After Obama’s call for “.. a new era of engagement based on mutual interests and mutual respect ..”, and his insistence that “.. work must begin now”, one would expect world leaders to seriously involve themselves in concrete actions at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. Thus far, the foremost outcome of the meet is the concession of exclusive powers from G-8 to G-20 to resolve the international economic issues.
I have analysed the final declaration of intentions. Aside from a lack of specific rules, I’m afraid that world leaders have failed to establish a strategic order of priorities in the 31-point document. Stating so optimistically that what has so far been done “has worked” is a rather hasty conclusion.
The economic recovery process, thus far, has a long way to go. From dumping huge amounts into the banking & financial entities to save the system, the governments must return to balanced budgets and inflation adjustments, each state applying specific measure in an unevenly distributed crisis.
President Obama spoke at the UN General Assembly of four pillars as fundamental for the world’s future – non-proliferation & disarmament, the promotion of peace & security, the preservation of our planet and a global economy that advances opportunity for all people. Other world leaders agreed while some remained silent. Still others dared question his posture.
In the very same week, the first three of such pillars were exposed to be dynamited by an issue which ended up stealing the headlines at the summit that had worked on the strengthening of the fourth pillar – “global economy that advances opportunity for all people”.
Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not only delivered a tirade of religious nonsense at the UN assembly but also an offensive speech that questions the average intelligence of Mankind. In his own right as Iran’s President to preach out his restricted views, Ahmadinejad launched a challenge to world leaders as a clear provocation of what was to come after. Naively picking up the glove, Israeli Prime Minister Nethanyahou availed of his turn to accuse the assisting assembly of ‘lack of decency’ for having politely withstood his adversary’s tirade without abandoning the hemicycle.
Referring to these speeches is necessary in order to comprehend how Iran stole the show at the Pittsburgh summit. The joint press conference – Obama, Brown & Sarkozy – versed on Iran’s new provocation in the nuclear front. It is evident that the Middle East is the centre of all tensions, a permanent time bomb at the base of Obama’s four pillars. I missed seeing the other two leaders – Medvedev & Hu Jintao – with veto rights at the UN Security Council in said press conference. This is a clear sign that Obama’s wink to Russia has only gone halfway through and China’s approval must wait till after the November bilateral meeting during Obama’s state visit.
Meanwhile this tense situation prevails, scarcely any of the well intended resolutions at the G-20 Pittsburgh summit are worth the paper they are printed on.
There will not only be hard times for placement of 50 M new unemployed all over the world but further risks of armed conflicts East and West of Afghanistan. Whilst the best result of this summit is the decision to grant the G-20 first choice to lead the world in its growth and development, the lack of a convinced single voice to support Obama’s four pillars may well be a wrong point of crossing of the Rubicon at the wrong time.
After all the words at the General Assembly and debates at the G-20 meet, the Pittsburgh assistants have gained a little and lost a lot. They may have missed the best opportunity to show the world how united and decided they are to solve crucial world politics.
The world now faces a new Waterloo.