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Der Spiegel: The G8 Is Dead

Author: Dirk Kurbjuweit
July 13, 2009

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The L'Aquila summit showed just how irrelevant the G-8 has become, as emerging economies demand more and more of a say at the negotiating table. But the new focus on common survival means that Western values such as human rights and democracy are being neglected.

Excerpt: Democracy no longer counts for much. Neither does freedom. And human rights have lost their claim to universal validity.

That, in a nutshell, is one result of the G-8 summit in the Italian city of L'Aquila last week. It was a funeral ceremony: The G-8 is dead, at least as a global leadership forum. It has now been reduced to a mere talking shop for certain heads of state and government. The important decisions are made elsewhere -- at the G-20, for example.

Admittedly that is fairer, because it means that the emerging countries of the world are also represented. But it is still sad. At its core, the G-8 represents the values of the West. The United States, Canada, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Japan all stand for the principle of democracy. Russia is dragged along. Despite all its weaknesses, it is a good club.

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