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Obama and Medvedev, IMF Reform, and the G-20 Summit

April 2, 2009


Age (Australia)

  • G-20: Scott Burchill of Deakin University says political leaders at the G-20 summit will never have a better opportunity, and a freer hand, to restructure the world's financial architecture. If they squander this chance now, which seems likely, we may all pay a heavy price for their neglect, he adds.

Boston Globe

  • Mexican Guns: In an editorial, the Globe says the Obama administration, in its efforts to combat the drug war in Mexico, should step up efforts on the supply side--tracing illegal guns back to the United States, and work harder on the demand side--better addiction treatment and education.

Business Day (South Africa)

  • IMF Reform: In an editorial on the G-20 summit, the paper says the International Monetary Fund should be re-engineered and a new global reserve currency introduced to replace the U.S. dollar.

Christian Science Monitor

  • Obama and Trade: In an editorial, the paper wonders if President Obama is sincere about free trade. It says he should push to renew negotiations aimed at completing a new international trade pact--the so-called Doha round--which at least would keep up pressure for free trade.

Daily Star (Lebanon)

  • Economic Regulation: In an editorial, the paper says that for the G-20 leaders, the question of regulating the international economy is more important than an international stimulus. If the G-20 nations decide to establish a set-up for proposing and implementing policies, then a truly powerful instrument will have been created, it judges.

Daily Telegraph

  • Obama's Meetings: In an editorial, the paper says that President Obama's meetings with the Russian and Chinese leaders while he is in London for the G-20 summit could have far-reaching consequences. What these meetings demonstrate is the power of the global market, not its weakness, it concludes.

Financial Times

  • Iraq Handover: In an editorial on the British handover of command to the United States in Basra, the paper says the British army has emerged remarkably well from a damaging and discredited enterprise, which was the result more of misjudgment by its political masters than military misadventure.
  • End Subsidies: Bob Geldof, an advocate for Africa, calls on the G-20 to end what he calls the pernicious regime of agricultural subsidies and implement a fast track, stand-alone trade deal for the poorest countries, most of which are in Africa.

Globe and Mail

  • Afghan Law: In an editorial, the paper describes as odious a piece of legislation in Afghanistan that it says would legalize rape within marriage. It says there is a real danger this will convince Western governments and their publics that the war against the Taliban is not one worth fighting.
  • G-20: On the G-20 summit, the paper says little is likely to be achieved in the way of international regulation of banks and bank-like entities; the United States in particular will not surrender any economic sovereignty, despite the spectacular failings revealed on Wall Street.


  • Ban Ki-moon: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon writes he fears trouble ahead. He sees a full-blown political crisis defined by growing social unrest, weakened governments, and angry publics who have lost all faith in their leaders and their own future.
  • Economic Crisis: Columnist Seumas Milne writes that the economic crisis is the product of chronically low U.S. savings and unsustainable levels of consumption - including the massive military expenditure that has underpinned U.S. wars and global overstretch in the years since the end of the Cold War.

Hindustan Times (India)

  • Indo-Pak: Historian Ramachandra Guha says both India and Pakistan need to make sure that mutual animosities do not deepen further. He says India should not gloat over Pakistan's plight, and Pakistan should recognize the direct link between the jihad in Kashmir and the rise of fundamentalism in Pakistan.

Independent (UK)

  • U.S. and China: Columnist Hamish McRae writes that keeping global growth moving for the next decade depends first and foremost on the relationship between the United States and China.
  • France and Germany: In an editorial, the paper comments on the Franco-German intervention in the economic debate on Wednesday, and says the United States and Britain seemed suddenly a little smaller, China a little bigger, and continental Europe a force to be reckoned with.  

Jordan Times

  • Israel's Government: The Jordan Times is deeply unimpressed by the make-up of the new Israeli government. It is composed of outspoken bigots, in the foreign ministry no less, and of security obsessed little-picture men in the defense ministry, it says.

New York Times

  • Europe and Economic Crisis: Op-ed Columnist Nicholas Kristof doubts Europe's seriousness in tackling the global economic crisis, and says the greatest price for incompetence at the G-20 summit will be borne by the poorest people in the world.
  • NATO's Future: Op-ed Columnist Roger Cohen asks what a post-Cold War NATO is for. He foresees a time when NATO evolves into an alliance of democracies in which the likes of Japan, India, and Australia would logically take their place.

News (Pakistan)

  • Pakistan Politics: In an editorial, the paper calls on Pakistan, in the context of the G-20 summit, to put its political house in order, as it goes, begging bowl in hand, to what it calls the Friends of Pakistan. In hard times even good friends have to make hard choices, it says.

Sydney Morning Herald

  • Free Trade: In an editorial, the paper expresses concern about the future of free trade. Instead of flaying the corpse of financial market fundamentalism, the G-20 would show its usefulness by bringing the rich countries into a partnership with its developing world members to return growth to global trade, it believes.

Times of India

  • IMF: In an editorial, the paper calls for a restructuring of the IMF's governance structure, which it describes a post-war relic rather than a mirror to 21st century realities.

Wall Street Journal

  • Defending Capitalism: Columnist Daniel Henninger writes capitalism didn't tank the U.S. economy. He argues: overbuilt housing did; if little else, we've learned that artificially cheap housing sets loose limitless moral hazard.
  • Guantanamo Case: In an editorial, the paper notes the opening of a criminal case by a Spanish judge against six former Bush administration officials over a complaint that they helped establish the legal framework for the detention facilities at Guantanamo. This case would be absurd were the consequences less pernicious, it says.

Washington Post

  • Russian Fantasy: In an editorial, the paper says of President Obama's meeting on Wednesday with President Medvedev that as long as the Kremlin's policies of autocracy or neo-imperialism persist, the regime's fantasy of a global partnership with the United States will remain just that.
  • No G-2: Dennis Wilder of the Brookings Institution writes that at the G-20 summit President Obama must reaffirm to the world that Washington has no intention of forming or even moving toward an exclusive "G-2" relationship with China.