G8 and NATO Summits: Key Issues and Topics

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NATO LogoBy Ryann Rumbaugh
The Red Line Project
@RedLineProject

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012

Journalists from all over the Midwest gathered at DePaul University’s College of Communication March 19-21 for the Poynter and McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute.

The issue at hand: covering globalization issues at the NATO and G8 summits on a local level.

The main interest of journalists at the reporting institute was to become more educated on issues that were to be debated in order to effectively report about the summits.

Experts from various fields of study gave journalists a crash course on predicted issues to be covered at the NATO and G8 summits.

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What You Need to Know About NATO

Dick Longworth, a former foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and United Press International, delivered the keynote address and gave brief histories of G8 and NATO. Longworth is now with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

  • NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  • It started in 1949 as a defense alliance to protect Western Europe from Russia.
  • It is the only treaty link between the United States and Europe.
  • Currently, 28 nations belong to NATO, with the newest countries being Albania and Croatia.
  • Article 5 of NATO states “an attack on one is an attack on all”.  The first time Article 5 was invoked was on September 12, 2001, the day after the 9/11 attacks.
  • Leaders of NATO countries will meet May 20-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago to evaluate alliance strategies and discuss key issues.

What You Need to Know About G8

  • G8 stands for The Group of Eight.
  • It started in 1975 as the G6, which included France, Japan, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Canada was added in 1976, changing the name to G7.
  • Russia was added in 1997, completing The Group of Eight.
  • The G8 nations make up about half of the world's economy.
  • Leaders of G8 nations will meet May 18-19 at Camp David to address the global economy, as well as political and security issues.
There’s no question that hosting the summit in Chicago will be a historical event for the city. The question that many Chicagoans are asking is: Why should we care about the actual debate?

At the reporting institute, experts from many different fields shared insight on what they thought would be the key issues debated at the NATO summit  – and how these issues directly affect Chicago and the Midwest.

Key Issues During the NATO Summit:

  • Iran and nuclear weapons: Will NATO countries band together to help?
  • NATO’s role in the United States pulling out of Afghanistan
  • Will Russia's Vladimir Putin attend the summit?
  • Will China continue to grow? Will there be a military intervention?
G8: What You Need to Know About Immigration

Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA, discussed the impact of immigration on the Midwest’s economy and job market.  Her presentation’s theme was “Immigration 101”.

Tamar Jacoby, Photo by Mike Reilley

Tamar Jacoby of ImmigrationWorks USA speaks to journalists about immigration issues.
(Photo by Mike Reilley)

Jacoby’s key facts regarding immigration:

  • 16 percent of people in the United States are foreign-born.
  • 10 percent of the Mexican population is working in the United States.
  • 25 percent of doctors in America are foreign-born.
  • Social Security gains $7 billion each year from undocumented workers.
  • In 1960, half of all US foreign men in the labor force were high school dropouts.  Today, that number is down to less than 10 percent.
  • 95 percnet of Mexican immigrant men participate in the labor force.
  • In 2005, about 1.5 million low and high-skilled immigrants came to the United States to work. The US gave out about a million visas.

Jacoby’s main argument was that the United States needs to be more open to reforming immigration laws in order to improve our economy.  She said that discussing these issues and comparing laws with other countries at the NATO summit is important for the United States.

One of Jacoby's claims was that immigrants aren’t stealing our jobs, they’re creating jobs.  The overwhelming majority of people come to the United States to work.  Americans are losing jobs because of technological change and foreign competition.  Jobs that were once based on skill have become assembly line jobs.

Despite the popular belief, legal immigrants have a very hard time obtaining welfare, while illegal immigrants have no chance at all. 

NATO: What You Need to Know About National Security

Another key issue for the United States and other countries is national security. Michael Desch, professor and director of the International Security Program at the University of Notre Dame, spoke on NATO’s role in global security.

Michael Desch, Photo by Ryann RumbaughMichael Desch of Notre Dame speaks to journalists about national security
issues to be discussed at the NATO summit.
 (Photo by Ryann Rumbaugh)

Desch’s key issues regarding national security and local politics:

  • Terrorism is a global phenomenon: there are terrorist targets in the United States outside of New York and Washington, DC.
  • Defense spending and the costs of war affect the general health of our economy.
  • US defense spending cuts will grow over the next 10 years, and there’s no way of getting around it.
  • Our activist foreign policy is bankrupt at this point because of budget problems and war-weariness.
  • The markets fear the possibility of Israel attacking Iran, which is why gas prices are spiking early.
  • NATO connects the US to Turkey, the most powerful moderating force in the contemporary Middle East.
  • Turkey is a counterweight to Iran, is steering Iraq in a moderate direction, and also demonstrates that Islam and democracy are compatible.
  • The Obama Administration let NATO take the lead with Libya because it made strategic and moral sense.
  • NATO will become increasingly important to the United States in future years.

According to Rick Mattoon of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, hosting the NATO summit in Chicago is especially important to re-establish the city's image after the loss of the Olympic bid.

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