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PARIS — G8, G-5, G20, G-2, G3, and now the G-14 (Group of Eight plus the Group of Five plus Egypt): Never have the “mathematics” of world order seemed more complex and confusing.

Kofi Annan, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations in 2005, attempted to adjust the multilateral institutions of our world to fit its new realities. It was a brave effort that came too soon. The industrial world was not yet ready to recognize the new weight of the emerging powers and the need to strike a new balance between North and South, East and West.

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