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'The Greening of the Summit'

July 30, 1989

The summit meeting of industrialized nations is now history--if that isn't too dignified a word for it. About all it accomplished was to keep the visiting participants out of mischief in their home countries, but now they must return to their scandals, deficits and broken promises. The strained harmony of the formal sessions did not quite hide the sound of trade knives being sharpened under the table, and the after-hours schoolyard squabbling was ludicrous.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher chided the French because Napoleon once tried to unify Europe by force--she didn't mention what the British were doing in India at that time. Nor did she address her own government's shabby treatment of the residents of Hong Kong and the Vietnamese boat people. France's President Francois Mitterrand loftily dismissed the idea of inviting Mikhail Gorbachev to the next summit because the Soviet Union is no democracy--that criterion would also disqualify much of the French neocolonial sphere of influence. Bush predictably prattled about the virtues of free trade, ignoring the increase in U.S. non-tariff barriers during the Reagan-Bush administrations, and the "socialism for the rich" bailout of the savings and loans. Prime Minister Sosuke Uno of Japan wisely held his peace; he was only there because in the party of the larcenous the merely lecherous gets to be the chief.

Oddly, everyone was astonished at Gorbachev's apparent willingness for the West to take over his non-performing assets in Eastern Europe, now that Russia has milked it dry. Why not? The Warsaw Pact has been an empty shell for years.

The summit fizzled like a damp squib, but the bicentennial fireworks display was marvelous. Marie Antoinette would have loved it.

GILBERT DEWART

Pasadena

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