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Political scientist and Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer says the G20 will never be able to achieve anything in a new op-ed in the Financial Times.He gives five reasons why the G20 is not and cannot be effective:
- 20 countries is “just too many.” Bremmer points out that even the U.N. Security Council, which is only comprised of five countries as members, has trouble coming to any sort of agreement most of the time.
- The politics of all these countries are too diverse. Not only are there too many countries involved, but also just too many different political philosophies. Bremmer notes that in the 1980s, all of the G7 members were “believers in free market democracy.” That is definitely no longer the case.
- The United States is creating a leadership void. Whereas the U.S. traditionally filled this role, domestic support for an increased U.S. presence on the international stage has cratered. This is causing the U.S. to pull back from that traditional role.
- The rest of the developed world has too many problems of its own. Europe is obviously not well suited to take up the mantle as an international leader, and Japan’s volatile political situation and economic woes will keep them on the sidelines as well.
- The developing world would also rather deal with its own issues. Bremmer says the BRICs and others “face far too many complex development problems at home to accept unnecessary responsibilities abroad.”
Bremmer has been critical of the G20 for a while. In a popular article co-authored with Nouriel Roubini in the March/April 2011 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine Bremmer described the international political climate as a “G-Zero world,” saying it was “one in which no single country or bloc of countries has the political and economic leverage — or the will — to drive a truly international agenda.”