July 19, 2024
These global confabs accomplish absolutely nothing except PR
Whatever is accomplished 'at' a summit is actually done ahead of time through private bargaining. Then you create a spectacle to maximize the PR benefit.
Whatever is accomplished ‘at’ a summit is actually done ahead of time through private bargaining. Then you create a spectacle to maximize the PR benefit.

Thank goodness the G7 Summit is over. Mission accomplished, our leaders can get back to what they normally do. Oh wait. There was no mission to accomplish. And posturing is what they normally do.

They periodically gather for a board meeting of Decency International, agree that they are great, murmur lofty aspirations over sumptuous food, get photographed looking oh-so-pleased with themselves and come home. And it’s hard to shake off the drowsiness long enough to ask “What was that actually about? What major problem required them to meet, and what did they do about it?”

Most politicians do not wish to emulate Richard Nixon let alone be seen as emulating him. But he made summits popular, after Chamberlain left rather a stain on their image, by suddenly popping up with Brezhnev or Mao looking unexpectedly chummy and solving previously intractable issues through the magic of personal interaction.

Or so it seemed. But “the magic of personal interaction” with Nixon and Brezhnev in a room ought immediately to arouse suspicion. And Nixon, as intelligent and articulate on his good days as devious and squalid on his bad ones, explained in his memoirs and other writings that summits are pure theatre.

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