Obama and Cameron at G20 summit: At least the US-UK World Cup duel is over
When Obama and Britain's Cameron meet Saturday at the G20 summit, at least they won't have a World Cup matchup between their countries to tussle over. The need for more stimulus to propel the global economic recovery? That's another matter.
Britain’s new prime minister, David Cameron, reports friskily that he might have to wrestle German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the ground when the two leaders take time out from the weekend G20 summit in Canada to watch Sunday’s World Cup pairing of the two European soccer giants.Skip to next paragraph
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So it comes as no small relief that England and the United States have already had their World Cup matchup – with the two teams tying, 1-1, on June 12. After all, Mr. Cameron is to have his debut meeting as prime minister with President Obama Saturday, and a wrestling match might not be the best way to start off the latest iteration of the “special relationship.”
The truth is that, while the two leaders are in some ways predisposed to seeing eye to eye – both are young leaders, though Cameron is the younger at 46, and both are cool pragmatists – they also have more serious differences to address than a sports rivalry.
To name a few: stimulus spending or budget cutting to address the sputtering global recovery; military budgets, Afghanistan, and national capacities in the NATO Alliance; and the BP (formerly British Petroleum) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In the runup to this weekend’s G8 and G20 summits, Mr. Obama sent a letter to the G20 leaders warning that now, with the threat of a double-dip recession looming, was no time to be cutting spending but rather to be considering additional stimulus, especially to consumer spending. Perhaps Cameron was too busy to read the memo, because he was in the thick of announcing Britain’s most draconian spending cuts, and some hefty tax increases, in decades.
The prime minister told BBC television earlier this week that “there is no difference on [the need to foster economic growth] between us and the Americans.” But that may have been a sly way of sidestepping differences over the “how” of favoring growth.
“We must be flexible in adjusting the pace of consolidation and learn from the consequential mistakes of the past when stimulus was too quickly withdrawn and resulted in renewed economic hardships and recession,” Obama said (perhaps a wee bit pedantically) in his letter to G20 leaders.