The Agenda the G8 should have
By Stefania Lapenna
On Tuesday, July 6, the leaders of the eight most powerful
nations will meet in Scotland to take stock of the world and debate about what
is still to be done on issues such as the fight against mass poverty and
Simultaneously, hundreds of anti-globalization protesters
will march against what they see to be the cause of all evils: global trade and
capitalism. These people seem to ignore how world politics works and what is
being discussed at the G8 summits.
The leaders of the richest nations - who have been elected
through free and fair elections - will renew their commitment to fight terror
and discuss debt relief toward the poorest countries.
These are the noblest of goals. However wrong the strategies
to pursue them may be.
A list of the countries to be relived of at least some debt
was released two weeks ago. While most of those nations are ruled by more or
less democratically-elected leaders, committed to political and economic
liberalization, the list includes African nations that are ruled by corrupt
What some G8 leaders, as well as anti-globalization
protesters, overlook is that debt relief directed to those undemocratic nations
will end up enriching the local autocrats - who will buy weapons and will
declare war on their own people and neighbors.
The ultimate victims will be the poor people the G8 leaders
wish to help. Neither food and economic aid, nor worldwide Live 8 concerts have
done anything truly important to defeat poverty.
Debt relief should be directed only to those nations who are:
ruled by accountable and democratic leaders;
who are committed to fighting corruption;
who open their economies to free market and free trade;
who promote peaceful civil societies, not ethnic or religious strife.
Even among those nations meeting the test, the rich nations
must really monitor how the money and aid will be used. Free money is
inherently corrupting in a poor society. It is a dangerous drug, and it is
irresponsible to prescribe it without close supervision to counteract negative
While discussing on how to reduce poverty and help the
countries and peoples in need, the G8 leaders should commit themselves to
promote democracy and self-government in Africa. They should help strengthen the
newborn democracies like Senegal, Nigeria and a few others.
Don't expect that the G8 will do any of this. Dont expect
any word on the subject from moral leader Nelson Mandela, whose country - and he
himself - endorsed these brutal policies in the name of "respecting the
internal affairs of sovereign nations."
Fighting terrorism will be surely one of the hottest topics.
Every G8 leader agrees that the ultimate goal is the defeat of the Islamist
terror. But there are deep differences between the US and the European countries
on how to reach that goal.
While the U.S. has since long time realized that the spread
of democracy in the Middle East is the key to defeat terror, the Europeans still
think that only by resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - no matter how
the Arab and Middle Eastern tyrants treat their own citizens - will peace be
assured for the world as a whole.
Europe seems to ignore the fact that in the last 25 years,
the Islamic Republic of Iran is the main exporter of terror worldwide, and the
major obstacle to the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
We can always hope that finally the Europeans will see the
threat posed by the Islamic Republic's Mullahs. Sadly, it has taken 25 years and
the selection of Ahmadinejad by the "Supreme Leader" Ali Khamenei,
disguised as an election, to understand - if they really do even now - that it's
high time to take concrete action against the regime.
The G8 leaders should say publicly what they intend to do
with respect to Iran.
If they really want to defeat the threat posed by the
Mullahs' deadly plans, they have to stand with the people of Iran. There is no
need to invade the country and nobody seems to want do so. These are some of the
things they (in particular the U.S.) might decide to do:
1) Impose new and strengthen existing economic and
diplomatic sanctions against the regime;
2) Expel all of the regime's agents and lobbyists from the Western soil;
3) Approve pro-democracy resolutions, such as the Iran Freedom and
4) Increase the funds directed to the non-violent, democratic and secular
Iranian opposition groups, both inside and outside Iran;
5) Organize meetings with the Iranian dissidents, just as President Bush
did when he met with dissidents from Venezuela, Burma and other countries;
6) Support the Iranian opposition's aspirations to an
internationally-monitored genuine referendum, which would be held only after the
fall of the regime and would establish true democracy, based on the total
separation of religion and state;
7) Increase the funds directed to the US-based Iranian satellite TV and
radio stations which promote these aspirations and goals;
8) Help prevent jamming of satellite programs by the Islamic regime -
helped by friends and allies as Castro's Cuba;
9) Impose fines on all US and European companies doing or trying to do
business in Iran;
10) Increase the pressure on the EU countries in order to further isolate
the regime - diplomatically and economically. That includes closing all the
regime's embassies and consulates abroad;
11) Announce that Regime Change (by the Iranian people, but with the West's
moral and economic support ) is the official policy of the US and its allies.
The G8 summit should make it clear that it intends to help
promote and spread democracy wherever it is lacking. It should condemn, not
endorse, rigged and sham "elections" such as those held recently in
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Palestinian Authority.
Elections without democracy are meaningless and often serve
the local tyrants strengthening their grip on power and prolonging the
suffering of their citizens. Instead of supporting the alleged "change from
within", the Western powers must encourage the removal of those tyrants by
secularist opposition groups.
Democracy and the basic human rights, not simply food and
debt relief, will make poverty and terror history.
Stefania Lapenna is an Italian activist and author of the
weblog Free Thoughts