Walter Russell Mead: Pointless G-20 Summit Unfolds In Toronto

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first task for anybody these days who wants to follow world news in an intelligent way is to figure out what to ignore. All over the world, commissions are meeting, legislatures debating, leaders are making speeches, demonstrators are marching, sabers are rattling and so on. Nobody can follow it all or make sense of it all. So, from the standpoint of the generalist or the engaged citizen the question is how to achieve ‘intelligent ignorance’: how to figure out what you don’t need to follow so that you can focus like a laser on what really counts.

The approaching G-20 summit in Toronto is an excellent subject to ignore — a classic pseudo-event that will be breathlessly and minutely covered by the ’serious’ press at which much will be said and little done. Over the last two weeks I myself have saved great swathes of time by skimming lightly across rather than delving deeply into such subjects as whether the United States and Germany will engage in a catfight over fiscal stimulus and whether China’s decision to loosen its control over its currency will reduce the pressure on China at the G-20. It is as close to certain as anything can be that nothing will take place at the G-20 that changes German or American fiscal plans or in any way shape or form affect China’s currency policy in any substantive way. There is no point whatever in covering these subjects, and just because journalists are stupid and lazy enough to write these pieces and editors are misguided enough to run them is no reason why you, dear reader, should waste your precious time reading them. Indeed, to the extent that you allow yourself to be deceived into the belief that what is happening in Toronto is an event rather than a pageant you will actually be degrading your ability to follow world affairs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada

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Posted June 26, 2010 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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