The Summit Plummet
Sidewalk cafes, grazing cattle, vineyards and the friendly smiles of the locals greet you as you drive through winding roads that connect the towns and villages of Italy’s picturesque countryside. As a foreign traveler you can’t help but be attracted to this aged European nation rich in geographic beauty, history and culture.
One such pocket of paradise is the seaside city of Genoa, known for its medieval palaces, courtyards, ornate abbots and halls. Consider the Palazzo Ducale, the former seat of government of the Republic of Genova. The building was constructed in the 13th century in the heart of what is known now as the old city. The palace underwent reconstruction in the 16th, 17th and 20th centuries. Today, the palace is one of the largest modern cultural locations in Italy. It houses exhibition rooms, libraries, historical archives, bars and restaurants.
In late July of this year the Palazzo Ducale hosted the annual Group of Eight summit meeting. Far from being a political and cultural highlight, the summit saw the old city turned into a battleground and the palace a defended fortress. The Genoa summit revealed the deep divide between political ideologies and methods of global prosperity pursued by the world’s largest and most prosperous nations. It also reflected human nature run amok in man’s search for a better path to international utopia as we all asked the painful question, “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Chaos in Genoa
“A happy result of the Group of Eight meeting would be an end to Group of Eight meetings,” wrote William Pfaff of the International Herald Tribune July 26.
“Happier yet would be a serious reconsideration of the ideology of deregulation and free trade expansion, which drives globalism and inspires activists to wreck G-8 meetings.” Two days of unprecedented violent demonstrations drawing over 200,000 protesters turned the normally quaint seaside city into a fire-bombed battle zone. The protesters’ violent clashes with over 20,000 police resulted in one protester being shot dead, 231 injuries, 280 arrests and the Italian government being left with a damage bill of $20 billion.
Putting on a brave face, the leaders denounced the violence and defended their agenda and right to meet, trumpeting the benefits of free trade and their “unified” approach to the underprivileged. However, global satellite transmission of fire, tears and blood in the streets of Genoa overshadowed the meeting and left heads of state scrambling to save face and declare the summit a success. After disagreeing on all major topics slated for discussion, G-8 members grasped at the humanitarian card, focusing their attention on Africa’s age-old poverty crisis.
“By making the reduction of poverty a focal point, the G-8 hoped to build crucial support from the developing world, which comprises a majority of the 142-member World Trade Organization, for a new round of trade talks” (www.stratfor.com, July 27).
For the first time, the G-8 invited select African leaders to Genoa for discussions on how to diminish the scourge of poverty casting its dark shadow over the continent. Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair referred to the poverty talks as a “Marshall Plan for Africa.” The leaders did not come up with any substantial proposals for actually reducing poverty. In short, they simply agreed to name a special envoy to convene with African leaders in the formulation of a detailed poverty-busting plan that would be released at next year’s meeting in Alberta, Canada. Beyond debt relief and a pledged $1.3 billion dollars to fight disease, the plan apparently is to focus on democracy, good governance, the rule of law and human rights.
As leaders departed Genoa, they found themselves questioning the very structure and purpose of the annual meetings. Speaking at a news conference, Canada’s prime minister and host of next year’s summit in Alberta, Jean Chretien, said, “I think the format of the summit should be changed. [The current structure of the G-8 meetings] is too big and has grown too much, so that we are now debating about everything, with long, long communiques” (International Herald Tribune, July 23).
What began in 1975 as a small meeting to discuss meaningful progress on global challenges has turned into a major political shindig, with each member amassing ever larger delegations, averaging about 350 each. This year the United States’ delegation alone ballooned to 600!
In addition, the summits have become increasingly expensive for each host city. Last year Japan paid $766 million to organize the summit in Okinawa. This year Italy’s prime minister, media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, boasted of his government’s thriftiness in spending $110 million on organization and an additional $20 million to repair the damage caused by the rampaging protesters.
Mr. Pfaff perhaps wrapped up this year’s summit by aptly stating, “If everyone had stayed at home, including the reporters, think how much could have been given to the poor countries.”
This small band of self-proclaimed saviors of the world’s poor has come under scathing criticism over the subject of globalism. In political circles we are told today that globalism means progress, economic modernization and prosperity for all.
But globalism is clearly a double-edged sword. On one hand, it does encourage investment and the spread of industrial technology. On the other, it brings political and social upheaval and eventual ruin for local agriculture and industries that are non-competitive in the international market. The goal is to export to the greater global marketplace, make use of its large labor reservoir, take advantage of low wages and exploit foreign resources. Some see globalism as a reinvented form of British colonialism, enabling dominant players to spread their economic, social and cultural influence to the ends of the Earth.
“To be effective, a new dialogue requires wider participation and consensus than that of the eight industrialized nations. The developing world, with its natural and human resources, growing market potential and [World Trade Organization] voting privileges, is more powerful than its current economic output would suggest” (op. cit., www .stratfor.com).
The potential for growth by exploiting the resources of developing countries has not been lost on the European Union. As reported in last month’s Trumpet, it has outsmarted the other G-8 members by signing long-term agreements such as the 20-year Cotonou Agreement, penned this past June between 77 of the world’s least developed countries and the EU. “[I]t is inevitable that the leading industrial nations should be identical with the great powers, and a change in industrial rank, for better or for worse, should be accompanied or followed by a corresponding change in the hierarchy of power” (Politics Among Nations, p. 134).
Whether you realize it or not, there is a power shift going on within the world’s leading nations!
In addition, competitive animosity between G-8 nations is now increasing due to the global economic downturn, which the lead engines of growth—Europe, Japan and the United States—are all experiencing simultaneously for the first time since the end of the Second World War.
The European Union has become a political, economic and growing military behemoth with a population and economy that have overtaken those of the United States. As U.S. foreign policy turns more inward, the reality of its waning influence worldwide becomes clearer to Latin America, Asia and Africa, who now all recognize federal Europe as the world’s keynote speaker. As the U.S. has been retracting, Europe has been expanding (Deut. 28:44).
The EU is not just a political, economic and military phenomenon that has risen out of the ashes of World War ii. This powerful beast, as it is referred to in Bible prophecy, is an integral component of the very fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation for mankind!
As the final resurrection of the medieval Holy Roman Empire, the EU—led by a dominant, aspirant Germany—was prophesied to be religiously guided by the motherly Vatican State (Rev. 17:18). Other nations were prophesied to give their power and strength to this union (Rev. 17:13).
Changing Your Mind
“The heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). No matter how noble French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing’s motives were in establishing the Group of Eight summit meetings back in 1975, mere men cannot solve the problems faced by today’s world (Rom. 3:17).
Despite man’s ability to glean pictures from Mars, transplant hearts and develop amazing technological gadgetry, he is unfit and unqualified to get to the root causes of poverty, hatred, war, disease epidemics and moral depravity. Man’s very nature is surcharged, manipulated and influenced by the prince of the power of the air—the god of this world—Satan the devil.
This human nature is broadcast to us from birth. Conquering human nature is the only way to true, lasting, abundant global prosperity.
But man cannot conquer Satan’s nature and tune him out by his own power. He needs to access God’s mind, nature and character (Rom. 8:7-11).
The way is open to you to act now! Start today and take the necessary steps toward conquering this very nature within your mind. Take a stand with unbending resolve and determine to obey God and His law. Only when God’s very mind resides within you will you be on your way to conquering human nature. Act now. Time is running out. The decision is yours.