Mirtchev, A. (2013, June 19). The post-G8 Outcomes: Overarching Statement with Limited Policy Output Due to Divergent Visions of Post-Crisis Recovery Strategies. CNBC
Following the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland, Dr. Alexander Mirtchev, Board Director of the Atlantic Council of the United States, shared his reaction to its outcomes on CNBC. The meeting at Enniskillen expressed an overarching policy position by the G8, but was accompanied by a relatively modest immediate policy output. Although this is often the nature of such summits, achieving tangible outcomes was not helped by the diverse issues requiring urgent response – the conflict in Syria, trade, tax avoidance, corporate transparency, as well as other concerns such as tackling poverty, fighting terrorism and maintaining the still fragile economic recovery. Achieving consensus was further undermined by the persistent differences in economic security strategies espoused by various G8 countries. Some actors maintain their support for austerity and a return to fiscal discipline, while others insist on stimulating the economy despite already strained government budgets. Predictably, the outcome was a G8 communiqué sparse on detailed growth measures, evidence that states’ immediate focus is rather on finding new ways to fill depleted government coffers. The measures that held a level of specificity – such as addressing tax avoidance and optimizing global trade terms between the U.S. and the EU through a free trade agreement – are yet to pass the test of conflicting perceptions of vital interest between the traditional rule-setters and the emerging powers, in particular China. This lack of consensus was exacerbated by the immediate pressure to reconcile G8 members’ diverging strategic interests where the conflict in Syria is concerned. The lack of mutually satisfactory solution to the conflict is not surprising, but it sounds the death-knell of the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement that essentially determined the shape of the political geography of the Middle East today. The dismantling of this century-long framework will result in disequilibrium of geopolitical relations in the region, leading to further global political volatility and economic instability.