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The Group of Eight Expands Horizons

By Joan Veon

The 28th Group of Eight meeting has just concluded.To many, it means nothing but to those who understand the international level and the global governmental infrastructure that has been set in place above the nation-state, this meeting is 

one of the most important meetings in the world for it symbolizes the on-going and growing structure of global management over the world.Its directors are Group of Eight heads of state.


Begun in 1975 as an intimate group of five countries that came together to fill a vacuum created by President Nixon when he took the dollar off of the gold standard in 1971. Several year’s later, Canada and Japan were asked to join.For most of its twenty-eight years it operated as the Group of Seven.It was Russian President Gorbachev who knocked on the doors of the G7 to ask for admittance in 1989 and in 1991 participated in a post-summit meeting.In 1998 Russia became a partner in every way except economically. This year’s Russia’s full participation became complete when it was designated to host the 2006 meeting.President Putin said that the “G8 represented people of common thoughts” who discussed the problems of their respective countries and the world.


Over the years, the original economic mandate has been expanded as terrorism, the environment, labor, health and education issues are on-going. Today, the Group of Eight has evolved into a two-tier system with the heads of state acting as a “Global Directorate” or “Global Board of Directors”.This evolution has been facilitated by the fact that the economic, political and electronic barriers between countries have been torn down.


Unofficial new ideas floating around this year include adding a Parliamentary Group of Eight whereby designated members of Congress would meet with other elected G8 legislators to exchange ideas and concerns and the same kind of working group for Supreme Court justices.


Helping to foster the evolution of global governance is the growing idea that “governments can’t do it alone.”In this regard the United Nations has fostered the concept of a working partnership with business, government and civil society through the Global Compact that has been adopted by many countries and the G8. 


As a result of the violent protests at the Seattle WTO in 1998, there has been an active outreach to civil society by the Group of Eight leaders in order to listen to their demands.Thus, the protestors have become the voice of you and I in a de-facto way.It is their raised voice that is being heard at this level.


In affirming the global structure which supports the world today, the Group of Eight re-affirmed the United Nations Millennium Summit goals, the World Trade Organization Doha Round, the Monterrey Consensus and the ten year anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit in Johannesburg in September.All of these meetings and supporting documents further integrate the nations into a new global structure that is now being overseen by the Group of Eight. 


The need to work together to protect against terrorism for all of humanity was seen in the Attack on America. The heads of State addressed two key aspects:transport security and the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction. In this regard, the heads of State also committed themselves to a new G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction with Russia aimed at dismantling weapons that have been stockpiled.


For the first time ever the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan met formally at the same table with the G8 leaders.Accompanying him were leaders from four African countries.On Thursday the G8 leaders embraced a New partnership for Africa’s Development which states that Africa, in exchange for the open agricultural markets, debt relief and more aid, will embrace democracy, the rule of law, run transparent governments and promise to end violence.


Although President Bush pre-empted the Canadian plan to focus solely on Africa when he announced the need for Palestine to replace Yasser Arafat before he left for the G8, Canadian Prime Minister Cretien said the G8 was “collectively happy” that the President took the initiative.He said in his opinion, it is “fundamental thatIsrael is there foreverwith safe borders.”


The above did not come from our Congress but from our President’s participation in an organization that was the idea of President Nixon and Henry Kissinger.It continues to evolve.I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the statement in our Declaration that begins, “We the people” was not intended to mean global management of all the people in the world as the nation-state devolves.