In anticipation of the G8 (Group of Eight) summit in Edinburgh next month, U.K. (United Kingdom) Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) Gordon Brown has revealed his grand plan to eliminate African third world debt. He wants to essentially strike all debts from the record, giving struggling nations a chance to build a strong and stable economy without the strain of carrying this huge obligation. The scheme is a popular one here in Great Britain. Brown is doing well to secure his position as potentially the next Prime Minister following Tony Blair’s eventual exit from #10 Downing Street.
A major problem with Brown’s vision is the unexpected opposition from — you guessed it — United States’ President George W. Bush. Bush claims that the 100% debt relief plan does not fit into the American budget system (Schifferes, June 7, 2005). Bush’s position is really no surprise when you consider how lush his government spending has been. Bush is renown for taking the strongest economy in the world and producing a deficit of $500 billion (BBC, March 11, 2005).
But aside from the American resistance, G8 leaders are expected to support the British-led plan. Public support has been raised largely due to Bob Geldof, who has organised this year’s African benefit concert, Live-8. Nearly every day, Geldof is on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), urging the British public to back his cause, to speak up, and to take a closer look at the African situation.
There has been a huge response too as protesters have begun to rally their troops and make travel plans to Edinburgh. Indeed, all the fuss has led Gordon Brown to formulate his debt relief plan. Which is good, right? Well, it may not be as good as it appears. Remember in 1999, when G8 leaders approved the exact same plan? Bob Geldof was making the same statements a few years ago as he is now, which led to the agreement of G8 nations to eliminate third world debt, and then… nothing. Six years later, minimal aid has been received by African countries and certainly no debts have been erased. Protesters, Live-8 participants, and even Bob Geldof are fighting the same battle they supposedly won already!
So what are all these G8 summits accomplishing anyway? They seem to leave the other hundred and ninety some countries of the world feeling poor and ineffectual, while the political leaders of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the Russian Federation squabble about various issues and then go home. This year, we can expect rifts over third world debt reduction, the Iraq war, and global warming. It is pretty clear that these world powers are not in any real agreement over anything. If they can’t even agree on their own agenda, how much confidence should we have as they dictate optimal actions to the rest of the world?
Should the G8 really be interfering in world issues just because they have more money?
Profile: G8 (2005, May 27). BBC News. Retrieved on June 30, 2005, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/country_profiles/3777557.stm
Schifferes, S. (2005, June 7). Bush treads his own path on Africa. BBC News. Retrieved on June 30, 2005, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4070036.stm
US trade gap expands to $58.4bn ((2005, March 11). BBC News. Retrieved on June 30, 2005, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4340217.stm