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DEAUVILLE, France (Reuters) - The latest Group of Eight summit was "historic," the moment for the great powers to rally their wealth and arms behind the Arab people and staunch a gap in the spread of "Western" values across the world.

Really? Or was it a pointless, costly absurdity, a vanity project for leaders of nations in decline, marginalized by the rise of Chinaand other big, industrializing nations, for whom the forum founded in the 1970s is a neo-colonial throwback?

Some answers in that debate should emerge in the coming year when France, proud host of a summit in Deauville, hands the...

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