Saturday, June 26, 2010

G8 and G20: Much Ado about Nothing

Holding the G20 in downtown Toronto was stupid to begin with. Bill Easterly from AidWatch pulls a passage from Alan Beattie in the Financial Times describing G8 summits:

…at which ministers from around the world gather to wring their hands impotently about the most fashionable issue of the day. The organisation has sought to justify its almost completely fruitless existence by joining its many fellow talking-shops in highlighting whatever crisis has recently gained most coverage in the global media.

By making a big deal out of the fact that the world’smost salient topical issue will be placed on its agenda …it hopes to convey the entirely erroneous impression that it has any influence whatsoever on the situation.

Add to this the completely foreseeable trampling of civil liberties not to mention the simple ineptitude of the police. Someone I knew from highschool in a younger year than I had their house raided and they were even detained at gunpoint when the police raided the wrong apartment (National Post):
Two Toronto veterinarians say they were woken up at gunpoint this morning by police officers who thought they were the anti-G20 protesters who live in the apartment downstairs.

Dr. John Booth said the officers forced their way into their High Park-area home at 4 a.m., turning their home into chaos for about 45 minutes but were unwilling to show their warrant.

Dr. Booth, 30, said he was handcuffed, and spent about 15 minutes on the curb outside the home in cuffs before his identity was cleared up. The officers said they were looking for an activist named “Peter,” who apparently lived downstairs.

As Walter Russell Mead notes, the efforts are simply pointless with any agreements are non binding with little to no expectations of agreements on anything as journalists breathtakingly report on the mess (The American Interest):
Yet, in a striking demonstration of the idiocy and futility with which our world is governed, as the G-8 morphs into the G-20 and becomes ever less likely to produce any meaningful result, it is getting more coverage and not less.

There are several reasons for this. First, the word ‘news’ is derived from the word ‘new’, not from the word ’significant’. Even the sclerotic world of serious journalism and diplomatic convention was beginning to weary of the G-7/G-8 story. With every passing summit, the vapidity of these events became harder to ignore; we were reaching the shark-jumping moment when not even bureaucrats could pretend to care. But now we have new characters and new plot lines. There is almost no chance that the G-20 meetings will accomplish more than the G-7 meetings, but what does that have to do with anything? Evidently, not much.

More what the National Review is calling Toronto's Keystone Kops.

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