Strange G-8 Summit Starts Tomorrow in Japan

The G-8 Summit gets underway tomorrow in a little Japanese resort town of Toyako which is battened down with 20,000 security personnel and 5,000 credentialed press safely ensconced 20 miles away.

The usual protestors have shown up but they have been placed even farther away from the tightly guarded venue.

And to top off this rather strange event is the fact that the US leader is a lame duck, British PM Gordon Brown is in big trouble at home with a stagnating economy and potential massive strikes while France's Nicolas Sarkozy is seeing his approval ratings drop like a stone. Ditto for Japanese PM Fukada.

In addition to the usual world crisis they won't do anything to solve, they will meet with delegations of African leaders who come hat in hand to these gatherings hoping that their sob stories pluck enough heartstrings to get them an increase in western aid. This time, they will also be forced to sit and listen to a lecture about Robert Mugabe and his cutthroat regime that the Africans refuse to do anything about:

The Toyako meeting was also to extend the G-8's emphasis on Africa. Eight African leaders headed to Japan, and the summit faced rising expectations that it would address key problems like food supplies, infectious diseases and economic development.

In a measure of the expectations on the group, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged the G-8 to help the world's poor.

"Many voices have been raised asking (G-8 leaders) to realize the commitments made at previous G-8 appointments and to courageously adopt all necessary measures to conquer the plagues of extreme poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy," Benedict said while addressing pilgrims at the papal summer residence in the hill town of Castel Gandolfo near Rome.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, scheduled to arrive in Japan on Monday, said the G-8 leaders would discuss how they can toughen sanctions on Zimbabwe in the wake of President Robert Mugabe's widely denounced presidential election runoff victory.

"I hope that we will also get support from our African colleagues here," Merkel said in her weekly video message.

Merkel may want to consult the Pope about that, he being much more likely to have the answer as to when hell will freeze over.

Although these summits are probably useful on some level - can't think of one at the moment but I'm sure if I sat down for a few hours I could come up with something - this particular gathering would seem to be unusually unnecessary. But hey! If you're going to a place with 5,000 reporters, may as well make the most of it.
The G-8 Summit gets underway tomorrow in a little Japanese resort town of Toyako which is battened down with 20,000 security personnel and 5,000 credentialed press safely ensconced 20 miles away.

The usual protestors have shown up but they have been placed even farther away from the tightly guarded venue.

And to top off this rather strange event is the fact that the US leader is a lame duck, British PM Gordon Brown is in big trouble at home with a stagnating economy and potential massive strikes while France's Nicolas Sarkozy is seeing his approval ratings drop like a stone. Ditto for Japanese PM Fukada.

In addition to the usual world crisis they won't do anything to solve, they will meet with delegations of African leaders who come hat in hand to these gatherings hoping that their sob stories pluck enough heartstrings to get them an increase in western aid. This time, they will also be forced to sit and listen to a lecture about Robert Mugabe and his cutthroat regime that the Africans refuse to do anything about:

The Toyako meeting was also to extend the G-8's emphasis on Africa. Eight African leaders headed to Japan, and the summit faced rising expectations that it would address key problems like food supplies, infectious diseases and economic development.

In a measure of the expectations on the group, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged the G-8 to help the world's poor.

"Many voices have been raised asking (G-8 leaders) to realize the commitments made at previous G-8 appointments and to courageously adopt all necessary measures to conquer the plagues of extreme poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy," Benedict said while addressing pilgrims at the papal summer residence in the hill town of Castel Gandolfo near Rome.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, scheduled to arrive in Japan on Monday, said the G-8 leaders would discuss how they can toughen sanctions on Zimbabwe in the wake of President Robert Mugabe's widely denounced presidential election runoff victory.

"I hope that we will also get support from our African colleagues here," Merkel said in her weekly video message.

Merkel may want to consult the Pope about that, he being much more likely to have the answer as to when hell will freeze over.

Although these summits are probably useful on some level - can't think of one at the moment but I'm sure if I sat down for a few hours I could come up with something - this particular gathering would seem to be unusually unnecessary. But hey! If you're going to a place with 5,000 reporters, may as well make the most of it.