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G8 as a Global Medical Case Management Team
MOSCOW. (Igor Maksimychev for RIA Novosti) –

The G8 is viable and effective because it has never been an institutionalized organization with tough rules and procedures. It is not accountable to anyone but itself.
It has not replaced and will not replace the Security Council acting in line with the United Nations Charter. The Security Council’s decisions are binding for all for fear of international sanctions. The G8 club does not have such powers and does not want them.
In this sense, anti-globalists are wrong when they protest against what they call a “self-proclaimed global government.” At the level of competence, NATO, for example, is much closer to the status of a global dictator that is being ascribed to the G8 and that is causing a wave of indignation on behalf of many who are dissatisfied with the current situation in the world.
The G8 came into being because it was not very happy about the current situation, either. But it does not limit itself to expressing discontent. The G8 does not rule but it diagnoses disease and proposes a course of treatment. It is not a military headquarters but a medical case management team. It was born out of informal “conversations by the fire place” about major problems that are not on the agenda of official organizations, whether affiliated with the UN or not. Informal discussions are still going on. Recently, the G8 has started inviting countries that are not members of the group to participate in their debate. This largely refutes the accusations of exclusivity that are often hurled at the group.
Meetings are particularly important when there is a misunderstanding among the G8 countries or they have different views, as is the case now. Lack of agreement is reflected both in Russian-U.S. relations and in the EU-applied double standards. The Russians are greatly worried over the vigorous efforts of the United States to create missile defenses. Since the appearance of intercontinental ballistic missiles, preservation of global peace has rested on mutual assured destruction (MAD) – he who shoots first will die second. The missile defense system (if it is built) will reverse the whole situation. A country with such defense will rule the world because it could threaten to destroy any state and avoid punishment. The talks on the construction of facilities for American anti-ballistic missile defense in Central Europe show that the project is nearing completion. Russia will have to confirm its ability to retaliate, and the arms race will start again. Does the world ridden with
so many problems need it?
The European Union is closely following compliance with human rights in Russia but shutting its eyes when its members – Estonia and Latvia – violate the rights of from one third to a half of their population. These are the only countries to have a legally nonsensical status of non-citizen, which strips its holders of civil rights – a lion’s share of human rights. This status rests on ethnocratic rule that is absolutely incompatible with human civilization in the 21st century.
These problems are not on the agenda of the G8 summit. By and large, it does not have an agenda. “Conversations by the fire place” were introduced to make a change – a search for compromise should take place in a befitting atmosphere. It should not be like a marketplace where everyone yells what he or she wants without listening to others.
It may well happen that personal conversations between statesmen will bring greater benefits to the world that wants stability and better living standards than the summit’s documents, which are merely recommendations. It is hardly worth predicting the general results of the forthcoming summit. One thing is beyond doubt – it will not harm the world, and may well improve it, at least to some extent.
The summit is even more likely to succeed because it is hosted by Germany, which is simultaneously presiding over the EU. Chancellor Angela Merkel has won for Germany a reputation of a powerful driving force in developing mutual understanding and cooperation not only in international agencies of which Germany is a member but also on the European and global scale. Needless to say, she is not all-powerful. Even her charm and energy can do nothing when some governments are blocking all progress because they are unable to prove otherwise that they are worth something. But her efforts will not be wasted – the current deadlock on a number of issues cannot last forever. We should all be patient. At any rate, the G8 summit will help boost the optimism that we have been short of recently.

Igor Maksimychev works for the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti. –0-