You might have thought that an emergency gathering of leaders from the world’s 20 main rich and emerging economies, with the global economy poised for its worst slump since the Great Depression, would have aroused some interest. The event was deemed unworthy of the main section of Saturday’s New York Times. (Room was found on the front page for a story about how hard it is to open the “clamshell” packaging of toys and electronic gadgets. The summit, “A crisis in finance”, made page 3 of the business section.) On television news, world leaders’ efforts to stave off disaster were displaced by speculation about Hillary Clinton’s next job and by fires in California (four firemen injured).(...) neither the new president nor the Congress will seriously contemplate anything that might be seen as a surrender of sovereignty to international bodies. Desirable though it may be in principle to create some kind of supranational financial regulator, for example, this is not going to happen. In the regulatory sphere, as with fiscal and monetary policy, US policymaking will remain national for the foreseeable future. Clive Crook - Financial TimesDavid Seaton's News Links
It is notable that two major centers of power issued statements on the geopolitical scene that were quite forthright. Both the European Union in a unanimous statement and President Lula of Brazil said they looked forward to renewing collaboration with the United States, but this time as equals, not as junior partners. (...) Can Obama accept the fact that the United States is no longer the world's leader, merely a partner with other power centers? And, even if he can, can he somehow get the American people to accept this new reality? Immanuel Wallerstein
The ground breaking "Bretton Woods II" meeting in Washington last weekend was strangely absent from American media. Why?
It may be because the end of American world hegemony it foretells is simply too depressing for Americans to read and hear about. Immanuel Wallerstein, who is otherwise quite hopeful in regards to Obama, asks the $64 question upon which much of the success or failure of his presidency depends:
Can Obama accept the fact that the United States is no longer the world's leader, merely a partner with other power centers? And, even if he can, can he somehow get the American people to accept this new reality?That is the central question: can he himself accept it and if so can he get Americans to accept that "American Exceptionalism", of which he is considered by many to be "exhibit A", is finished?
Probably not. As different as he and Bush and Clinton and Reagan are, they are all presidents of the USA and form follows function. Only Jimmy Carter, timidly and briefly, tried to awaken Americans to reality and he is still reviled for doing so.
However, if with his intelligence and eloquence, Barack Obama can somehow midwife this end of the "dream" and the liberation that the reality of its ending represents, then and only then, will he have the chance to become one of America's greatest presidents. DS