THE GROUP OF 8 SETS THE COURSE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
The Group of Eight-G8 world leaders just concluded their 30th annual meeting in Sea Island, Georgia. With each meeting, they have, through the natural political and economic evolutionary forces, established a system of global governance for the world. Six countries originally met in 1975 and by 2002, they had added two more to become the Group of Eight: the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Canada and most recently, Russia.
Today, the G8 operates much like a “global board of directors.” What they determine sets the course for the rest of the world—like it or not. There were fourteen specific issues that confronted the heads of state this year including: trade, poverty, the Middle East, weapons of mass destruction, international travel, the Sudan, HIV/AIDS, poverty, and war in Africa.
Last year when I asked French President Jacques Chirac about their global structure, he told me they were just a bunch of nice guys that had come together to help the world. While I do like President Chirac, I believe he greatly understated their power, position and objectives.
Undoubtedly a growing governmental structure is taking shape in the world. All one has to do is go to the United Nations website and study their vast array of activities, commissions, agencies, and deliberations. What is more and more apparent is that the G8 acts as an oversight group over the UN secretariat. I asked several experts about the evolving structure of the G8 and was told when the United Nations fails, the G8 steps in.
This year the Group of Eight took giant steps by increasing their commitments by 20% over the previous year to make the world a better place through 245 commitments. President Bush said this about their deliberations, “We pledged to work together to build a more secure, peaceful and prosperous world.” Two of the ways, the G8 is building a better world, is by establishing global peacekeeping operations and by exploring different methods of global taxation, both major components of a global governmental structure.
Several years ago at the UN Millennium Summit, a major peacekeeping report was issued called the “Brahimi Report.” It recommended the following: a doctrinal shift in the use of civilian police, deploying peacekeeping operations within 30 days of a Security Council resolution, having a list of 100 military officers on-call and available within seven days notice, and establishing a national pool of civilian police officers that would be ready for UN deployment within seven days notice. Lastly, a peacekeeping force of 42,000 would be comprised of 6,000 soldiers from seven countries.
As a result of the growing number of crises in the world and the war on terror, the G8 has been paying greater attention to peacekeeping. Last year they pledged to develop key building blocks for peace and security in Africa. The EU has established a Peace Facility for Africa, the US, France, Canada, Germany, and the UK has provided financial assistance to train and equip African people support units and to develop the capacity of African organizations to establish, manage and sustain peace support operations. Italy has provided training activities at the UN Staff College in Turin and operations at the UN Logistical Support Base in Brindisi. Japan and Russia have supported African peace operations.
This year, while they initially concentrated on the need for peacekeepers in Africa by making public the above activities, they also stated that they were needed globally. Furthermore, the final document supporting global peacekeeping operations stated there were “significant gaps” in the ability of many countries to conduct operations in a timely manner as a result of their inability to transport and sustain their troops. It described the new type of peacekeeper: a “carabinieri/gendarme-like” force which can fill the security gap between military forces and civilian police. While the number of troops initially mentioned was to be above 50,000, President Bush, in his final press briefing, stated the number of troops worldwide would be 75,000 by 2010.
In addition, the final document by the G8 stated, “Any nation receiving training and assistance will make its own sovereign decision on whether to deploy its units to a particular peace support operation. All peace support operations and other related activities undertaken by G8 members under this initiative would be in accordance with the UN charter. All actions undertaken by the G8 to expand global capability for peace support operations should be implemented in close cooperation with the UN and according to recommendations of the Brahimi Report.”
With regard to global taxation, the UN has been floating various ideas and schemes to line pockets for at least the last ten years, if not longer. In 1994, they proposed a tax on arms trade, airline tickets, oil consumption, and a tax on global currency called “the Tobin Tax.” All of these ideas are still being discussed, even at the highest levels. In 2002, the UN sponsored a meeting specifically to discuss global taxation. Most recently at the IMF/World Bank, they re-affirmed these ideas and schemes in a new study on “Financing Modalities.”
There is a form of global taxation that Americans are paying. It is called the Overseas Development Assistance-ODA. This came as a result of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Currently the U.S. diverts 0.2% of GNP for debt relief, food aid and technical cooperation. Among the countries which currently benefit are: Egypt, Russia, Israel, Pakistan, Serbia/Montenegro and Columbia. In other words, it is not really fulfilling the Millennium Summit Development goals. More is needed according to various international organizations.
At the G8 meeting, President Jacques Chirac called for global taxation. He is joined with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Currently they are working on a number of new schemes that are different from the aforementioned ideas. They have put together a working group which will be ready with new ideas by the fall.
In an interview with a key French official, I was told they are looking at types of taxation that would have to be economically sound, equitable, and politically acceptable. This official pointed out the flaws they have with regard to a tax on arms trade--it would be counter-productive as it would legitimize this kind of trade. A tax on carbon emissions would not work because not all regions of the world have the problem and it would penalize economic growth while a tax on financial products is not economically viable.
A world governmental system that has a governmental structure, a parliament that represents the countries of the world, its own army and the strong possibility of global taxation is more than just a place where the countries of the world get together.
The G8 came together as a result of Nixon taking the dollar off the gold standard. In the early 70’s when the G8 was birthed, there was war in the Middle East, the price of oil had risen from $2.50 to $11 bbl., and America had deficits of $70B. Today, there is not only war in the Middle East and in two dozen countries around the world, but the war on terror. Oil is $35 bbl and our federal deficit is over $7T.
Is the state of the world better
under the global leadership of the Group of Eight? No. Do we have
peace? No. Do we have stability? No. Under the guise of world peace,
the G8 has fostered a system of inter-dependence, integration, and
world government. A global rapid deployment force can be deployed
anywhere and a supra-national organization that has an unlimited income
stream is not utopian. If this is the course the world is traveling,
we need to change it. This path is not sustainable!
© 2004 Joan Veon - All Rights Reserved
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"Today, the G8 operates much like a “global board of directors.” What they determine sets the course for the rest of the world—like it or not."