Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Through The Looking Glass

In case you missed the news coming from the G20 meeting being held in Mexico over the past few days, President Obama and Europe's leaders both seemed to be looking at each other's problems and wincing, glad they were not in the other guy's shoes.

If you only pay attention to American media, we can see how you might have missed any news coming from the G20. From the meeting between President Obama and Russia's President Putin, to discussions about what to do about Syria, to the economic decisions that will likely influence nearly everyone on the planet, the G20 is quite obviously not the place for the kinds of amateur political stunts that lead the headlines in much of American political media.

That seriousness was very clear from the address and press conference President Obama gave last night, to U.S. and foreign media organizations, at the end of the G20 meetings.

Unfortunately, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's recent attempt to impose internal American politics on the Eurozone - specifically upon Germany - raised its ugly head, during the President's presser.

Much of the U.S. media either missed or purposely ignored the recent op-ed in the German business journal "Handelsblatt", written by one of Mr. Romney's top economic advisors, Glenn Hubbard. Hubbard's piece followed the vague line of Romney's own current economic plans, advising the Germans to increase austerity while ignoring investment - which is exactly the opposite of what Europe needs to do.

For those who understand that certain protocols involving international politics have been created for a reason, the blatant attempt by Mr. Romney to influence the economic policy of a foreign nation - in order to influence our own American elections - is just plain rude.

President Obama and the White House, as they handled other recent significant violations of respect and decorum, treated the op-ed published in the German business journal from the Romney camp with an amazing amount of class and respect. The White House barely uttered a word about the Romney camp's overreach, simply allowing Mitt Romney and his advisors to appear to be small and craven.

That continued on Tuesday evening at the President's press conference when he was asked again about the German op-ed piece.

President Obama deferred criticism of Mr. Romney and his advisors' op-ed back to the Romney campaign, and reminded the media that America has, "one president at a time and one administration at a time. And I think traditionally, the notion has been that America’s political differences end at the water’s edge.”

The President went one step further, reminding the gathered media that Romney's advisor, "may not be familiar with what our suggestions to the Germans have been" - which made both Romney and his advisor look like simple meddlers.

The fact is, France - one of the two most powerful economic forces in the Eurozone - has a new left-leaning government, one that has no plans to continue with the failed austerity plans that Mr. Romney and his advisors were pushing.

As the news from the G20 made clear, the leaders of Europe have begun to move towards the Keynesian economic ideas of President Obama, and France's new President Hollande, including significant internal investment. Europe's leaders also made it clear the previously non-integrated nature of the Eurozone will be changing rapidly, a reform President Obama and others have been urging for some time.

In short, the latest G20 meetings may have been one of the few gatherings of world leaders we've seen that actually seemed to accomplish a great deal in a short period of time.

We just hope all the G20 leaders follow through on their plans, speedily, or we'll all be poor examples for world leadership.

Very poor examples indeed.

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