G8 Summit: Step Aside, Time For G20 To Shine In Toronto
Brazil, India, China Emerging G20 Powers Overshadow Older Powers
The G8 and G20 Summits in Toronto are summits of contrasts. The G8 occurred in Huntsville a small pretty town outside Toronto. The G20 is taking place right smack in downtown Toronto - attracting a sizable army of security and protesters.
International observers say increasingly the G20 is becoming the primary multinational economic organization where the important decisions are being made.
For Toronto, the discussion will center around international financial reform. At one time more of the purview of the G8 but not any more. The G20 is what other international bodes look to for changes in policy for example.
The European Union has also been urging the G20 to adopt fiscal austerity measures. In an editorial published Friday, Cameron called for his summit colleagues to set out plans for "getting our national finances under control."
To put it bluntly the G20 is hot, the G8 is not and it makes perfect sense too. The G8 formed in 1975 was then the G6. It became the G7 with the addition of Canada in 1976 and became the G8 with Russia coming on board in 1997.
The G8 was a response from western industrialized democracies out of the Oil Crisis of 1973-74.
The G20 was a response to the financial crisis in 2007 and more importantly a recognition that economic forces of the world were fundamentally changing, with a host of countries including China, India, Brazil, South Korea all emerging as major economic powers.
So now it really is the G20 summit in Toronto that will be the focus of the media attention.
But as foreign policy consultant Anurag Shinha points out in The Mark News, the G20 though important and growing in ascendancy it may well be short lived. There are other organizations that also growing in importance that get little or no coverage in the Western media.
Another significant trend in international relations that may cast its shadow on the effectiveness of the G20 in the years to come is the rise of non-western economic and security forums. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the BRIC Summit, and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) are some examples of this trend. On climate change negotiations, Brazil, South Africa, India, and China have formed a coalition known as BASIC, which opposes the American and European demand for mandated limits on greenhouse gas emissions. All of these groupings include the emerging powers with an understated goal of containing the influence of the U.S. and the EU on a whole range of global policy issues.