The 10 members of the G8 in discussion.

"Is the G8 still useful?{}" was a question asked in 2008 when Nicolas Sarkozy and George Bush intended to bring together the Heads of State or Government of 20 of the 29 major powers to resolve the financial crisis.

The G8 is the annual summit of eight Heads of State or Government, assisted by two representatives of the European Union, which makes it not 8, but 10. In one discussion, partly organized around an agenda and partly casual, they exchanged views on major international issues without being required to negotiate an outcome. However, the summit published a long final communiqué reflecting the work done at the ministerial level during the year, and a brief statement of intent on the points of consensus.


The summit, which was held in Lough Erne (Northern Ireland), June 17 and 18, was all the more important in that it was the first meeting between Presidents Obama and Putin since the re-election of the latter nine months earlier. However, after the sabotage of the Geneva Conference (30 June 2012) by Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus, it was agreed between the two heads of state that their first meeting would allow them to announce a solution to the Syrian crisis. Yet despite shift change in Washington, the summit was repeatedly delayed while the new secretary of state, John Kerry, drowned himself in contradictory statements.

During this long waiting period, the situation had changed. Lebanon no longer has a government since the appointment of Tammam Salam as Prime Minister, two and a half months ago. In Saudi Arabia, Prince Khaled bin Sultan, assistant defense minister, failed to overthrow King Abdullah. In Qatar, the United States has given Prince Hamad Al-Thani until August to give up his throne to his son Tamim and be forgotten along with his Prime Minister. In Turkey, a majority of the population has risen up against the policy of the Muslim Brotherhood led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In Iran, the people elected an economic Liberal, Hassan Rohani, to the Presidency of the Republic. And in Syria, the loyalist army has freed Al-Qusayr and embarked on a military operation in Aleppo.

On the communication front, as in 2003 in Iraq, France, the United Kingdom and the United States came out with the "weapons of mass destruction" bogeyman: the three capitals claim to have evidence of the use of chemical weapons by Damascus. "Bashar’s regime" would thus have "crossed the red line". International intervention would have become indispensable both "to save the Syrians" and "to save world peace." Alas! Communicated to Moscow, the "evidence" proves to fall far short of meeting the standards of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). In any case, no one can fathom why an army in full reconquest would use sarin gas, and Syria (like Israel) is not a signatory to the Convention on Chemical Weapons.

In fact, France and the UK continue their recolonization project, as agreed between them at the signing of the Treaty of Lancaster House (November 2, 2010, before the "Arab Spring"). They rely on the Zionist Arab regimes, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

For their part, the United States "leads from behind" in the words of Mrs. Clinton. They support the initiative if it succeeds and oppose if it fails. After the chemical weapons farce, they are committed to formally provide weapons to the Free Syrian Army, but not to the al-Nusra Front (Al-Qaeda). The truth is, Washington is in disarray: six weeks ago, John Kerry was in perfect agreement with his Russian counterpart, while last week he wanted to bomb Syria and had to take a blistering "no" from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The situation was thus unfavorable to the colonial camp as the G8 opened. It was further complicated by the revelations of Edward Snowden, an employee of the U.S. contracting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, who leaked internal NSA documents after taking refuge in Hong Kong. The largest security agency in the world is spying on US and world internet and telephone communications. With the help of the British GCHQ, it had even wiretapped London G20 delegates in 2009. In short, the Anglo-Americans (USA, UK and Canada) were at a disadvantage in the discussion and guests avoided using their phones.

On Syria, the Franco-British position is therefore to isolate Russia to force her to give in. Masterful in this role, summit host David Cameron denounced the "dictator-who-killed-the-people-with-chemical-weapons." He called for a Geneva 2 conference which would record the surrender of President al-Assad transferring power to the friends of the West. He confirms the imminent delivery of arms to the "revolutionaries", offers an honorable exit to "Bashar" maintaining the Baathist government and distributing gas leases. For the flag, it is already known, it will be that of the French colonization.

This chatter breaks on Vladimir Putin. Questioned by the press upon his arrival, the Russian president declared before a stunned Cameron: "I’m sure you agree that we should surely not help people who kill not only their enemies, but dismember their bodies and eat their intestines in public and in front of cameras.
Are these the people you want to support? Do you want to arm them? If this is the case, it seems that there is very little relationship here with humanitarian values ​​that Europe has espoused and widely promoted for centuries. In any case, we in Russia, cannot conceive of such a situation. But casting emotions aside and adopting a purely working approach to the issue, let me stress that Russia supplies weapons to the legally recognized Syrian government, in full compliance with the rules of international law. I insist on the fact that we here violate no law and I ask our partners to act in the same fashion.

To humanitarian babbling, Putin responds with his view of the facts and international law. No, there is no revolution in Syria, but foreign aggression. No, Syria will not use weapons of mass destruction against its own people. Yes, Russia delivers anti-aircraft weapons to Syria to protect it from foreign attack. Yes, the delivery of weapons to the contras by the West is a violation of international law punishable in international courts.

Finally, at no time, were the French and the British able to back the Russian into a corner. Each time, Vladimir Putin was supported by another participant - often Germany’s Angela Merkel - expressing doubts.

Faced with Russia’s firm stand, David Cameron tried to convince his Western partners that the fortunes of war could still change: MI6 and DGSE are ready to provoke a military coup in Damascus. An officer recruited in the palace, could kill the president, while a general, recruited at the top of the secret service, would liquidate loyalists and take power. The new authorities would form a military dictatorship that would give way gradually to a parliamentary democracy.

Besides the fact that everyone is wondering who are the traitors enrolled in the presidential entourage, the British proposal was not convincing. This is not the first time this hypothesis is brandished and it fails. There has already been an attempt to poison members of the National Security Council and the power takeover by one of them (but the traitor was playing double agent); then the bombing that claimed the lives of members of the National Security Council coupled with the attack on the capital by 40,000 jihadists (but the National Guard defended the city); there was the attack on the joint chiefs of staff by suicide bombers, coupled with the revolt of a regiment that never took place and so on. And plans that failed when the time was right are unlikely to succeed when the national army is reconquering the territory.

In the final communiqué (paragraphs 82 to 87), participants in the G8 reaffirmed their confidence in the Geneva process, without raising its ambiguities. We still do not know what is meant by a "political transition." Is it a transition from civil war to peace, or from a Syria ruled by Assad to a Syria governed by pro-Westerners? However, two points have been clarified: firstly, the Al-Nusra Front shall not participate in Geneva 2 and must be expelled from Syria and, secondly, an ad hoc committee of the United Nations will investigate the use of chemical weapons, but it will be composed of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of these weapons and the World Health Organization.

This is both little and a lot. It is little because the French and British have not abandoned the idea that Geneva 2 should be the conference of Syria’s capitulation to the demands of Western colonization. It is a lot because the G8 explicitly condemns the support by the Cooperation Council Gulf for the Al-Nusra Front and because it honorably buries the media controversy over chemical weapons. It remains to be seen whether all this is genuine.

It seems in any case that Russia is not certain. In a press conference after the summit, Putin said that other members of the G8 did not believe in the use of chemical weapons by the Damascus government, but by the armed groups. He recalled that the Turkish police seized sarin gas from fighters of the Syrian opposition and that, according to the Turkish documents, their gas was supplied from Iraq [by the former vice president of the Iraqi Baath Izzat al-Duri]. Above all, Putin reiterated several times his questions about the delivery of weapons by the United States and its allies. He stressed that the issue was not whether such deliveries were made or not, but whether this was done officially or unofficially, each being aware that for the past two years, the "commandos" have weapons that come from abroad.

Two days later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov challenged the consistency of the United States. He stressed that the unilateral condemnation of Syria at the UN and the statements on the possible establishment of a no-fly zone were signals which encouraged the "commandos", including those of Al Qaeda.

The international economy

The second day of the summit was easier. The health of the "global economy", an expression that the Anglo-Americans are trying to avoid in favor of pragmatic concepts such as "trade", "tax systems" and "transparency of public finance" were discussed.

If there is a common interest among participants in the G8 to help each other to recover taxes, thus to fight against tax evasion of which they are victims, there is also an interest on the part of the Anglo-Americans to maintain their own tax havens while depriving the other participants of same.

The consensus has therefore focused on the transparency of ownership of offshore companies, so that it can determined who they benefit. Again, it is little and it’s a lot.

It is little because the British intend to maintain their advantage with regards to tax havens, but it’s a lot in terms of monitoring the activities of multinational companies.

Two other areas of consensus should be noted: the collective refusal to pay for hostage release (but will it actually be followed?) and incitement vis-à-vis the Euro zone to unify its banking system to prevent the reproduction of national financial crises.

The G8 is still alive

Ultimately, the G8 has demonstrated its usefulness. If it had lost its appeal during the period of global dominance by the United States (the "unipolar world"), it has now found it again on a more balanced basis. Lough Erne made it possible to measure U.S. hesitation in Syria and Russian determination. The summit will also have reduced the opacity of offshore companies. The G8 reflects on the one hand the geopolitical conflict between the United States (declining power), the United Kingdom and France (colonial powers), and Russia (emerging power), and on the other, the globalization of capitalism, which all participants embrace.

Original G8 Documents:
 «G8 Final Communiqué, Lough Erne 2013»
 «G8 : Lough Erne Declaration»
 «G8 action plan principles to prevent the misuse of companies and legal arrangements»
 «Communiqué on G8 Global Economy Working Session»

Roger Lagassé