Note: this is a critique of Paper tidal wave taking over summits (May 6, 2002 / Calgary Herald).
The article is based on Sylvia Ostry's O.D. Skelton lecture given in March (see: Globalization and the G8: Could Kananaskis Set a New Direction? for the full lecture).
The author of the piece is Sylvia Ostry, a veteran academic / administrator / policy wonk whose fealty to the global elite and their neoliberal schemes has been tested and proven. In addition to the info provided in the little bio supplement in this Calgary Herald article, we might note that she was Canada's G7 sherpa from 1984-88 (highly curious, by the way, that this is nowhere mentioned in the article), is currently a 'co-investigator' with John Kirton's pseudo-environmental group EnviReform, is a former participant at the secretive Bilderberg gathering of globalists, and is the author of numerous books, some of which contributed, notably, to the evolution of the Intellectual Property regime (TRIPS) at the WTO. She is also a director of Power Financial Corporation and Power Corporation, an advisor to the Commission on Transnational Corporations of the United Nations, a member of the Board of Distinguished Advisors for the Center for the Study of Central Banks and of the Group of Thirty in Washington, and a founding member of the Pacific Council on International Policy. She is the wife of Bernard Ostry - art collector, philanthopist, prominent Canadian bureaucrat, and former CEO of TVOntario.
Ostry, like Michael Walker and Clifford Orwin (see May 4 Calgary Herald article), feels it imperative to make it look like she is taking a stance that is critical of the G8. Of course, like Walker and Orwin, she in fact isn't. She simply tries to focus attention on relatively superficial criticisms - i.e. that the G8 agenda has become too large to be handled effectively - in order to defocus attention on the fundamentally illegitimate nature of the G8.
But when it comes down to the crunch, she is a staunch defender of the G7/8 and is not above twisting the truth to do so. She writes that "the creation of the G-7 in 1975 [sic] seemed to run counter to the so-called realist school of international relations that hegemony is necessary to build institutions for the attainment of a global public good," and that this "was a unique event, dictated by the circumstances of the 1970s, which allowed two middle powers, led by former finance ministers, both highly experienced and forceful personalities, to undertake a major initiative." What a lot of revisionist claptrap. During the '70s, the evolution of the allied (capitalist power) groupings proceeded thus: the G10 (1961), the secretive Brussels Group (1971), the Library Group (1973), the G6 (1975), and the G7 (1976). The United States was always the predominant force in these groupings. Nevertheless, Ostry would have us believe that two middle powers - France and West Germany - were somehow leading things along... from the White House Library, she adds (in perfect deadpan).
The truth is that the G7/8 exists primarily for the purposes of coordinating and legitimizing American hegemonic ambitions which might otherwise run into difficulties in the more (not entirely, but considerably more) democratic environment of the U.N. This pattern of "institutionalized hegemony" has been well documented by another one of John Kirton's University of Toronto G8 crowd, Alison Bailin (see: From Traditional to Institutional Hegemony).
Ostry admits that the G8 has been pathetically incapable of making good on their more people-friendly promises (poverty reduction, debt cancellation, demilitarization), and here we see her deftly using her 'mission creep' theory as a handy apologetic: "In adopting an ever-expanding agenda, the summiteers were also inclined to -- or forced to -- include specific goals. Perhaps it was deemed necessary to do so to add to the gravitas of the institutional commitment, or to the credibility of the lengthy piles of paper." You see - the poor G8 leaders never really meant those things; they were forced into making those commitments - because of the "media's demand for policy by sound byte" and the "raucous shouts of the non-government organizations", as Ostry puts it.
Ostry would like us to believe that in spite of all this, we need the G8: "And it should be remembered, the summit is considered the only forum available for crisis management, whether it be the Russian economy, Kosovo or, as we will see at Kananaskis, the 'new war'." The passive voice construction avoids the necessity of specifying who is doing the 'considering' here, but clearly, whoever it is, they have never heard of something called the U.N. Security Council. And "new war" - how do you like that discreet little locution?! But getting back to the point, Ostry has no intention of limiting the G8 to a crisis management role. She writes: "The summit is the only forum that could deal with the complex global issues that will arise in this world of deepening integration and uncertainty." So in fact, she sees the G8 as a global governing executive. And apparently, she has no problem with the concept. She ain't a Bilderberger for nothing, my friends!
Related Link of Interest: Sylvia Ostry and Jaggi Singh debate in a going global StudioChat Session (Dec. 6, 2000 / GoingGlobalTV)