Saturday, October 18, 2008

What does a "host" do?

Sandy Levinson

The Times has just posted a story entitled "Bush to Host Economic Summit." It begins as follows:

Saying that “it is essential that we preserve the foundations of democratic capitalism,” President Bush announced on Saturday that he has agreed to host a summit of world leaders soon to discuss the global response to the financial crisis.

“I look forward to hosting this meeting in the near future,” Mr. Bush said at Camp David, where he was meeting on Saturday with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and the European Commission president, José Manual Barroso, who have been pressing for a high-level meeting of this kind before the end of the year.

I confess that I'm intrigued by the term "near future" and the end of the second paragraph about the desirability of a meeting "before the end of the year." It certainly appears that there will no such meeting prior to November 5. And, concomitantly, it appears that the Europeans want a meeting before January 20. So what exactly will constitute George W. Bush's "hosting" duties? Will he serve the visitors drinks and introduce them to his sucessor, noting that he (Bush) has become a truly dead duck and should basically be ignored? Or will he purport to negotiate and to "represent" the interests of the US, even if (or perhaps especially if) his successor has decidedly different notions of what those interests are? Will Sarkozy and Brown (and others in attendance) constantly be looking over Bush's shoulder in order to move away and talk with Obama or McCain? Or will they feel a duty to pretend to take Bush seriously? Our natural experiment in understanding the consequences of our defective Constitution during a atime of crisis continues!


What reason do we have to think they would "negotiate" anything? Sounds more like a typical Group of However-Many meeting. They "discuss" the crisis and then slap together some sort of a joint statement.

None of this is to deny that our Constitution is defective. It is only to suggest that the possibility of a post-election meeting of heads of government does not motivate the argument on behalf of the defectiveness view very well.

I saw this story on MSNBC and I knew you'd have a post on it. I think you're missing the point of what's going on here. The Europeans have been pushing for this exactly because they know that our constitution enforces this interregnum. The 2 and half months between the end of an outgoing President's term and the inauguration of the next President is when the U.S. has the least amount of influence in international affairs. What better time for the Europeans to remake the international economic rules to their liking? Especially when the most likely situation they'll face next year is a President Obama with a big electoral mandate and all the foreign affairs powers that Dick Cheney has assiduously amassed over the last eight years.

Letting Bush host puts pressure on him to acquiesce to pretty much anything the Europeans want because Bush no longer has anything to worry about but his legacy. He's got to have dreams of putting together something on the order of Bretton Woods, but like everything else he's done, it will all turn to ash.

That all depends upon whether this is a photo op to reassure markets or the parties will enact substantive joint measures.

In the case of the former, foreign leaders will want to meet and establish relations with the President elect (or more likely his financial advisors) while they have the early opportunity. If the President elect is the completely wet behind the ears Obama, Brown and Sarkozy will be attempting (probably successfully) to convince him to adopt their preferred policies as Bush has done every step of the way this fall.

In the case of the latter, Bush will again be infuriating Sandy (fresh from seeing the latest Oliver Stone propaganda farce "W") by running the country and influencing the world as President. The meet and greet with the president elect will be secondary to the immediate task at hand.

I'm guessing he'll show home movies from the CIA interrogations.

Have you ever heard of such thing as the North American Union?.. And a currency known as the Amero?.. well if you people have not heard of it, you should all look into it.Because it could be right around the corner.

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PS: North American Union, would be similar to the European union, it would connect Mexico,U.S,and Canada with a truly open borders policy. with one Massive highway.
Dont believe? look for the information it's everywhere.

It's too bad Gordon Brown couldn't make it to the summit to give W the opportunity to say "Heck of a job, Brownie." (Been there, done that?)

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