Wednesday, January 19, 2005


G8 agenda - what should be on it?

There is some uncertainty about what should be a priority for the G8's agenda.

Matters that all deserve attention include the lessons of Iraq, creating order in the international economy, big cuts in public spending in order to make national economies competitive, the future of the G8 etc, etc.

The need for stability in Iraq is certainly a priority of the US, and it is the theme of an article in this month's 'Foreign Affairs'. In essence the article says that the US should try to persuade the United Nations (who they're currently vilifying) to arrange the necessary stability.

"As an initial step toward a regional consensus on Iraq, the United States should ask the UN to convene a consultative group with the five permanent members of the Security Council, Iraq, and all its neighbors, modeled after the Peace Implementation Council on Bosnia or the group of two great powers (Russia and the United States) and six neighbors (China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) that was gathered to deal with the crisis in Afghanistan."

"Washington should seek to restore a transatlantic consensus on Iraq, launching quiet and informal talks with its principal partners and critics in Europe, including London, Paris, and Berlin. Whatever can be settled by these governments could then be sold to NATO, the EU, and the G-8 group of highly industrialized states plus Russia; whatever cannot be settled will never find support in any wider forum."

"The transatlantic discussions should first focus on devising a common approach to Iraq. . . Washington will have to redefine its goals in Iraq in terms that the populations and governments of the region can identify with. . . it should take the lead in brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement."

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