Cato Experts Available for G8 Summit Interviews

July 14, 2006

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The annual G8 Summit will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia starting Saturday, July 15th.  Leaders from the world’s most prosperous countries and Russia will discuss pressing issues, including aid to Africa, energy, and global security. The summit meeting also comes at a time of rising tension between Washington and Moscow.  Cato Policy experts international and economic development, energy, trade, and foreign policy are available for comment on this weekend’s summit.

ENERGY

Jerry Taylor, Senior Fellow:

“The political conversation surrounding energy security at the G8 is almost entirely incoherent.  For instance:

  •  Reliance on international trade to secure energy resources is associated with insecurity, yet producers would be harmed by disruptions to the oil trade more than would consumers.  Accordingly, well-functioning international energy markets are more important to producers than consumers, yet it is the latter that worry and the former who don’t.
  • Self-reliance is associated with security, but without trade, any disruption of domestic production would have far greater consequences than if supplies were more diversified.  Self-reliance is thus more “insecure” than reliance on imports from multiple sources. 
  • Oil consumption is associated with war and oppression abroad, but there appears to be little relationship between the wars and oppression associated with producer states and oil prices.  In short, our ‘addiction to oil’ probably has little to do with the war on terror or the struggle to introduce civil society abroad.

Unfortunately, there is little discussion about what ‘energy security’ is actually supposed to mean and no discussion about whether governments need to provide it or whether consumers can secure it themselves through contract.  Politicians have long manifested a deep and fundamental misunderstanding about how global energy markets actually work, so it would be surprising if anything constructive on this front comes out of the G8 summit.”

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS AND DEVELOPMENT

Ian Vasquez, Director of the Project on Global Economic Liberty:

“The utility of G8 summits, and of the G8 itself, is becoming less and less clear. With Russia as a member, no longer can the group be considered a club of industrialized democracies that share common values. If instead the G8 is becoming a club of major powers or large economies, it is not obvious why some countries are missing. Nor is it clear why the G8 as a formal group is a better forum to address international and regional concerns than other bodies such as the WTO, the EU or ad hoc groupings of governments directly affected by particular issues.

Even when G8 members do agree on a particular goal — as in last year’s dubious objective to increase aid to Africa — the group is not especially effective.”

TRADE POLICY

Daniel Griswold, Director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies:

“President Bush and the other G8 leaders need to flex their leadership muscles at the upcoming summit to break the deadlock in the Doha Round of global trade talks. The most important advance they could make would be to reach consensus on deep cuts in their own agricultural subsidies and tariffs.

An ambitious agreement in the World Trade Organization would be a trifecta for the United States and the other G8 members. It would relieve the G8 governments and their citizens of the high cost of maintaining their farm programs. It would encourage developing countries to open their own markets to our exports. And it would create a more hospitable world by reducing global poverty.”

Sallie James, Trade Policy Analyst:

Daniel J. Ikenson, Associate Director, Center for Trade Policy Studies:

FOREIGN POLICY

Christopher Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies:

“All of the nations participating in next week’s G-8 meeting have security interests at stake in the ongoing standoffs with Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs. At least three countries — Russia, Japan and the United States — are active on both issues. The G-8 members should resist the urge to escalate tensions with either Tehran or Pyongyang, and focus instead on multilateral approaches aimed at reducing the chances of military conflict. Loose or poorly secured nuclear, chemical and biological weapons pose a potentially grave security challenge, and the G-8 nations have the capacity — but not yet the will — to tackle this issue. The G-8 member nations committed in 2002 to give $20 billion over a ten-year period to aid in the disposal of Soviet-era WMDs, but this initiative has stalled. Russian cooperation, in particular, has not always been forthcoming. As Rensselaer Lee explains in recent Cato Policy Analysis a renewed emphasis in this area is needed given that these weapons, and the know-how required to develop and maintain them, could be a source of proliferation to non-state actors such as al Qaeda.”

Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Foreign Policy and Defense Studies:

Justin Logan, Foreign Policy Analyst: