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The United States (US) went into the 2002 G8 Summit with clear objectives in three areas: terrorism, the economy, and Africa. While the US had to compromise on several of its priorities within these respective issues, the Bush Administration did, however, experience significant overall success at the 2002 Summit.
Objective 1: Terrorism
As the most adamant opponent of terrorism, the US went into the G8 Summit with three easily identified objectives: conflict resolution to maintain the coalition, particularly obtaining G8 Support for Bush's Middle East Plan; crackdown on state-sponsored terrorism, specifically against Iraq; and depriving terrorists of access to weapons of mass destruction. The United States also had a fourth unforeseen objective of obtaining G8 support for its Transport Security Action Plan.
Based on these objectives, the US had a mixed record of both success and failure. In terms of success, the US was able to win G8 monetary support for its proposed G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. This plan, also known as "ten plus ten over ten", will enable the allocation of $20 billion to support specific projects, particularly in Russia, aimed at reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction through disarmament, non-proliferation, and nuclear safety methods. The United States has agreed to contribute the initial $10 billion, with the remainder to come from the other G8 countries over the next ten years.
A second area of success for the US was the G8 Transport Security Plan. This plan, introduced by the US, will enable accelerated efforts on pre-screening cargo and people, enhanced security at airports and seaports, and increased security on airplanes, trucks and ships while en route. Central to this plan is the recognition of the need to balance the desire for increased security with the need for open trade and commerce.
Despite these two above successes, the US failed to secure G8 support for two of its more controversial anti-terrorism initiatives. The first was the Bush Administration's Middle East Peace Plan which has called for free elections by the Palestinian Authority, with the caveat that the US will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state as long as Yassar Arafat is leader. While this subject was definitely discussed among G8, no country pledged full support for Bush's plan. Indeed, the common response was that there was support for free elections but it would be for the Palestinians to decide who their leader would be. While some countries, like the United Kingdom, acknowledged the need for new leadership, no state went as far as the US to say that it would cut off aid to the Palestinians if Yassar Arafat remained in power.
The other area of failure was the issue of expanding the war on terrorism to Iraq. While the United States has continually stated the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power, there has been a lack of international support for US action against Iraq at this point. The G8 seemed like a natural venue to shore up support for this integral component in the war against terrorism. Despite this, according to Prime Minister Jean Chretien, the issue of Iraq was not even discussed.
Objective 2: Strengthening the US Economy
As a major economic forum, the US has always pushed its economic interests at the annual G7/8 Summit. This year, the US went in with contradictory objectives of supporting further trade liberalization while maintaining protectionist measures for key US industries.
While the economy was given less attention than the other two issues at the Summit, the division between liberalization and protectionism was the subject of significant discussion. In terms of protectionism, the US pre-Summit position was compromised by the G8 agreement in the Chair's Statement to "resist protectionist pressures" and to "work with developing countries to ensure the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda by January, 2005".
Although the economy was discussed the first day, protectionism reappeared on the agenda on the second day since the reduction of agricultural subsidies within the G8 countries was identified as a potential source of assistance to African development. While the European countries and Canada supported phasing out these subsidies, the United States, prior to the Summit, refused to compromise on this issue. Despite the fact that no agreement was anticipated, the US, once again compromised on its position to allow the following statement in the G8 Africa Action Plan,
"Without prejudging the outcome of negotiations, applying our Doha commitment to comprehensive negotiations on agriculture aimed at substantial improvements in market access, reductions of all forms of export subsidies with a view to their being phased out, and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support"
While it is unclear, at this point, whether the US intends on complying to this commitment, it still signals a moderate slight to the US pre-Summit economic agenda.
Despite these compromises, the Bush Administration did make noteworthy efforts to restore confidence in the US economy in light of the Worldcom scandal that broke just prior to the Summit. Unlike the Enron scandal, Bush promised immediate action. In his press conference with Prime Minister Blair on June 26, 2002, Bush stated that,
"We will fully investigate and hold people accountable for misleading not only shareholders, but employees, as well. There is a need for a renewed corporate responsibility in America. Those entrusted with shareholders' money must -- must -- strive for the highest of high standards."
This resolve to address the broader issue of corporate responsibility no doubt went a long way to reassure the other G8 Leaders about the future strength of US economy.
Objective 3: Africa
Over the past year, the Bush Administration has outlined five key priorities of the US in Africa: trade and investment, good governance, HIV/AIDS, the environment and conflict resolution. At the Kananaskis Summit, the US was able to secure its objectives in all but one area: the environment.
In terms of trade and investment, the G8 agreed, through G8 Africa Action Plan, to support African efforts to attract investments and implement pro-economic growth policies. These efforts include capacity building, supporting African efforts for regional economic integration and promoting the broader WTO Doha Development Agenda in order to enhance market access for African countries and increase South-North trade flows.
On the issue of good governance, US objectives were secured through the G8 endorsement of the NEPAD priority areas for political governance. To this end, the G8 stated their support for the need for strengthening democratic institutions like the judiciary as well as promoting free elections and free press.
In regards to health issues, the US priority for HIV/AIDS was secured in the significant attention allocated to this disease within the G8 African Action Plan. In the "Improving Health and Confronting HIV/AIDS", the G8 pledged its support for African efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, in a variety of programs to support those infected, to increase awareness, in order to promote prevention.
While the US has pushed the issue of the environment in Africa over the past year, the subject was not significantly addressed in the G8 Africa Action Plan, other than passing references to sustainable development and improving water resource management. This does signify an area of questionable achievement given the priorities of the Bush Administration in Africa.
In terms of conflict prevention, the US also fulfilled its objectives through the G8 support for conflict resolution and prevention in the G8 Africa Action Plan. To this end, the G8 committed to a number of new initiatives like renewed peace efforts, training African peace support forces, developing common guidelines to prevent the trade of illicit weapons, and to support UN efforts to stop the illegal trade of natural resources to fuel conflict.
In addition to the overall five priorities, the US obtained a clear endorsement of its development policies in discussions on financing. In addition to securing flexibility to allocate less than half of the development assistance to Africa, they also obtained the condition that funds be allocated to countries that "govern justly, invest in their people, and encourage economic freedom". This quote, which appeared in the G8 Chair's Statement, is a direct reiteration of the US Millennium Action Account criteria introduced by President Bush on March 22, 2002.
While the US failed to secure commitments on certain objectives, the Bush Administration was, overall, quite successful at the 2002 G8 Summit. Through compromise, the US was able to secure G8 support for key foreign policy priorities. Indeed, in looking at three major initiatives of the Summit (the G8 Transport Security Agreement, the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, and the G8 Africa Action Plan), two out of three were of US origin. Moreover, in the third issue, the US was able to secure almost all of its particular priorities. This relative success cannot be solely explained by its position of power within the G8 and the international community. Indeed, these aggressive objectives could not have been fulfilled without skillful Summitry on the part of the Bush Administration. While it is unclear whether this will be repeated at the 2003 Summit, Kananaskis will no doubt be remembered as a Summit of significant success for the US.
Prepared by: Bryn Gray
University of Toronto G8 Research Group
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