The spirit of the Congress of Vienna, where great powers assembled to effectively govern the world, has no place in the contemporary international community. The G20 is sorely lacking in legitimacy and must change.
A number of countries that have been central to international cooperation in the past, including Norway and the Nordic countries, are excluded from direct membership. Low-income countries and the continent of Africa are almost entirely without the needed representation.
As the response to the financial crisis showed, there is value in having an effective, smaller forum of nations, equipped to act quickly when necessary. But, within that framework, there are simple ways to make the G20 more representative of the world it influences. (via The G20 lacks legitimacy).
It is every man for himself
Caught in a vicious downward spiral, Europe is at a loss. Britain is moaning about the demise of its special relationship with the USA. Sarkozy is off to the US, to mend fences with the Americans. At Copenhagen, while the BASIC countries were negotiating a ‘deal’ with the USA, European countries were sitting out. Waiting for the Big Boys to finish their talks. Japan, China, Korea – along with the USA and India are meeting at Seoul in June to create a strategic oil reserve, against possible supply shocks. To be shuttered out like this, is an unfamiliar experience to Europe.
The Norwegian appeal for inclusion in G20 is to be seen in light of the above reality.
That man with a tan – Obama
Obama has been stressing that EU needs to get its act together and speak in a common voice. The days when 6-12 European countries walked onto centre-stage, are over, seemingly. And Norway is one such victim of the changed circumstances.
The Greek crisis is stressing the weak links between European States. A ‘suspected’ withdrawal by Germany from the EMU would devastate Europe – and EU. Should the EU collapse, the Nordic countries would be shut out from many global forum.
And it is this fear that fuels Norway’s plea for G20 membership!.
In the doghouse
But it was not Obama who put European principalities (Norway, ruled by a king, is too small to be called country) in the doghouse. It started when George Bush railroaded Europe into Iraq and Afghanistan. And excluded the habitual European attendees from G20 – like Norway.
“decided by a secretive five-strong committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament. All current members are former politicians drawn from Norway’s four biggest parties. It is chaired by Thorbjørn Jagland, a former Norwegian prime minister.”
It was noted that,
“Worldwide astonishment greeted the decision yesterday to give Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. The U.S. President has been in office for less than nine months, has yet to score a major foreign policy success. He had not even known he was among the record 205 nominations. The deadline for submitting candidates had come just 12 days after he entered the White House.”
At the airport, he was welcomed by the ”Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Kaci Kullmann Five, deputy chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.” In his acceptance speech, Obama admitted that maybe there were “more deserving” candidates. Was the Nobel price in anticipation of a Nordic inclusion in G20? For turning a more benign American eye towards Europe?
Norway raised its claim for G20 membership, the Financial Times wrote
a month before Barack Obama, the US president, visits Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Jonas Gahr Store proposed that members of the Nordic Council – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland – could share a rotating seat together with the Baltic states and possibly Poland.
Spain and the Netherlands have managed to secure invitations to all three summits since the financial crisis without being official members. But others such as Poland, Belgium and the Nordic countries have been excluded.
So much for Norway’s Nobel price.
The legitimacy of G20
Jonas Gahr Støre is stressing about the ‘legitimacy’ of the G20 group. If the G20 is indeed illegitimate, then in that case, Shri Støre, you should ask for disbanding the G20! Not make a desperate plea for inclusion into the G20. Will an illegitimate forum become legitimate by Nordic Norway’s inclusion?
That reminds me. Norway was one of the ‘moving’ spirits’ behind the Copenhagen Circus on climate change. This Copenhagen Circus sought to impose a rule of Western NGOs on poor countries of the world. Faceless NGOs, without accountability to anyone, were able to bring global political leadership, to the very brink of an agreement. How legitimate was that Shri Støre?
Støre’s logic somehow escapes me.
Norway- One Great Power
Shri Støre invokes the hoary spirit of the “Congress of Vienna, where great powers assembled to effectively govern the world” . Now, by what logic do ‘Great Powers’ derive legitimacy to govern the world? By Norway’s inclusion?
Shri Jonas Gahr Støre has sent out copies of the same PR material, to Malaysia (published in the New Straits Times), in Canada (published in the Ottawa Citizen), and in the (as per the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway) in The Straits Times (Manila, the Philippines), 6 April 2010 – Al Hayat, 7 April 2010.
God has been kind to Norway! Instead of thanking God for His kindness, for underground wealth – and for natural beauty above the ground. Instead, Norway wants to be ‘recognized’ as a ‘Great Power’!
Norway’s claim to fame is oil. Some 12%-15% of Norway’s GDP is oil. A significant part of Norway’s wealth is “raw products mined and processed in Norway include iron ore, lead concentrates, titanium, iron pyrites, coal, zinc, and copper.” Is Norway’s claim to be a ‘Great Power” based on something buried underground!
15% of Norway’s GDP is Tourism! With more than 1,1oo hotels and nearly 1,000 registered campsites, with picturesque coastline and fjords plus a number of well-known ski resorts. By the way, Norway’s population is about 45 lakhs – 4.5 million.
Manufacturing accounts for an awesome, jaw-dropping 1 percent of Norway’s annual GDP.
The world must listen to
Norway’s population is lesser than Haiti! If there is one country that the world needs to hear clearly and audibly, it is Haiti. Compared to Norway, Haiti has a far superior claim to be a Great Power. Single-handedly responsible for forcing the West to abandon slavery, Haiti has been a victim of Western vindictiveness. It is time that the world listened to Haiti. And for Norway to keep quiet!
And be grateful to God!