Last week’s G-20 economic summit in South Korea was widely depicted as a failure for the Obama administration and a rebuff for the United States. In many respects, it was. Obama remarked that if the U.S. hadn’t tried to set the agenda, it would have had an easier time. “Part of the reason that sometimes it seems that the United States is attracting some dissent is because we’re initiating ideas,” he said. “We’re putting them forward. The easiest thing for us to do would be to take a passive role and let things just drift which wouldn’t cause any conflict.”Read More
With the leaders of the world gathering for two days of economic points and counterpoints under the aegis of the G-20, Seoul has become the scene of a showdown between a testy set of European and Asian powers and a rather flummoxed and flat-footed America represented by President Obama in all his post-Nov. 2 glory and malaise.Read More
A hundred years ago, London would have made sense as the spot where the world's leaders should gather, as they will this week, to grapple with a spreading economic crisis. The city was the early 20th century's nexus of finance and power, and Britain straddled the globe as the only true superpower. But we're in the 21st century now, and the G20 heads of state should not be plotting in the shadow of Big Ben. They should be sitting across from Mao's Tomb, near the Forbidden City, in the meeting halls off Tiananmen Square in Beijing.Read More
So the G20 met over the weekend, and if there was any doubt before, there should be none now: the financial balance of power is shifting. China, Brazil, even Japan can all claim more sound economies than the United States, and they collectively let it be known that they would no longer take marching orders from the Washington consensus. They expect a voice, and they are not asking permission.
The incoming Obama administration will face formidable challenges, but global economic collapse is no longer imminent. That may be small short-term comfort to the markets and Main Street. But having stared down the abyss, governments around the world appear determined to address root issues. The G-20 gathering of the world's major powers in Washington on Nov. 15 was only the beginning of a long and constructive process of revising the global system.Read More