The G-8 Summit communique, translated into plain language.
1. We, the Leaders of the Group of Fiddle, Dissemble and Wait, met at Camp David on May 18 and 19, 2012 to pretend to address major global economic and political challenges. In fact we have not got a clue what to do and in any case do not agree about anything much but we did agree that we have no responsibility for the pending disaster which was caused by our predecessors. Does anyone know who that is sitting in the corner?
The Global Economy
2. We welcome the never-ending discussion on the Euro and we agree to continue to endeavor to give the impression we seek a strong and cohesive Eurozone. We are pleased that a nice dinner will take place next week in Brussels to maintain that presence. Greece must remain part of the Eurozone until the day we throw them out. We will also talk endlessly about global stability and recovery in the hope that our respective electorates are stupid enough to vote for us again. We invited the Germans to pay for the mess as they started the war. They declined.
Energy and Climate Change
3. We will continue to pretend that to meet our energy needs we are committed to seeking clean technologies and a balanced energy mix. In reality we have no time for any of this ‘green’ rubbish given the pending meltdown of our economies. We will also talk a lot about climate change and to tell our voters it is a good thing, particularly for Britain which is fast becoming a tropical island. We have a long-established principle at the G Fiddle, Dissemble, and Wait of ‘do as we say, not as we do,’ and will thus lecture developing economies about the need for climate responsibility. To that end we will use lots of long words like ‘sustainability,’ ‘efficiency,’ and ‘renewables’ and call upon the United Nations to set up another committee to ensure nothing ever actually happens. Can someone please tell us who that is in the corner?
Food Security and Nutrition
4. This is a good one as it gives the impression we the former rich care about all those poor people who do not vote for us. We thus agree to talk a lot about poverty reduction in Africa. We will also make sure that trade tariffs prevent any export of farm produce from Africa to our economies that might impact upon our subsidy-guzzling farmers, particularly in Europe. They are far too important a group to risk offending and in any case several of us own land.
Afghanistan’s Economic Transition
5. We have made a real success of Afghanistan. It is such a success that our French friends are about to leave prematurely the job having been done. Given our success we will continue to pretend that we share a commitment to a sovereign, peaceful, and stable Afghanistan, and that what passes for a ‘government’ in Kabul will take ‘full ownership’ of its own security, governance, and development so that in time (we define that as a couple of hundred years and well beyond our next round of elections) Afghanistan will be free of terrorism, extremist violence, and illicit drug production and trafficking. Most of us will move onto Chicago to discuss high-level strategic pretense at the NATO Summit. Much will be made of our ‘success’ in Afghanistan and we will also celebrate progress on smart pretense and missile pretense. Has anyone any idea who that is in the corner?
Transitions in the Middle East and North Africa
6. We will continue to say that the mess in the Middle East and North Africa is a good thing and mutter a lot about freedom, human rights, democracy (which we are in the process of scrapping in Europe), job opportunities, empowerment, and dignity. Of course, we will not believe a word of it and in private express great concern about the future chaos that beckons. In particular, we really hope the Egyptians vote for our Islamists and that democracy never reaches Saudi Arabia as it is bad for the oil price.
Political and Security Issues
7. We remain appalled by the loss of life, humanitarian crisis and serious and widespread human rights abuses in Syria but will not do anything very much about it. We of course remain united in our grave concern over Iran’s nuclear program but will not do anything very much about that either. To ensure nothing is done we call upon the EU to take the lead on both issues and to evince the same political leadership as shown over the Euro crisis. When it all goes wrong we can then blame Brussels. Everybody else does. He is still there sitting in the corner. He never says anything.
8. We look forward to meeting in Britain under the presidency of the United Kingdom in 2013 at the Fiddle, Dissemble, and Wait Pub, just off the A44 main road near Leominster. If, of course, the United Kingdom still exists and the British can still afford to buy us a good lunch. We all had a nice time here and the food was quite good, even if it was American. The wine was of course rubbish. By the way, one of the sherpas tells us that the man in the corner is called Herman and he is from the EU. Good to have clarifed something.
Julian Lindley-French is Eisenhower Professor of Defence Strategy at the Netherlands Defence Academy, Fellow of Respublica in London, Associate Fellow of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Studies and a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Atlantic Council. He is also a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the NATO Defence College in Rome. This essay first appeared on his personal blog, Lindley-French’s Blog Blast.