As usual, the G-20 Summit ended with the adoption of a long paper that contains the usual platitudes, but for the first time there were concrete measures for combating the global financial crisis. The participants at the summit agreed in principle to raise $1.1 trillion to help save humanity from the crisis. This included a $500 billion fund for the IMF to lend to struggling economies, $250 billion to boost world trade, $250 billion for a new IMF overdraft facility that countries can use and $100 billion that international development banks can lend to the poorest countries. Now how these poorest countries will pay back their loans is another question since their capabilities for development are limited. The positive thing is that stock markets started going up globally after the decisions were announced, which of course does not change in the short term the plight of the millions of humans who are unemployed. Still these measures are better than nothing and could have been adopted earlier. We hope that they are implemented before the countries that will give the money default.
Immediately afterward, NATO celebrated its 60th anniversary summit. A declaration on alliance security was adopted with the usual wishful thinking. The Summit did, however, elect a new secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former prime minister of Denmark, in spite of Turkey's initial hesitations to agree to his candidacy. NATO also accepted Albania and Croatia as new members. On Russia, the declaration stated, "We stand ready to work with Russia to address the common challenges we face." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a speech in Brussels said: "NATO is not just threatening Russia. Its new security agenda includes more and more scenarios where force could be used, not necessarily with the sanction of the U.N. We just don't understand why NATO is expanding. We don't understand why this military infrastructure is being moved to our borders." Very good questions that NATO refuses to address. As for the 60-year-old history of NATO, nobody mentions NATO's dismal human rights history during its first 30 years. Portugal joined NATO as a dictatorship, NATO supported the dictatorship in Greece, and the various military coups in Turkey. So we still ponder why it was not dismantled after the Warsaw Pact was.
Margins of the forum
So after that summit we had the Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations that was held here in Istanbul. More things happened on the margins of the forum rather than in the forum. Turkey got its revenge by the fall of the new NATO secretary-general that resulted in a dislocated shoulder. Obama popped in for a small reception and consulted with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Turkey. The president of Azerbaijan canceled his participation in the forum to protest the rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia. The discussions that took place within the forum were interesting, and ideas were exchanged on how to bridge the gaps existing between humanity. How many of these ideas will be implemented is another question. Anyhow, more traveling opportunities are opening for the participants as the third forum will take place next year in Brazil. Hopefully by then, the gaps will have become smaller.
Ponder our thoughts, dear humans, for your benefit.