Jeff Garten has a devastating piece in today’s Financial Times (subscribers only) on the farce of Russia taking leadership of the G8 after Britain’s chairmanship.
If ever there were a travesty of leadership by example, this is it. Two trends are changing the world for the better – freer markets and democratisation. Is it too much to expect that the G8 should stand for both? But, alone among the summit members, Russia is moving in the opposite direction of what is desirable. Moscow’s leadership of the G8 reduces the credibility and the relevance of the group to zero. It also makes a mockery of the Bush administration’s push for democratic, market-oriented societies around the world. Putting Russia in charge of the G8 is akin to the United Nations having allowed Sudan and Liberia to play big roles in its UN Human Rights Commission – a move that resulted in the irrelevance of the commission and a subsequent plan for radical reorganisation.