Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner, the former deputy foreign editor of the Washington Post, discusses what really came out of the G-20 meeting (besides the $1.1 trillion pledged), including Fidel Castro’s positive outlook on U.S.-China relations.
You’d be hard-pressed to figure out — in terms of old-fashioned greenbacks — what exactly came out of the G-20 meeting in London this week. But perhaps warm, fuzzy feelings are all we need.
The stock markets were sharply up at the end of the week, so maybe appearances — and promises — are reality.
Does anybody really know how much money is needed to attack the world recession, and how much of the money pledged by G-20 nations was already en route?
The consensus is that the G-20 leaders pledged $1.1 trillion in total funds. But President Obama said, “Nearly all G-20 nations have acted to stimulate demand, which will total well over $2 trillion in global fiscal expansion.”
And meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also indicated that there’s an escalation clause somewhere, and that the stimulus based on the G-20 agreement will add up to $5 trillion by the end of next year.
No matter the fine print, it sounded good to many.
Jeremy Warner, writing Friday in The Independent, said that “it’s easy to be cynical, but the summit has also achieved something genuinely impressive…For the first time in a long time, there’s reason for optimism.”
Nobel Prize winning economist and columnist Paul Krugman, who has criticized the Obama administration for not pumping enough into the stimulus, is still pessimistic, but wrote that he saw “glimmers of good news — the G-20 summit accomplished more than I thought it would.”
He was writing about that in the context of concern about the Chinese government, which he says “hasn’t yet faced up to the wrenching changes that will be needed to deal with this global crisis.”
And speaking about China, that late entry in the news analysis game, Fidel Castro, also had an optimistic take on the G-20 Summit.
“The experts on economic issues have made a tremendous effort,” Castro wrote on Friday in his occasional column, “Reflections of Fidel,” in Granma, the official Cuban government newspaper.
Castro singled out special praise for Obama and for Chinese President Hu Jintao, who plan to meet soon to discuss a broad range of issues. That he said, may be “one of the most important news items in relation to the G-20 Summit.”
– Peter Eisner