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July 7th, 2008
11:57 AM ET

G8: Let the other kids play

G8 leaders in Toyako, Japan, Monday.

G8 leaders in Toyako, Japan, Monday.

Tim Reyes
AC360° Intern

The world’s top leaders are in Toyako, Japan today for the second day of the G8 summit. This year’s agenda includes major issues such as climate change, soaring oil prices, and rising food costs. The forum was established as a way for the world’s economic powers to discuss pressing matters and how they can find a solution to these problems, but is the G8 really a fair representation of the world’s major players?

The group consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—all countries that held significant international influence when they all first met in 1976. However, in 2008, the game is changing and developing countries like Brazil, China, and India are surpassing these “leading industrial nations” in economic strength, population, and influence. Some say it’s only fair that these countries be invited into the discussion.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France agrees with this and is proposing the dissolution of the G8 to create a G13, and is backed by other members. Others, like Japan, oppose the idea fearing that they will lose their influence in the decision making if other Asian countries are invited in.

It’s all reminiscent of children playing in the sandbox, and not letting the other kids play because they’ll have less sand to play with.

Maybe a change is due in how these summits are conducted. Can the world’s leading countries solve global problems if they’re not all present? This article says it well.

Please send us your thoughts. Thank you.


Filed under: 360° Radar • AC360° Staff
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. J.V.hodgson

    Hi Mr. Reyes,
    Excellent point and my input for what it is worth.
    1) The UN Security Council is in serious need of major reform and its constituents and numbers. it is not appropriate in todays world. The veto must go as well if it is to be seen as democratic and useful oganisation.
    2) The so called NGO,s need in the main to be fully separated from the UN eg, ICEF and HRC along with changes to the IMF and World Bank to name a few.
    3) All nation states interpretations of religious beliefs must accept that something written thousands of years ago and very right and proper then might just need a little compromise and some changes to be relevant right and fair in the 21st century. A little Compromise and Fairness from both sides will go along way here to resolving many issues.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    July 8, 2008 at 4:00 am |
  2. Julie San Diego, CA

    Well done Tim!

    Your title says "intern". I think you need a promotion.

    We have long-established organizations like the G8, the UN, and the World Bank. These organizations are governmental in style, and as such, are subject to the politics and machinations of government.

    This diminishes their effectivity. They're high on talk, low on action.

    We also have private philanthropic entities like the Clinton Global Initiative, Richard Branson's group of The Elders , and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These organizations act like "private industry". They're efficient by comparison.

    Instead of asking if the G8 can be more effective by expanding to include more countries, maybe we need to be asking the questions:

    Is the G8 relevant anymore?

    Could a private group, free of the constraints of global politics, do a better job?

    July 8, 2008 at 1:29 am |
  3. Cynthia

    The G8 should be dissolved entirely, adding more participants won’t make any difference, governments that participate in summits like these are not there out of altruistic ideals, they are there to represent their own interests.

    The idea that a gathering of world politicians can solve the problems of humanity is naïve, problems can only be solved when all the parties involved really want to cooperate.

    That is not the case with the G8 and it won’t change even if they make it the G88, each nation has its set of priorities. And each nation wants what bests suits their needs, they want to be able to increase their profits not someone else’s. So why do we think that India will be willing to promote a plan that would benefit China.

    Canada and Italy are there not because they are economic powers, but because they can create alliances between the real players and vote a resolution through or not. By adding more participants we will end up with an organization as ineffective as the United Nations. I vote to dissolve the G8 not expand it.

    July 7, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  4. Jolene

    Tim: Great article by Saunders! Puts the argument to expand the G8 (or not) into a better perspective. I think if this body of world leaders wants to make a better impact, they need to expand and include other countries. I hope you continue to keep us updated as to what is going on during this year's summit. Since Bush is seen so unfavorable here in the states, the media has a tendency to just skim the surface of what is going on over there (or maybe nothing is really going on over there?). I do find this stuff fascinating though. Thanks.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    July 7, 2008 at 9:57 pm |
  5. Gary Chandler in Canada

    McCain's plan to kick Russia out of the G8, and bar China, should be a major debate topic. Don't wait for after November to find out what McCain and Obama think about this.
    After all, America is the most powerful country in the world. At least give McCain a chance to flop flip on this.

    July 7, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    These countries should be included as well as countries in Africa – the continent that has contributed the least to climate change but will reap the worst from other countries output. We are all in this together so everyone should have a voice in how we deal with our changing environment

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 7, 2008 at 7:35 pm |
  7. nick

    If the G8 is expanded to the G13 you will have the same problem, only you would have 13 countries making decissions instead of 8

    July 7, 2008 at 7:16 pm |
  8. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    To say the least China should be in there before Canada!!
    To keep Canada in there it may have to be the G50!!!

    July 7, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  9. Michelle, Spring Valley,CA

    I agree with Sanders, it's time to "build a new machine."

    July 7, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  10. Maya

    So why not just use the UN as a forum instead of these select groups??

    July 7, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  11. Gecko-San

    President Nicolas Sarkozy of France you a good thinker. I have not While growing up have ever thought much of the leaders of France until today. You have shown me that you care about equal voice. Sorry Japan you have a very xenophobic stance I believe and I think its for the best of the regional development if other nations are involved. China With the most people in one nation should definitely be involved. When I started reading this Article I did think that Germany, France and Italy still played a large role in the international community. Well Of course I only thought that cause there not at war like we are in the United states. Everyone else play a positive role.

    VA, USA

    July 7, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  12. Susan

    Tim:

    I qgree with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. The G-8 must be more inclusive. The currents members are a part of the old Cold War mentality and the world has changed a great deal since the fall of the former Soviet Union.

    The global marketplace ( economy ) is shifting to the emerging markets of Brazil ( and other Latin American countries ), China ( and other Asian countries ), Mexico, India Pakistan and the Middle East.

    All these countries are now players on the World stage. They are part of the global problems and giving them a voice may make them more apt to become a part of the global solutions.

    Issues like the environment, hungar, terrorism and economics are all going to have to be resolved with many voices.

    Susan
    Phoenixville,PA

    July 7, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  13. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    Maybe if the G8 were actually solving some of these issues then Japan would have an argument going for them. I have failed to see what the nations belonging to the G8 have done recently so I say move forward with G13. Where does our President stand on expanding this?

    July 7, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  14. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    "United we stand, divided we fall. . or fail" comes to mind.
    Peace and equality for all~

    July 7, 2008 at 12:34 pm |
  15. William of Iowa

    The event of the year! The worlds most prolific philanthropic elements gather to discuss who gives what, gets what and gets to sign the packages "Courtesy of the people of the......"
    I don't think China, India or Brazil are interested in giving anything. Same goes for our good friends in the Middle East.

    July 7, 2008 at 12:22 pm |
  16. Cindy

    I think that Sarkozy is right. I think they need to update the G8, rename it and allow the other nations that have risen in stature to be allowed into the discussions as well. It is only right. Like I say...the more the merrier. I mean the more heads they put together to try and solve all of the worlds problems the better chances we may get a positive out come out of these meetings. It can't possibly hurt! Besides who put these 8 nations in charge of the world anyway!?

    Cindy..Ga.

    July 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm |
  17. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    I think if we are a global community, all the communities need to be represented. We aren't in this world alone and everyone should be solving the worlds ills, not just a few countries.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    July 7, 2008 at 12:05 pm |
  18. Michael, NC

    It seems unfair that ANY country should be excluded. Even if they are not as influential, they should have the right to sit in and discuss their opinions openly with the other representatives. I have never heard of these conferences, but am now interested to see what is made of them and their discussions.

    July 7, 2008 at 12:03 pm |