Dilemmas in Renewing US Multilateralism

July 8, 2009

As US President Barack Obama attends his first G8 summit, questions linger on his ability to renew American  multilateralism. While the new president has certainly developed enormous goodwill among other major countries, critical tests of his interest in utilizing multilateral institutions to address economic and security issues remain on the horizon.

In this video, Andrew F. Cooper interviews Keith Porter – Director of Policy and Outreach at the Stanley Foundation – on the anticipated renewal of US multilateral activities and what types of policies it can take to make the world more secure.  The G8 and G20 Summits, in his view, provide a stage for sorting out many of these types of questions as the informal agenda of this “rolling meeting” of important world leaders opens up avenues for targetted multilateralism.

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Up Up and Away: Hu Leaves G8 Before it Begins

July 8, 2009

Hu

Gregory Chin
Senior Fellow, CIGI

Some air has just been let out of the G8 balloon. Chinese President Hu Jintao has left the G8 Summit in L’Aquila Italy, to return home to deal with domestic unrest in China’s far western autonomous region, Xinjiang – leaving him unable to attend the Day Two meetings between the G8 and the “G5” emerging economies. Hu has left behind Dai Bingguo, State Councilor to represent China’s top leader.

Dai Bingguo is no slouch inside the Party command. In addition to being the government executive that is most responsible for overseeing the country’s foreign affairs, Dai is the director of the office of the Party’s powerful Leading Small Group for Foreign Affairs, and the office of the Party’s Leading Group on National Security. He is a key official in the new Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the US and China, and a point person on China’s relations with Africa and the Arab world. Dai Bingguo is clearly a safe pair of hands both inside the Party and government hierarchy. Read the rest of this entry »


G8 L’Aquila: Deflecting a post-G8 Moment?

July 7, 2009

Growing antipathy in the G8 process, largely as a result of the successful operation of two G20 summits, has constrained the Italian hosts of the 2009 session to be held in L’Aquila this week. Various formations of multilateral meetings seem to be crowding out the traditional central decision-shaping role of the G8 club.

In this video, Gregory Chin interviews Dr. Paola Subacchi – Research Director, International Economics, Chatham House – to discuss the momentum of the G20 process, how the Italian presidency has managed this competition, and the possibility of a G2 condominium of power between the United States and China.

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Commentary on G8 Agenda and Variable Geometry

July 7, 2009

In the week prior to the G8 L’Aquila summit, contributors to this blog participated in a set of academic conferences that mapped out the challenges the body faces, functionally and structurally. Two new web commentaries on the discussion of these conferences are available on the CIGI website – below are some short abstracts:

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Political Capital for the IFIs

July 7, 2009

Discounted by many observers only a year ago, the International Financial Instiutions (IFIs) have been bolstered by support of the G20 process. The IMF and World Bank recieved considerable political capital and resources particularly coming out of the London Summit in April 2009. 

In this video, Andrew F. Cooper interviews Dr. Domenico Lombardi, president of OXONIA (Oxford Institute for Economic Policy) and a non-resident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution, on the state of the global financial system. 

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Keeping up the G20’s Momentum

July 6, 2009

Paola Subacchi
Research Director, International Economics, Chatham House

Unlike the London Summit of the G20 leaders at the beginning of April the G8 summit to be held this week in L’Aquila Italy has so far attracted little attention. Certainly a less dramatic – although still not positive – economic outlook has curbed the sense of urgency that dominated weeks before the G20 meeting. There is also the widespread sentiment that the G8 has been demoted and the G20 is now the forum at which to discuss global issues. This backdrop, together with the fact that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is entangled in personal issues, make many commentators see the L’Aquila Summit as a non-event.

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China’s Currency Challenge

July 5, 2009

Gregory Chin
Senior Fellow, CIGI

Statements from the Chinese representatives that it would be “normal” for currency issues to be discussed at the G8 Summit has set off a reaction from the established members of the Club. Japanese representatives have retorted that the currency issue is a side issue that can be discussed at ‘side meetings’ of the emerging economies, holding tight to the view that ‘only one currency is needed’ – blocking the issue from the agenda.

Regardless of whether or not the currency issue is ultimately put on the agenda at L’Aquila, the reality is that the currency challenge has become a systemic issue that is demanding the attention of the truly global powers. The “G7”, like it or not, will be meeting this year, in an atmosphere of global uncertainty, as leaders from Russia, Brazil, China, and other countries, have expressed concerns about the value and stability of the U.S. dollar, and the world economy’s dependence on the dollar as the reserve currency. What makes the currency question an issue of systemic relevancy is that Chinese authorities have undertaken a series of measures that indicate that Beijing is interested in gradually expanding the role of the Chinese renminbi (RMB) as an international currency.

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