling of aid for many African countries. With the summit getting down to real business today, the hope is that those commitments will not only be copper-fastened but strengthened. Ultimately, the success or failure of the G8 summit will hinge on the willingness of the richest countries to take more meaningful action to help the world’s poorest.”
"G-8 Summit--Bush Only Cares About U.S. Economy"
The left-of-center Irish Examiner editorialized (7/5): "The demeanor of US President George W Bush in advance of tomorrow’s opening of the G8 three-day Gleneagles summit indicates strongly that what is good for the American economy is his main concern. His pre-condition on global warming, plus the tension between Britain and France on the eve of a decision about the venue for the 2012 Olympics, does not augur well for the summit deliberations.... Bush has admitted that global warming is an issue that has to be dealt with, but he is only prepared to deal with it in the context of new technologies, which would appease his American constituency. Hitherto, he has shown a propensity to talk about the issue, rather than doing anything about it, despite the fact that America is the biggest polluter among the developed countries. Similarly, on the question of tackling African poverty the US President is more than willing to move on eliminating US farm subsidies but only if the EU is willing so scrap its CAP. He knows that that is not going to happen, because the barrier to either cutting or re-nationalizing the CAP is French President Jacques Chirac who has been a consummate supporter of French farmers.”
NETHERLANDS: "The Price Of Unity"
Influential liberal De Volkskrant maintained (7/6): “Bob Geldof’s campaign is a welcome support for Prime Minister Blair but his alliance with the singer is not without risk. For if the G8 does not meet the high expectations then Blair can expect to be accused of having tried to cut a dash with the fate of the poor in Africa. The same is true for Blair’s high stakes concerning climate change. Blair is doomed to make concessions in both these areas if he wants to keep the ranks closed. And in both these areas he finds his good friend Bush opposite him. It seems that particularly Kyoto is a potential divisive element between the U.S. and the countries already committed to the treaty against emission of greenhouse gas.... At first sight, it seems as if poverty in Africa and climate change have little to do with one another. But in broader perspective, these issues are two sides of the same coin. Eventually it is about the question of how all countries can share in our prosperity without destroying the physical foundation for that prosperity -the environment.... Blair pointed out rightly that the climate issue could not be dealt with without the U.S....the largest contributor to global warming. And this threatens to cause a new impasse. For, while Bush is hiding behind the exemption of the Kyoto commitments for developing countries, emerging nations such as China, India, and Brazil raised the question as to why they would be lesser entitled to prosperity than the rich countries, the U.S. in the lead. The question is whether the wish to break through this deadlock is important enough for the G8 to risk a breach in its own camp.”
"The Poor In The World Have Little To Expect From Gleneagles"
Left-of-center Trouw editorialized (7/6): “Apart from the fact that Live 8 had some good concerts, it did put poverty back on the world’s agenda. But the question is whether the organizers did right by aiming all their arrows at the G8.... The composition of the G8 no longer reflects the economic power relations in the world. Moreover, it is already clear that no major decisions will be made in Gleneagles. The Live 8 theme of poverty is on the agenda but the G8 will probably not go much further than providing some extra aid for Africa and some debt relief for developing countries which were already promised.... One should not expect any breakthroughs in the fight against poverty in Gleneagles but we should expect that from the UN summit and the WTO summit, both scheduled for this fall. However, the G8 could lay a foundation for those breakthroughs. Hopefully Live 8 and the demonstrations in Edinburgh will put enough pressure on the G8 talks."
NORWAY: "A Lot Of Fuzz, Little Greatness"
Independent Dagbladet commented (7/10): "President George W. Bush is stubborn. He arrived at the G-8...determined to make only one tiny concession to the seven other participants, who have all signed and ratified the Kyoto-agreement. The climate change that is taking place as a result of global warming is to a certain degree caused by humans, he said in an interview before the summit. And he stood by this [statement] during the whole summit, leaving the paragraphs in the communiqué on one of two major themes watered down and not very binding. The best that can be said is that this is a step back from the situation before Gleneagles.... Bush is an impediment to [global] environmental policy.... Bob Geldof encouraged G-8 leaders to demonstrate greatness when they assembled at Gleneagles Castle. This they have not done. Important questions have been postponed and placed on the back burners of international fora, where the superpowers’ own interests will decide in the end.”
"Last Chance For The G-8"
Social-democratic Dagsavisen commented (7/6): "It was called the ‘library club’ back when the world’s then six richest countries gathered to discuss how they could protect themselves against the oil crisis in 1973. Now it is called the G-8 and has become an unparalleled media spectacle. And as most media spectacles, the G-8 meeting is a rather empty affair when you look at it a little closer.... The main problem of the G-8 is that the forum does not have a clear mandate or any clear mechanisms to follow up on decisions. This is still a ‘library club’--a place where the world’s most powerful meet to chat and make promises they are not obligated to keep. The G-8 countries represent only 13 percent of the world’s population.... Canada’s Prime Minister is among those who have suggested increasing the G-8 to the G-20, to make up for this [low percentage of representation]. But an increase would probably not make the G-8 group more able to make decisions--rather the opposite. It would make far more sense to steer all energy into reforming the UN so that it would represent the world today in a more legitimate and effective manner. The items the G-8 leaders will discuss over the next three days are the most important on the international agenda today. But the world does not need more ‘library clubs’ for promises without obligations. What’s needed is action. If the G-8 leaders cannot deliver this time, it is about time to close the whole library down.”
"The G-8 Countries Have To Act"
Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented (7/6): "President George W. Bush shrugs his shoulders at the protesters he will be met by in his visits to Denmark and Scotland, where thousands have gathered to demonstrate against what they think the leaders of eight rich and powerful countries will decide, or not decide, at their summit. But a shrug of the shoulders is not a good way to meet the many challenges facing both the U.S. and other G-8 countries...who need to decide on concrete measures to solve problems.... The debt-relief plans for the poorest countries should not be left on the planning table.... If it only restructures debts at the same time as the [poor] countries have to fulfill new commitments, it will become even harder for them to get out of the quagmire of poverty.... Poverty and lack of development can feed terrorism, or at least create fertile ground for unrest, instability and war.... Along with poverty and lack of development, issues such as global warming and resulting climate change are also challenges that need to be dealt with. Firstly, global warming is an example of the unequal distribution of the world’s resources. Secondly, climate change may become so extensive that the rich world’s welfare is endangered, and the poor world’s hopes become nothing but hopes--very futile hopes. The G-8 have the opportunity to help avoid this outcome.”
POLAND: "One Hundred Words"
Magdalenia Ostrowska wrote in leftist Trybuna (7/6): “Using truncheons, police have cleared [the streets of] Edinburgh of anti-globalists protesting against the G-8 summit. Thanks to this, the democratic leaders of the world can quietly decide matters concerning millions of people. Those who do not understand this democracy are compared to terrorists. Aboard the capitalist 'Titanic' the orchestra is drowning out the sounds of the fight for a better world. Next year, may anti-globalists reach shore aboard “Aurora.” Her gun salvo is better heard.”
ROMANIA: "Black Clouds"
Cornel Codita contended in financial Bursa (7/8): "The G8 is not dealing with the problems of the EU, but rather with the ‘divorce’ between London and Paris; black clouds have already gathered in the Scottish sky [on the Kyoto Protocol].... President Bush has adopted...an inflexible position: America doesn’t need the provisions of the treaty!.... The American-European confrontation is already becoming a storm.”
Madalina Mitran said in independent Curentul (7/7): "The official discussions begin today, but the US has implied that there is the possibility of a compromise regarding climate change.... Bush is ready to admit that [atmospheric heating] is an important problem for which a solution must be found.... The expectations for the summit of the eight world powers are great, but it’s hard to predict their result. Just as in the case of any other summit, the negotiations between the states have long been concluded before the beginning of the reunion.”
SPAIN: "From Gleneagles To London"
Left-of-center El País declared (7/9): "The matter of climate change, one of the key points of Gleneagles, is a draw, but what has been agreed raises the suspicion that the Kyoto Protocol is condemned to languish and that when its objectives are reviewed in 2012 there will be other different channels.... It is a small diplomatic victory for Blair that a plan of action was agreed to, to confront this issue through a better dialogue between the signatories and non-signatories and to search for a better effectiveness and other resources for cleaner technologies."
"G-8 Summit: Ambitious Proposals"
Independent El Mundo declared (7/7): "It is easy to see that the hopes will go unfulfilled during this summit that is unable to meet such ambitious proposals...The lack of unity in the US warrants a global concern, as it is not a good sign at the beginning of the meeting."
SWEDEN: "The Kyoto Myth Is Being Exposed"
Conservative Stockholm-based Svenska Dagbladet editorialized (7/13): "The Kyoto Protocol is, as a matter of fact, one of the political myths of our time.... The ratification process has begun and, to date, seven out of the G-8 countries--the U.S. being the only exception--have signed the protocol. They have done this in order to satisfy (domestic) opinions, fully aware that it is not for real. They know that the U.S. will not be a signatory. There is, of course, a great deal of hypocrisy involved. With the exception of the U.S., the G-8 and the EU have praised the Kyoto Protocol without bothering to follow the limitations of the protocol. For this they have received praise from the environmental movement. George W. Bush has (on the contrary) been explicit and asked for a realistic strategy. For this he has been criticized by the environmentalists. Therefore, it is good to see that the Kyoto myth is now being exposed in the G-8 final communiqué where it is pointed out that political measures to counter the threat of global warming should include technological innovation and adaptation.... The victory of President Bush’s policy line could not be more convincing.... Tony Blair put Africa and climate change on top of the agenda before the G-8 Summit and the UK’s EU Presidency. Thanks to George W. Bush there is now hope for success on both issues.”
TURKEY: "The G-8 In Scotland"
Yilmaz Oztuna commented in conservative Turkiye (7/7): “The GNP for the entire world in 2003 was $36.46 trillion. $12.3 trillion of this amount belongs to the US. The G-8 countries plus others like Spain, the Netherlands, and Australia account for three quarters of the world’s wealth. The rest suffer from poverty. In an effort to develop these poor countries, the wealthy ones could do many things. But they choose to ignore certain very clear standards. While the US is the biggest polluter of the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, it refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol that would limit pollution. On the other hand, the G-8 is expected to eliminate the $25 billion debt of the African countries. The US cares for the poor and developing South and Central American countries as well. The US claims that by implementing the Greater Middle East Project, it will bring both prosperity and democracy to South Asia and North Africa. But we have seen no evidence for this claim up to now. We don’t think that more prosperity can be brought to this region. We also have doubts about the possibility of establishing democracy in the region. But the US could come to dominate the two-thirds of the world’s oil and gas resources that are found there. They might also be able to guarantee the security of Israel. Even though the US cannot eliminate the terror in the region, it can definitely keep it under control. That is what we think about the US. We believe the future of the G-8 depends on its success in the fields of human rights, poverty elimination, and the protection of the environment.”
"Is Protesting Enough?"
Akif Emre argued in pro-government/Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak (7/7): “The G-8 summit is an attempt to implement the economic side of the BMENAI project. It would be too naive to expect that the G-8 summit will focus on the elimination of the gap between rich and poor. This is all about sharing the pie between 7 countries, not even 8. Thus, seeking for more aid to Africa without understanding the motivations of the G-8 is doomed to fail. Western states have demonstrated their unwillingness to compromise their standards of living and habits of consumption. The current G-8 summit is proving what is already well known: capitalist countries will not engage in any sacrifice for the sake of humanity.”
"The Deep Impact Of The U.S."
Sirri Yuksel Cebeci wrote in conservative sensational Halka ve Olaylara Tercuman (7/7): “The G-8 summit once again failed to bring even a small light of hope for the people of famine-stricken Africa because of President Bush’s opposition to providing more aid. President Bush does his best to facilitate the killing of innocent Iraqi children, and he does not care about the African children that die from hunger every day. There is a reason for this. As he said, he cares for American interests first. Of course, Africans don’t have a vote in the US presidential elections. The plans to priovide more aid to Africa were scrapped when Bush refused to give his support, and the rest of the G-8 members helplessly followed the US lead. By declining to sign the Kyoto Protocol to cope with global warming, President Bush demonstrated that he doesn’t care about the environment either. The US has willingly spent billions of dollars for the ‘Deep Impact’ project, but has not given even a pound of rice for Africa.”
Umur Talu observed in mass-appeal Sabah (7/6): “For me, American interests come first.... This statement came from the man who some of his supporters argue cares about global issues such as humanity, freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. In fact, President Bush has made a very sincere remark. He is supposed to put his country’s interests first, as well as the interests of his country’s most influential groups. In other words, those who are powerful define the interests of the country, and the government watches out for them.... Bearing this statement in mind, let us look at some world issues. Global warming is an issue that calls for immediate measures, and George Bush is the president of the country that is the biggest contributor of poisons in the atmosphere. Yet Bush clearly says, in the midst of American nuclear tests, enormous planes, huge cars, and increasing exhaust gases, that he does not care about global warming as long as the poisonous gases help to expand American welfare and consumption. Bush is simply saying that 300 million American are far superior to the rest of the 6 billion people in the world. That is his argument.”
ISRAEL: "The Rich People's Money And The Poor People's Politics"
Chief economic editor Sever Plotker opined in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (7/7): "When the G-8 leaders go home, the following truth will remain: wise economic assistance can rescue a country from backwardness and poverty, but it can't produce miracles single-handedly. The poor, and nobody else in their stead, must want to free themselves from corrupt and tyrannical regimes, self-indulgent elites, and economic policies protecting the interests of a few people at the expense of many. They must abandon their apathy and their resignation to their condition, and challenge the latter. The first world can, and must, help the third world stand upright. But the third world must first of all raise its head and view reality as it is: poverty isn't preordained, and the West isn't to blame for it; local politicians are responsible for it."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Two Summits And Two Worlds"
Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazira editorialized (7/5): "The geographic distances do not represent the great differences between the African Summit and the G-8 Summit.... The G-8 Summit has the richest super industrial countries, while the other summit has the world’s poorest countries.... People in Africa suffer greatly from such things as AIDS that kill 25 million.... The African summit will convey a message to the G-8 Summit to consider many difficulties of African peoples.... There was a recent [fund-raising] performance to encourage the rich to help the hungry and sick people of Africa.... One of the facts related to the two meetings is the gathering of millions of people asking for human rights for the African people.... The governments of the G-8 Summit must expedite steps to solve problems in Africa."
QATAR: "World Wants Action, Not Rhetoric From G8 Summit"
The semi-official English-language Gulf Times maintained (7/7): "The world has its eyes riveted on the three-day G8 annual summit.... Two of the major items on the summit’s agenda--poverty and climate change--are issues close to the heart of billions of people, who expect the leaders of the rich countries to come out with concrete proposals to deal with these vital topics.... Instead of empty rhetoric, the world wants action. For many protesters and observers, the G8 summit is a defining moment in current world politics, amid increased calls for the world’s richest countries to act now to help the world’s poorest.... These are the men who wield considerable power to deal with the most pressing problems of global poverty and global warming. Ahead of the summit, it was heartening to see African nations coming together in an unprecedented show of unity.... British Prime Minister Tony Blair deserves credit for taking the initiative in putting poverty in its right perspective by placing it prominently on the summit’s agenda.... There is no denying the fact that the richest and the most industrialised nations have contributed heavily to the plight of the poor nations and global warming and they have a responsibility to set their wrongs right. However, the poor nations cannot lay all the blames for their misery at the doors of the rich nations. First they have to put their houses in order, or else whatever money comes in the form of relief, will go down the drain. The poor nations are known for political instability, rampant corruption and inefficient handling of projects and public funds."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "Asia's Lessons For Africa"
An editorial in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald read (7/11): "Free marketeers explain Asia's success in eradicating poverty like this: Asia has emerged as the global growth engine primarily because its two giants, China and India, embraced the global free market.... The two economies are very different, but the bottom line is the same. Asia owes its buoyancy to open, global competition. How sincere, then, does the affluent G8 sound?.... If African farmers are not being kept out of export markets by quotas or tariffs, they are being undercut at home by heavily subsidized produce flooding domestic markets. The G8 agreed to tackle the uneven playing field in the future, but with no timetable set any change will be glacial. The woes of Africa are, of course, far more complicated than distorted global markets. And issues such as poor governance, violence and endemic corruption are, largely, in Africa's court. The G8's pledge to increase aid, forgive debt and make HIV treatment accessible is unequivocally positive. But access to fairer global trade is a key part of any durable solution. If trade distortions are not tackled, the G8 may end up with little more to show for the recent hand wringing but calluses.”
"Beating Terror With Progress"
The national conservative Australian declared (7/11): "The G8 summit was, manifestly, about good work: the work of alleviating poverty in Africa, addressing climate change in a responsible and co-ordinated manner, and promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Wherever liberal nations gather to promote progress, peace and democracy, the Islamists will be trying to sneak in through the back door to substitute their own agenda--of oppression, ignorance and hatred--via the inarticulate argument of bombs and suicide. Once again they have failed, and the G8 communiqué released on Friday shows how badly.... The big outcome from the summit was the announcement of a doubling in annual aid to Africa. G8 communiqués traditionally deal in airy generalities, but $US25 billion is not an airy generality. It would be impossible, and wrong, to begrudge this latest assistance to a continent where 2 million children under five will die of preventable diseases this year. But unless the countries on the receiving end of aid live up to their undertakings on governance and transparency, the danger is the money will be swallowed up by corruption and achieve nothing, just like the $US450 billion that has preceded it since the 1960s.... The roadmap to prosperity for Africa is growth via free trade, a subject on which the G8 communiqué was vague. A successful conclusion of the Doha round of multilateral trade talks now seems Africa's only hope for the abandonment of tariffs and farm subsidies.”
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "Poor Countries Should Not Rely On Financial Assistance"
Mass-circulation Chinese-language Apple Daily News editorialized (7/12): "One of the discussion topics at the just finished G-8 summit was that industrial countries should provide more resources to assist poor countries in Africa. The concept of developed countries providing assistance to underdeveloped countries emerged after WW II. Since then, the amount of financial assistance has increased from several million U.S. dollars to U.S.$50 billion in the 90s.... What is the impact of this financial assistance? Let's take Zambia as an example. Economists expected that if Zambia used the financial assistance it has gotten since 1960 for investment, its per capita gross domestic product would have reached U.S.$20,000. However, in the early 90s, the per capita gross domestic product of Zambia was around U.S.$500, much lower than in 1960. It can be seen that while financial assistance can show the kindness of developed countries, it offers little help to developing poor countries."
"G-8 Shows New Political Differences Among The World"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (7/8): "During the G-8 summit in Scotland, President Bush put on an air of the world's big brother. He refused to accept suggestions regarding environmental protection. He also told Africa not to expect any U.S. assistance. He spoke contrary to his 'close ally' Prime Minister Blair. British and U.S. leaders singing a different tune in the political arena shows that people's hearts and political structures around the world are changing.... The host country Britain set two pragmatic topics for the summit this year: economic assistance to Africa and global environmental protection. These two topics have three major impacts. First of all, it has alienated the political alliance between Bush and Blair. Secondly, it has increased the importance of countries like China, India and Brazil in the summit. Thirdly, it has deepened the animosity of the world toward Bush, as well as the U.S."
"China Will Talk To The G-8 In A Confident Manner"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (7/7): "Some Western countries think that when China is developed, it will 'wantonly engage in military ventures' and it will set itself against Western countries. That is where the theory of 'the threat from China' comes from. Politically, countries like the U.S. utilize human rights and their own military strength to criticize China. They even drew in other countries to contain China. Economically, new protectionism arose and Western countries even tried to meddle with the Yuan's exchange rate.... G-8 members come mainly from strong nations. Their economies, their per capita national income, and their military strength are much greater than China's neighbors. Therefore, why don't Southeast Asian countries and Central Asian countries complain about the threat from China? But why does G-8 have so many strange comments about China? China should carry on a dialogue with the G-8 in a confident manner, as well as on an equal basis. China's development relies on its own efforts, but in the meantime, it also needs to enhance its cooperation with others."
"Time To Bring Rising Powers Into G8 Fold"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post held (7/6): "But just as the G8's concerns have evolved with the changing world, it is time to consider updating its membership by bringing in new, rising global powers. The most obvious candidate is China. India is another. The inclusion of either or both nations to form a G9 or G10 would not only make the world body more representative, but also allow it to tackle humanity's shared problems more effectively.... Witness mainland oil-and-gas giant CNOOC's bid to take over Unocal, which is partly driven by its desire to get access to the American firm's energy reserves in Central and Southeast Asia. If it could curb its insatiable appetite for energy, China (and the U.S.) may even be able to reverse global warming. Similarly, with its pivotal position in world trade, huge foreign investment intake and ballooning reserve of U.S. dollars, China's co-operation is crucial to maintaining global economic stability."
"Few Achievements For G8"
Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal noted (7/6): "Whether the global economic imbalance can be solved and how it can be solved will hinge on the interactions between the U.S. and Asian countries, especially China. Whether or not the G8 discusses the above issue in detail is not so important. However, it is important that G8 has not yet invited economic powers such as China, India, Brazil, etc. to become formal members. Without including these countries as members, the G8 seems to be separated from reality and the group becomes dispensable.... Few people will object to the goals of preventing the greenhouse effect from getting worse and solving the problem of poverty. However, from the Pew report, it can be seen that America's active participation in the tsunami relief effort did not do much help in lifting its global image. France, Germany, Spain and Holland are the countries that are largely hostile to the U.S. If Bush 'makes any mistake' at the G8 summit, French President Chirac, who wants to be reelected for the third time in the 2007 election, and German Prime Minister Schroeder, who will have to run for the election in September, will utilize anti-U.S. sentiment among their people to win public support."
JAPAN: "G-8 Summit--Good Opportunity To Show Japan's ODA And Energy-Saving Expertise"
Conservative Sankei editorialized (7/7): "Two issues--aid for Africa and measures to combat global warming--will likely dominate the agenda at the G-8 summit.... Japan has many successful achievements it can boast to the world concerning aid for developing nations and technologies for reducing environmental pollution. It is important that Japanese delegates led by Prime Minister Koizumi ensure that Japanese expertise is fully reflected at the summit for its future use in tackling these two urgent issues. During the past 50 years, developing nations in Africa and Asia have received almost the same amounts of ODA from advanced countries. Despite this, most African nations remain poor, while the economies of most Asian nations have grown remarkably. Needless to say, it was Japan's ODA formula that contributed to the economic development of these Asian nations.... Japan's thermal efficiency is known to be the best in the world. Energy saving and the use of energy-saving technologies are the two most important tools to fight global warming. The Gleneagles summit will also be a good opportunity to demonstrate Japan's energy-saving expertise."
"China To Show Increased Presence At G-8 Summit"
A commentary in conservative Sankei read (7/6): "Chinese President Hu is likely to show China's increased international presence at the three-day G-8 summit.... As a major economic power, the Chinese leader is expected to coordinate economic policies with leaders from other G-8 nations, while speaking in support of developing nations. Undoubtedly, President Hu is also trying to utilize the Gleneagles summit as an occasion to demonstrate China's political presence in the international community. China is expected to speak up for the interests of developing nations not only to secure natural resources in these nations but also to counter U.S. domination of world affairs.... Beijing has been successful in getting support from developing nations to obstruct Japan's bid for permanent UNSC membership.... At a time when China is showing signs that the Chinese military is spear-heading moves toward growing nationalism, Beijing cannot help but coordinate policies with other G-8 nations in order to maintain China's economic growth. In this sense, the G-8 summit will become a good opportunity to learn about China's future direction."
INDONESIA: "G-8 Summit Meeting"
Muslim-intellectual Republika commented (7/8): "In the G-8 summit...the two main agenda items that became the priority of the discussion were: plans to trim debts of poor countries in Africa and how to optimize the effort to combat global warming.... Debt relief for poor countries in Africa is undoubtedly important. Up to now, conditions of the countries in the continent have been distressful. Famine is widespread and pervasive. Diseases break out uncontrollably. It is estimated that every three seconds a death occurs among African children. However, this is not all. African countries not only need debt relief, they are also entitled to trade equality. This is an item of concern not only for African countries. Many developing countries, including Indonesia, also need trade equality.... The G-8 summit is an extremely important meeting that will decide the course of worldwide economy and politics. Despite that need, the participating countries have instead adopted an arrogant attitude. As developed nations, they act as if all the rules to regulate the world were simply drawn up by them.”
"Lessons From G-8 Summit In Scotland"
Christian-oriented Sinar Harapan commented (7/7): "With respect to reducing poverty in Africa, G-8 member countries were urged by the U.S. not to consider things that have been targeted before to help that black continent. According to the UNDP report, the average income and military expenditures in the world’s richest countries have risen markedly over the last 15 years, but the value of foreign assistance has decreased.... We should learn a lot from the attitudes of developed countries toward the poorest continent. Our experience with the Tsunami case in Aceh and North Sumatra showed that a great deal of assistance that had been pledged in order to restore the disaster-stricken areas had not yet been released. Among the reasons advanced for was that that lack of planning and preparation by Indonesia caused donor nations to fear that corruption would affect the assistance provided.... One other issue is global warming. The U.S. has made it clear that it would not sign the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which governed the reduction of carbon emission, green-house effects, and global warming, because it does not want its industries to be disrupted. On the other hand, seven member countries of G-8 supported the Kyoto Protocol.”
"G-8, Poverty And Global Warming"
Fachruddin Mangunjaya observed in independent Koran Tempo (7/6): "There is an important topic for discussion regarding the importance of industrial countries to immediately change their attitudes towards earth’s suffering with a theme of poverty and global warming.... Because of global warming and poverty, two assets critical to life will gradually decrease. First, the quality of the ecosystem will become more vulnerable, such as declining water quality due to pollution and second, the extinction of biodiversity, which serves as the main support for life on earth. Therefore, scientists urge that the G-8 summit can bring about significant results by taking actions right away to prevent climate change. One of the actions is to immediately scrap the debts of developing and poor countries.”
"Issues Around G-8 Summit"
Leading independent Kompas commented (7/6): "As the host of the G-8 summit...Prime Minister Tony Blair has every right to determine the agenda.... He chose assistance for Africa and a new agreement to deal with climate change. If all G-8 leaders agree, this G-8 summit will run smoothly. But is it that easy?.... Of the G-8 members, the U.S. is the only country that refuses to ratify the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997. The seven G-8 countries that have ratified the protocol agreed to cut CO2 emission gas to 5.2 percent below the 1990 level. The U.S. pulled out of the agreement in 2001because it felt that such a scheme was too expensive. The U.S. also feels that the agreement is unfair because it does not apply to developing countries… Bush, of course, wishes to restore his administration’s image, which was shattered by its invasion of Iraq. Warming up trans-Atlantic relations has become his main agenda. But with his egoistic attitude, as shown in the gas emission issue, will his desire to restore the relationship be achieved?”
MALAYSIA: "Tony Blair Opposing U.S. Stand On Kyoto"
Government-influenced Chinese-language Sin Chew Daily concluded (7/6): "A top British scientist has commented that the threat of global warming is more serious than the threat of global terrorism. This is the reason why G8 leaders would want to tackle the global warming issue seriously at the G8 meeting in Scotland. Yet on the eve of the G8 summit, President Bush said the U.S. would not want to accept the Kyoto Protocol because it would hurt the US economy. Washington's attitude has again shown that under the pretext of protecting national interest, the U.S. will never sacrifice its benefits for the betterment of the world community. The strong and uncompromised stand of Bush is going to cause great embarrassment to Tony Blair, the host of G8 and Bush's close friend and strong ally. On such an important environmental issue, Tony Blair has made the right decision to speak against Bush's proposal and to join other G8 members in isolating the United States for its stand on environmental policy. As a staunch follower of Bush, Tony Blair's courage to go against the wish of the mighty United States is to be praised. When we know that global warming can cause environmental disasters, and when other major powers are willing to join hands to tackle the global warming issue, Bush's decision to go against the wish of the world community is another blow to the image of the U.S. Bush has wasted a golden opportunity to rectify the eroding image of Washington after the Iraq war and the prisoners of war scandals."
INDIA: "Group Therapy"
The centrist, Kolkata-based Telegraph maintained (7/12): "What does it mean to be powerful in Gleneagles and harrowed in London? The richest, and the not-so-rich, leaders gathered at the Group of Eight summit in Scotland will have to ponder the dark comment made on their resolutions and disagreements by the blasts in London. Such a conjunction is part of the history of this summit.... It has become impossible to separate the problem of poverty from that of terror. Africa--a major focus of this year’s summit--and west Asia are what the leading nations will have to reckon with together. Among the summit’s achievements is not just the canceling of the greater part of Africa’s debts and the augmenting of its aid package, but also an additional $3 billion yearly for Palestine.... Significantly, a sub-group of the ‘developing five’ had also been invited. India and China, primarily, and Mexico, Brazil and South Africa have now grown too important as economies and democracies to be left out of such a gathering.... This summit also marks a change in the nature of the rich nations’ concern for Africa. Assistance cannot undermine accountability as well as self-sustenance. Africa’s economic crisis is as much about HIV/AIDS as about corruption, misgovernance and civil wars. Democracy, transparency and governance will have to be prime targets for Africa.... Climate change remains a problem--largely because of the U.S. stubbornness regarding the Kyoto Protocol."
The nationalist Hindustan Times opined (7/11): "The G-8 summit in Gleneagles will always be remembered in association with the London blasts. But the summit has also managed to do a lot of work in drawing up plans to fight poverty and hopelessness which, as the host, Tony Blair, pointed out, can create a breeding ground for terrorists. Clearly, the significant aid package for Palestine was aimed at doing more for the region whose travails have inspired a whole generation of terrorists. But the primary focus of the summit was to follow up on the agreement on debt cancellation to Africa.... Statements and agreements were put out by the G-8 leaders, including a carefully worded document on climate change, which acknowledged the split on the Kyoto protocol and called upon all countries to do what they can to address the problem. But this is unlikely to mend the cracks between the incompatible positions of Europe...and the US.... Bush's hardnosed contention on climate change still seems to be that the US is facing 'an energy crisis.' Which could not be more ironic, as the nation with the greatest output of carbon dioxide, the cheapest petrol in the West, and the most inefficient energy industry, struggles to avoid any domestic action that might help the planet. Most Americans acknowledge this and would probably support a coherent international approach to tackle global warming. Despite this, the G-8 summit has shown that with sufficient drive, there can be a united approach to some of the burning questions of the day such as poverty and terrorism, hopefully at some later date there can be agreement on global warming as well.”
"The Outcome Of The G-8 Summit"
Mumbai-based left-of-center Marathi-language Maharashtra Times argued (7/11): "Developing countries perceive the G-8 summit with a certain cynicism.... This group of eight was formed by the industrially powerful countries only to resurrect themselves from the oil crisis of the 1970s. They never, ever empathized with the concerns of the poor nations. It was only recently that they realized the need to take the poor and developing countries into account, which is why they invited the G-5 countries, which includes India, to the summit in Scotland. As was expected, the London blasts cast a shadow on the summit. The war against terror was once again brought into sharp focus. Thankfully, other concerns--like trade, tariff, subsidies and AIDS--were not sidelined.... Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took the opportunity to make a few valid points. He expressed alarm over global warming, especially in the context of the unwillingness of powerful countries like the U.S. to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions that endanger the global environment. He said that although the powerful nations have not taken specific pledges to cut the carbon emissions that are warming the planet, they have the audacity to advocate sustainable development to emerging economies. He said that the environmental norms should not be used as a ruse by developed nations to obstruct the growth of poorer countries."
The centrist Times Of India contended (7/7): "Governments have reacted to global warming in the following sequence: Incredulity, denial, anger and acceptance. Proactive heads of government and businesses have gone further; they have or are putting in place checks and balances on energy consumption and release of greenhouse gases while creating public awareness and green incentives. The scientific community is looking to alternative energy and ways to repair the damage.... US president George Bush is rejecting the Kyoto-style G8 deal that seeks to address the issue of human activities accelerating global warming. He did concede that human activity was to blame but only 'to some extent,' and did not think it was necessary to reduce consumption. The Kyoto Protocol signatories are expected to cut back on emissions in a phased manner. Bush continues to harp that only new technology, including nuclear power, can tackle the impending meltdown.... Can Blair convince his buddy Bush that global warming cannot be tackled with technology alone? As the world's biggest and richest polluter, the US owes it to the rest of us to help clean up the environment. And it should begin by cutting back emissions, and stick to a timetable like European countries are doing. Scandinavia and Germany are fine examples of how environment-consciousness has created a culture of restraint, moderation and innovation. The first step is to recognize that urgent action is vital to our collective well being, not carp that the onus should be on developing countries to exercise restraint.”
The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer argued (7/7): "The invitation extended to PM Manmohan Singh to attend...marks an eloquent recognition of India’s rapidly growing economic might. He is the first Indian Prime Minister to have received such an invitation. While the development merits strong welcome, the fact is that India should be a member and not an invitee. The same applies to China, which has also been invited to attend. In fact, it is time that the G-8, which was G-7 prior to Russia’s joining it, became G-10. The process should be initiated no later than at the organization’s current summit.... The G-8 countries must also give greater evidence of their recognition of the fact that globalization and the opening up of the markets of the less developed and developing countries are not compatible with the continuing grant of huge subsidies to farmers of the developed countries. They must also take the lead in implementing measures to arrest global warning. Needless to say, experience suggests it would be fortunate if only a small part of these expectations are realized at the summit. With the U.S. talking an obdurate stand, there is little chance of its taking effective steps to curb global warming. Hence the need for sustained pressure on the G-8 to fulfill its global responsibilities. From this perspective, it was good that all the five non-member countries invited to the summit’s outreach--India, China, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa--have met to coordinate their views on the major issues to be taken up at Gleneagles. The process of coordination and consultation needs to continue."
PAKISTAN: "G-8 Pledge For Africa"
Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn concluded (7/11): "In a monumental decision, the G-8 have finally acted to salvage Africa from poverty. The breakthrough...came...after Japan and Germany announced a decision to increase their contributions.... Together, the G-8 pledged $48 billion in aid for development worldwide over a period of five years, the lion’s share...going to Africa.... Aid activists have expressed disappointment at the summit’s decision. They say the aid pledged by the G8 summit...will mean less than $130 billion over the next five years, which is less than the $180 billion visualized by the Millennium Development Goals. But it is the five-year period that has disappointed many Africa watchers. They want the $25 billion to flow into Africa immediately if urgent action is to be taken in some vital sectors, including the fight against AIDS. The summit promised to end aid subsidies on farm exports to Africa--which hurt African agriculture--without giving a date.... Africa is no less unstable.... Nevertheless, the Summit’s decision constitutes the biggest-ever financial help for Africa."
"Decisions Of G-8 Countries"
Leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang said (7/10): "The decision of the G-8 conference to waive off the debts of the African countries would not compensate the deprivation of the people of these countries but would definitely help at building an embankment against the sea of poverty. If the developed countries of the world sincerely feel their responsibility to take steps to check poverty then they would have to expand the scope of their activities and should bring about a change in their political, economic and exploitative policies without which the dream of peace in the world could not be realized."
The center-right national English-language Nation concluded (7/8): "Observers are rightly describing the G-8 Summit at Gleneagles as a ‘defining moment’ in current world politics. They are urging the world’s most powerful countries to ‘act now’ and make serious efforts to reverse the fast growing gap between the world’s richest and poorest countries. Comprising the world’s major industrialized countries, the G8 is an ‘informal but exclusive’ discussion and action forum with no headquarters, annual budget or permanent staff.... It must be noted that while G-8 members can agree on policy objectives, compliance is voluntary. The G-8’s main significance is its muscle and the influence it can exercise on major financial institutions. Hence the tremendous expectations from these leaders. In a saner world, they would have gone all out to reduce global poverty and discrimination. Unfortunately, in today’s world billion-dollar corporate entities, the arms industry and burgeoning reserves are more important, while the less fortunate are condemned to perpetual poverty. While it is a shame that helping humanity is not the most pressing concern of the most advanced nations even in the 21st century, it is hoped that the G-8 leaders will make a greater effort to look out for the economic interests of the world’s poorest countries than it has in the past."
BANGLADESH: "Limited Gain At G-8: Disappointment Over Environment"
The independent English-language Daily Star maintained (7/10): "In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on London, there was much speculation that the G-8 summit at Gleneagles would be side-tracked.... However, the fact that the G-8 was able to continue with its stated agenda, even against the backdrop of the carnage in London, made the agreements reached at the summit all the more laudable. The summit ended with the leaders of the world's wealthiest eight countries signing the biggest aid deal in history for Africa. According to the agreement, development aid to Africa would be doubled to $48 billion by the year 2010, and debt would be written off for the 18 most indebted African countries. This alone counts as a considerable achievement. However, there were still some disappointments.... Even though dialogue on climate change has come some way, the US is still dragging its feet on any kind of commitment, and nothing concrete was agreed to in terms of the environment. Similarly there was nothing solid agreed to in terms of eliminating G-8 agricultural subsidies.... Nevertheless, the agreement reached at Gleneagles represents a real watershed for the world. It shows that the wealthier countries are finally willing to accept responsibility for alleviating poverty and acting for the common global good. No doubt they could have gone even further in their commitments, but there is also no doubt that the summit should be seen as a very positive development."
SOUTH AFRICA: "New Spin Dressed Up As A New Deal"
Balanced Business Day observed (7/12): "At exactly the same time as the G8 countries were pledging their support for a “new deal on trade”, their trade representatives in Geneva were in a dispute over how much to cut trade tariffs. WTO Director General Supachai Panitchpakdi said in desperation: 'I am afraid we have to face the facts; these trade negotiations are in trouble'.... This leaves us with the conclusion that Africa did not win anything new from the G8.... The agreement on climate change was widely seen as the most significant of the agreements reached by the G8.”
"Washington Needs To Lead Better"
The moderate Pretoria News contended (7/12): "It remains one of the big anomalies of our time that the government of mighty America will not take more responsibility on the climate change issue. Here have the world’s undisputed superpower, and the one which more-over happens to produce the most harmful gases, comfortably staying in the rear-guard as others pick up the banner and march ahead. Of course the last thing an American President would want to do is harm his country’s economy or put it at a disadvantage, especially with a mighty economy like China’s being o the rise. But surely if George Bush and his colleagues are beginning to recognize the threat of climate change for what it is, then it is incumbent on them also to take their rightful place in the forefront of the campaign to counter it.”
"Whip That Money Into A Virtuous Circle And Make Debt An Asset"
Tim Cohen said in balanced Business Day (7/8): "The conventional wisdom at the G8 is that African debt must be relieved because debt repayment is overwhelming the capacity of the poor states to pay for social services, for example. Obviously, relieving this pressure would help governments, and in many instances it would be very welcome relief indeed. But the twist is this: by eliminating the debt, the creditor is also impoverished. In sense the problem is not African debt as such, but it is the fact that it is other people’s debt. The thing about money, as an economist once told me is that it is like cattle. You have to whip it and drive it. But you have to be doing that yourself within your own economic system. Otherwise you are simply destroying the ability to generate the virtuous cycle of capital accumulation.”
"The Show Must Go On At G-8"
Philani Mgwaba opined in the moderate Pretoria News (7/8): "For Africa and the poor people of the world we hope the agenda of the G8 will not in the light of the attack be changed from a focus in helping the developing world lift itself out of abject poverty to fighting global terrorism. While we would not dare tell the wealthy nations of the north what issues should be important to their citizens, we would hope that their leaders would realize that addressing the problems of the poor is also in their interest and can no longer be postponed.”
"Deceit Inherent In G-8 Proposals”
Dot Keet argued in the liberal, independent Cape Times (7/7): "The third dimension and deception relates to the proposal to the G8 for reforms to support greater 'trade justice' for Africa.... However, possibly the biggest deception of all, among the G8 and other governments of the North...is precisely their exaggerated focus on the agricultural dimensions of the policies of the G8 and other countries of the North and their effect upon Africa and other countries of the South.... Thus the fullest and deepest deception of the G8 leaders, including UK Prime minister Tony Blair, is that, at the time they are posturing about how they aim to alleviate poverty and suffering in Africa, they are relentlessly pursuing radical agreements in the WTO that will further tie the hands of African governments and actively prevent them--even were they to be pushed by their people--to implement policies and programs to really transform their economies and wipe out poverty in their Countries.”
The liberal Witness opined (7/7): "There is a mixture of expectations and cynicism as to whether the G8 leaders will take significant action or merely settle for a pious statement. Into the equation have come a number of dissenting voices from Africa Itself. Moeketsi Mbeki, President Thabo Mbeki’s brother, has expressed reservation about aid flowing to governments--where there is danger of blockade and corruption--rather than more directly to the people in carefully designed ways. Other are questioning what they see as the stereotypical approach of the west in its treatment of Africa in a condescending or patronizing way. Stronger than the cry for aid is the legitimate demand for acknowledgement through the lifting of unfair trade barriers and provision of membership in the UNSC. Africa’s turn has come and she must be treated with dignity.”
"Blair’s G8 Mission"
The liberal Star commented (7/7): "British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to make Africa on of the two basic subjects of the G8 Summit...has brought unprecedented attention to the dire plight of the continent. But it has also raised unrealistic expectations of what the G8 can do for Africa. So, one way or another, the outcome of Gleneagles is likely to be a mixed bag. But that is not a reason for despair. In the end it will be more important that Africa gets something solid out of it--including unprecedented media attention- than that it does not get everything it hoped for. That’s the real world.”
GHANA: "No Thanks To The G8"
Niyi Alabi stated in the regional independent Independent (7/11): "All of a sudden, the world, the undiscerning and unsuspecting world, is in a state of euphoria over the much publicized debt relief, which is giving our so-called development partners much to relish. Some even call it by the vainglorious phraseology of debt forgiveness. It is this semantic underpinning of the whole issue which is giving the likes of George W. Bush, Tony Blair and other leaders of the G8 the wherewithal to massage their moral ego.... I personally have no gratitude to extend to Mr. Blair. Neither am I thankful to Mr. Bush for unwillingly towing the line of his British obedient poodle to join the debt relief bandwagon. What have these two countries paid back to us for the horrendous Trans-Atlantic slave-trade that has permanently compromised African’s development? What have Britain, France, Germany and Italy paid back to Africa for their colonial adventures.... Those who are jubilating over the new package on offer by the G8 shouldn’t be too myopic to lose sight of the fact that the debt reduction/alleviation measures that preceded the HIPC Initiative were piecemeal. That explains why, not unexpectedly, those measures only partially managed to address the problem. Instead of dealing with the main issue, the measures, as it were, hurtled us back to square one! We still have to service our debts at the expense of development and social service.... Let the G8 members who claim to love Africa open up their markets to the continent’s produce the way the Bretton Woods institutions have forced us to adopt a policy of unbridled liberalization. It is only then that they can genuinely claim to be concerned about the plight of Africa.”
KENYA: "False Hopes"
John Kamau asserted in the independent populist Standard (7/10): “But it was the outcome on climate change that was tragic. The statement did not in any way oblige the US to adopt anything remotely resembling the reduction in greenhouse gases to which the seven other G8 members are committed through the Kyoto protocol. The only positive outcome was to get Bush to acknowledge that climate change is a serious, urgent and largely man-made problem.”
"Aid: Africa Must Strive To Solve Its Mess First"
Otuma Ongalo wrote in the independent populist Standard (7/8): "While we fail to get grants even for the basic tools of survival, the same West doesn’t tire supplying to us expensive WMD. We go hungry but never run short of fuel to move the war machines or bullets to pump into our brothers and neighbours’ heads. When we get tired of killing each other, the Big Brothers turn around and come back to us with disarmament and reconstruction strategies which we pay for the rest of our generation as we wait to fight another war.... As the West embarks on a mission to help the continent, African leaders should not stop and wait for their fate to be decided. They should swing into action, solve the continent’s mess and set their own agenda for sustainable progress.”
"More Contributions Necessary"
Jackson Mbuvi judged in in the independent left-of-center Nation (7/7): “Our development partners should prove we are in this war together by doubling their contribution to our economic well-being. A cash-strapped economy cannot effectively fight heavily-funded terrorist cells. Hence it taxes the mind that the US should issue travel advisories against Kenya, and in the process hurt one of our key economic mainstays. The same goes for the G8 group that does not seem to be in a hurry to forgive our debts.”
NAMIBIA: "Africa, Fight Your Battles"
The government-owned English-language New Era commented (7/8): "Africa will have to walk it alone and not wait for handouts and goodwill gestures for the powerful North. This is the only conclusion any sensible mind can arrive at given the deliberations on trade liberalization at the current G-8 Summit.... Observers have been skeptical about the G-8 Summit agreeing to level the trade playing field. U.S. President George W. Bush sprung a surprise on the Europeans at the G-8 Summit when he suggested a 2010 deadline for scaling down and completely doing away with farm aid and subsidies. The Europeans, who regard themselves as saviours and the bearers of the African course, certainly did not expect Bush to come up with such proposals.... Africa must know that it has to fight its own battles, as the Blairs, Schroeders and Chiracs of this world have an electorate to answer to and that electorate is not Africa. Their fight is over global influence and not African poverty.”
TANZANIA: "G8 Countries Not A Solution For Africa"
Kiswahili-language independent tabloid Mwananchi concluded (7/6): "African heads of state have been meeting...to forge a common position that they intend to present to the G8 summit.... One of their recommendations will undoubtedly be to ask developed countries to cancel debts owed by poor countries which are already overburdened by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Another resolution will most likely be to pressure rich countries to increase their level of development assistance to Africa so as to promote economic growth on the continent. However, not all African leaders are in favor of Africa taking the role of a beggar.... The African leaders who will represent us in Gleneagles should feel embarrassment because part of the reason why our countries are poor is the way we have mismanaged our resources. Look at Nigeria with all its oil and intellectual wealth! We want to remind our African representatives in Gleneagles, our own President Benjamin Mkapa included, that the resources to deliver Africa from poverty are available on the continent, but we are allowed to seek more knowledge and expertise elsewhere.”
"G-8 Summit An Important Opportunity"
Kiswahili-language independent, anti-government tabloid Majira declared (7/5): "The G8 summit...has special significance to the world and especially to the continent of Africa which is confronted by many problems including diseases, civil wars, etc. The summit has been preceded by demonstrations and concerts that have served to draw the attention of the world to the need to help Africa. The poverty confronting Africa is mainly the result of an unfair world economic system. It is not enough for rich countries to reach into their pockets and dish out assistance to Africa; rather they should empower the continent to be self reliant. In other words, instead of giving fish to the people of Africa, they should give them fishing nets. On the other hand, some African leaders have been using their positions and even development aid to enrich themselves. The G8 summit cannot solve the problem of poverty in Africa. Let us face it, even if all the debts owed by African countries were to be cancelled, some countries would still continue to misuse the aid and loans they receive thus perpetuating the misery confronting their people.”
CANADA: "What The G8 Leaders Were Able To Achieve"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (7/9): "If the terrorists who attacked London on Thursday hoped to derail the G8 summit, they failed miserably. This G8 achieved more than any other in memory.... Of course, the summit did not achieve everything that either Mr. Blair or anti-poverty activists had hoped. The G8 were divided on the question of increasing foreign aid.... European countries were willing to sign on, but Japan, the U.S., and Canada were not, citing understandable doubts about whether they could ramp up aid at such a rate.... On other files, progress was less impressive. Mr. Blair failed to persuade his colleagues to set a date for ending farm subsidies, which hurt poor countries by flooding the world market with cheap produce, making it hard for developing-world farmers to compete.... They also put off talks on climate change, this time until November when G8 officials will reconvene. Because of U.S. opposition, the leaders could not agree on a target or timetable for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The most they could get out of climate-change skeptic George W. Bush was an acknowledgment that human activity is 'in large part' to blame for increasing greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and that wealthy countries have 'a responsibility to act.' These failures led aid and environmental groups to dismiss the summit as a flop. It was anything but. Hammering out a consensus among eight strong countries with differing interests is always tough, and Mr. Blair worked wonders.... The Gleneagles G8 may be remembered for the disaster in London that coincided with it. It should instead be remembered as a model of how to run a successful world gathering."
"A G8 Summit That Will Make A Difference"
The nationalist Ottawa Citizen stated (7/9): "If the terrorist attacks that rocked London two days ago were meant to derail the G8 summit--as the timing of the blasts seems to indicate--they failed spectacularly.... Far from being thrown into chaos and confusion, the Group of Eight leaders responded in the most laudable fashion possible: uniting in disgust and defiance, then putting their heads down and getting on with the business of addressing two important issues: African poverty and global warming. As a result, history will likely judge the Gleneagles summit as one of the most successful G8 meetings ever, a watershed event during which high-minded rhetoric gave way at long last to concrete action.... That the G8 leaders would unite in condemning terrorism comes as no surprise, but a pleasant one was the degree to which they looked past parochial agendas and united in efforts to improve the lot of all mankind."
"Aid Needy Africa...And The Planet"
The liberal Toronto Star opined (7/5): "Live 8 provoked a healthy international debate on what can, and must, be done for Africa, virtually guaranteeing it the spotlight.... The size and scope of an action plan [aim] to reduce the scourge of African poverty, combat AIDS and other diseases that are sapping the strength of an entire region, and reduce barriers to African trade.... Although average global temperatures have risen by only 0.6 degrees Celsius over the past century, the devastation caused by floods, droughts and storms in recent years shows how vulnerable we are to even modest climate change.... These disasters are a warning of worse to come.... Yet U.S. President George Bush's administration--alone among the G-8--refuses to accept the scientific evidence of the dangers posed by climate change. The U.S. is the only country that has refused to sign the Kyoto agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions. And despite British Prime Minister Tony Blair's drive to get Bush to commit to practical action at the summit, the president has shown little interest. Will Blair, as summit host, risk a double confrontation with Bush, on African aid and on Kyoto? Not likely. Rather than use his moral authority as G-8 president to isolate Bush, Blair may be tempted to issue a toothless final communiqué.... Yet inaction by the U.S., the country that produces more greenhouse gases than any other, risks negating the good done by countries that reduce emissions. Worse, American obduracy will give countries like China and India a pretext to do the same.... But why should these countries make sacrifices to combat global warming when the wealthiest nation won't? Regardless of how G-8 leaders choose to address the two issues, African development and global warming are inextricably linked.... Africa needs aid, to be sure. It also needs sensible environmental policies. So does the whole world."
"Trade, Not Aid"
The conservative National Post observed (7/5): "The music and hype of Live 8 have ended. But in Scotland, protestors remain out in force, seeking to make their voices heard in anticipation of Wednesday's G8 summit. The various activists and NGOs have different platforms. But they are united by the broad demand that Western leaders throw enough billions at Africa to lift the continent out of poverty.... What Africa does need is better governance.... It is high time that those who profess such profound concern for Africa take a closer look at the real problem. More aid will do far less for the world's poorest continent than honest government, grass-roots commerce and increased international trade."
"How The Wealthy Nations Undercut The Poor Ones"
The leading Globe and Mail editorialized (7/5): "U.S. President George W. Bush has thrown down the gauntlet to Europe. On the eve of the Group of Eight summit in Scotland, he told a British interviewer that the U.S. would abandon its massive subsidies to farmers if Europe would do the same.... Jacques Chirac, the French President, is the leader of a group of rich European nations that spend billions propping up their well-heeled farmers and dumping their produce on the world market at a cut-rate price.... The hypocrisy is staggering. On the one hand, leaders such as Mr. Chirac insist they want to help African countries claw their way out of poverty. On the other, they deny them the means to do so. To his great credit, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has put the scandal of rich-world farm subsidies high on the agenda for the Gleneagles G8 summit that starts tomorrow.... The G8 leaders could do a power of good if they seized the opportunity of Gleneagles to forge a deal on reducing farm subsidies.... Bush's interview is part of the political jousting that has gone on for years on the subsidies issue, with both Americans and Europeans saying at various times that they would do away with their payouts if the other side would do the same. Mr. Bush could make his bold-sounding proposal this week with the assurance that Europe would not take him up on it. The time for that sort of game-playing is past. Trade offers poor countries the surest route to prosperity. The least the rich countries can do is stop blocking the road."
"The G8's Hypocrisy"
The nationalist Ottawa Citizen argued (7/5): "Prime Minister Paul Martin and his fellow G8 leaders must learn that when they try to get the best of both worlds, they end up helping neither. The leaders gathering in Scotland this week find themselves caught between what they see as their nations' self-interest and the needs of the developing world. Until they learn to make domestic and foreign policy work together for a global good, they'll be working against themselves. Canada, unlike the nations of Europe, has not committed to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on foreign aid by 2015.... Foreign aid is itself an example of how the G8 countries are working at cross-purposes. They are increasing their foreign aid and relieving the multilateral debts of some poor countries. But they have yet to eliminate the barriers that keep poor countries from competing in a global marketplace.... U.S. President George W. Bush is asking Europe to drop its agriculture subsidies and says the U.S. could do the same. Mr. Bush is right, and he should back up his words with action. For too long, the developed world has preached about open markets while protecting its own. Speaking of hypocrisy: if the G8 leaders want peace and stability, they must stop arming killers.... It makes no sense to preach about open markets while subsidizing agriculture. It makes no sense to preach about security while exporting arms to rights-abusers."
ARGENTINA: "G-8 Prefers To Live In A Fantasy World"
Oscar Raul Cardoso opined in leading Clarin (7/9): "At the conclusion of the G-8 Summit, Bush and Blair resembled two characters of Alice in Wonderland...trapped in a nonsensical atmosphere, both pointing in opposite directions in a closed and stifling maze.... The G-8 seemed determined to remain trapped in the nightmare of a 'better world' they describe in a way that ignores reality.... Bush and Blair's rhetoric styles are quite different. The U.S. leader very often upsets his interlocutors with certain implicit arrogance in a message that doesn't accept a possible mistake. Blair is far more cunning and yielding.... Bush only needed to make cosmetic concessions...and told his negotiators to include in the text some reference on substitute forms of energy, a fantasy.... On this, we remain trapped in Wonderland. The same applies to Africa. In the G-8 version, Africa is a charity not a justice dilemma. This is another fantasy: it's not even convenient to argue on the amounts of financial aid set by G-8--always insufficient.... This region, more than others, isn’t poor, it's being plundered."
"Global Expectation On G-8"
Daily-of-record La Nacion said (7/6): "Preceded by gigantic mobilizations and worldwide protests, the G-8 Summit--the one that received the broadest media coverage and pressures in history--kicks off today in Scotland amid high expectations.... The fight against poverty--basically in Africa--and climate change will be the key topics of the summit, during which the leaders of the world's richest nations must agree on specific measures aimed at delivering millions of dollars to the most impoverished continent.... President George Bush, after an initial resistance to Prime Minister Blair's ambitious goals (putting an end to Africa's poverty through an increase in the aid from the richest nations), announced last Thursday that he will request Congress double U.S. aid to Africa by 2010.... Nevertheless, human rights organizations and NGO's indicated that such a measure won't solve the debt problems of many of the poorest countries in the world.... Another key issue on the G-8 agenda will be the need to adopt urgent measures against climate change.... In the meantime, and in an explicit G-8 acknowledgement of the growing importance of emerging economies, the presidents of the five most advanced countries in the world this time invited Brazilian President Lula, Mexican leader Fox, South African Mbeki, Indian Singh and Chinese Hu Jintao to sit at the negotiating table.... Precisely the economic challenge posed by China will be one of the issues in debate, at a time when the insatiable demand for energy of Asia's giant contributes to a record increase in oil prices."
BRAZIL: "Hampered Trade"
The lead editorial in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo read (7/10): "In Gleneagles it became clear once again that the rich world will resist as much as it can the liberalization of agricultural trade. President George Bush made what appeared to be a daring proposal by inviting the Europeans to eliminate agricultural subsidies by 2010. It is hard to believe that he expected a positive response from the Europeans.... The conclusion is simple: if the Europeans do not do anything, the Americans will not do anything either. The British government, an exception in Europe, has urged for years for the elimination of subsidies to the agricultural sector, which consume 40 percent of the community’s budget.... PM Tony Blair avoided mentioning any well-defined commitment in regards to deadlines. This is one of the points that have complicated the negotiations between those who favor a major reform in agricultural trade, like Brazil, and those who insist on maintaining the distortions.... Negotiations are in fact hampered. Let us hope that good news can emerge in the next few days in China.”
"Environment Protection Pits Bush Against Blair"
Newton Carlos contended in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (7/5): “Global warming, climatic changes, its causes and consequences will, for the first time, place in open confrontation President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, his main partner in the invasion of Iraq. Bush will by no means accept a Kyoto-type agreement in the G8 Summit.... The expectation is that Blair will ignore Bush and work with India, China, Brazil and South Africa, the leaders of which are engaged in a battle to start a process aimed at controlling gas emissions causing the greenhouse effect.”
CHILE: "Africa And The Effects Of International Aid"
Conservative, independent La Tercera noted (7/6): "From 1969 to 2005 Africa received...over $450 billion in foreign aid, and that from 1975 to 2000, its GDP decreased an average of 0.59% a year, and its per capita income...dropped from $1,770 to $1,479.... It is evident that there have been no real long-term improvements in the continent.... The permanent structural problems remain almost unchanged...increasing the chance that the situation in Africa will turn into a major security problem for the developed world.... Aid must focus on improving the general internal conditions for good government, a challenge that is inevitably tied to the creation of solid states.... It is in essence a question of building institutions that create confidence among its peoples...and that fulfill their goals. This means that Africans themselves have to do the work that numerous NGOs do for them...because in the end, Africans must realize that they are the only ones who can put an end to their problems.”
COSTA RICA: "Africa And The G8"
Independent La Republica editorialized (7/6): "That 30,000 children die each day due to poverty while 4.5 million perish before reaching the age of five. Africans constitute 85% of 1.2 million annual deaths due to Malaria in the world, in addition; 26 million Africans are infected with Aids while expenditures for sanitation are only $10 per person. With the eight richest countries discussing topics such as debt reduction and commerce, these nations claim that susceptibility to corruption and governments not wishing to assume any real sense of responsibility make discussion of developmental aid money to Africa difficult. However, in addition to forgiving the debt, it is urgent to expedite commerce to the continent, but with rich nations unwilling to withdraw their subsidies and increase aid, the barriers to competition with Europe and the U.S. makes it difficult for these Africans to make a profit."
GUATEMALA: "Seven And One"
Carolina Vasquez Araya noted in leading Prensa Libre (7/9): "Bush’s stubborn and irresponsible refusal to sign the Kyoto Agreement...is a grave offense to the world that will cause the death of millions of species and of human beings, with the only objective of guaranteeing the uncontrolled enrichment of large American companies. And on the other hand, there is the overwhelming presence of billions of Africans, Latin Americans, and Asians whose situation on poverty is no more than the consequence of the economic and political devouring of their countries by the colonialist practices of the U.S. and Europe. The additional 42 billion Euros in ‘aid’ to poorer countries, which world leaders hold in high regards, is nothing but a minimal credit to ancient debts of the western countries to these cruelly impoverished nations.”
"Europe Seriously And Jokingly"
Silvia Tejada stated in influential El Periódico (7/7): "So the G8 summit will result in many economic promises to the African countries, the Republican indifference to global warming and climate changes, and a lot of protestors hurt or in jail; but never erasing the hope of millions around the world, without money but with high spirits, who every day make an effort to diminish pollution and share what we have.”
PERU: "The G-8 Summit"
Pro-business Gestion declared (7/8): "The leaders of the eight most powerful countries of the world have been distressed by the repulsive attacks perpetrated in London. They have shocked the entire world, brought back to our memories the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. and revived the population’s sense of insecurity. The G-8 didn’t give in to the terrorist blackmail and will continue on with its agenda including the fight against poverty in Africa, global warming and elimination of agricultural subsidies, which would allow the poor countries a fair trade, and is an area where the U.S. and the EU haven’t reached an agreement. As George W. Bush said, the fight against terrorism continues.”
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