Despite Obama’s rhetoric, the G20 should mark a shift towards smaller trade deals, and the inevitable rise of national self-interest.
Before anyone has done anything much more than gorge on the Opening Banquet, it seems at last to have dawned on the G20 delegates that hard-pressed citizens around the world don’t reckon much to summitry that never actually gets anything done, as such. The buzz around Toronto yesterday was that nobody has captured that mood better than the UK’s David Cameron. He managed to collar Obama early on and, over a beer, get his approval for smaller, bilateral trade deals.
In private, Cameron thinks the G20 system is a supertanker turning in circles, and I understand that Obama’s staff have begun to suggest that the Big Beano treadmill is getting out of hand. Whether Barack will listen – he seems very keen on pronouncements and travel – is another matter, but Obama’s schedule looks like this:
On June 25, he was at the summit meeting of the G8 leaders in Ontario.
He’s now together with eight presidents and prime ministers, together with swathes of finance ministers and central bankers at the G20 summit in Toronto.
Later on this year, Obama heads for the North American Leaders Summit in Canada.
The summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Vietnam beckons in October.
There’s another G20 summit meeting in South Korea in November.
The summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) comes next, in Japan.
Then the NATO defence summit in Portugal.
And the climate-change summit in Mexico.
Such behaviour is prime copy for The Slog, because it is so obviously bollocks from start to finish…but an excellent way for an incompetent President to present a moving target. Look if you will at the first press release after yesterday’s ‘talks’. To some extent, it does actually begin uninventing the summit system by observing that G-men and women will….
‘…continue to resist protectionist pressures and promote liberalisation of trade and investment under the WTO through the national reduction of barriers as well as through bilateral and regional negotiations…”
…and presumably also look at bilateral protectionist trade liberalisation within and between regionally reduced or raised barriers, depending on what happens next. Complete and utter bollocks.
If only somebody in a senior position would draw the obvious conclusion from this: globalism is a daft and dysfunctional idea that exacerbates conflict and leads inexorably to falling economic dominoes.