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The Significance of the Seven-Power Summit

John Kirton

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Since its inception in 1975, the annual summit of the leaders of the world's major industrial democracies and the European Community has come to occupy center stage in the continuing struggle to create order out of anarchy in the world's economic and political life. From its fragile beginnings as an ad hoc response to the international chaos of the early 1970s, this regular gathering of heads of state and government, foreign ministers, and finance ministers has rapidly grown to become one of the more developed and effective institutions in world affairs. Indeed, with its unrivaled combination of predominant power and common purpose, the summit and its allied institutions are slowly supplementing, and in some respects replacing, the much more venerable, more familiar, and better documented multilateral organizations of the United Nations [UN] and Atlantic Alliance systems as the leading force in contemporary international governance. For students of international relations, and of the domestic polities and economies of the many countries of the North, South and even East where the summit's impact extends, the development of a richer understanding of the summit's deliberations and decisions is a vital intellectual task.[1]

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