CHAPTER 14 G-20 Summit, Cannes 2011; APEC, Honolulu 2011: Without Gusto!1

When President Nicolas Sarkozy of France assumed the presidency of G-20 for 2011, I was delighted for, alas, international monetary reform would take center stage. That’s what he promised. I felt it’s high time leadership was put to bear on an issue of critical international concern, where the Americans had for years “feared to tread”—for obvious reasons: to protect US national interest to preserve (as long as feasible) an archaic international monetary system with the US$ as its centerpiece and which has outlasted its usefulness.

But this was not to be. Political turmoil in Greece had added fuel to the European financial chaos, with the G-20 meeting scrambling to arrange (and rearrange) emergency measures aimed at preventing the eurozone sovereign debt crisis from contaminating the rest of Europe and the global economy. As they gathered in Cannes on November 3–4, leaders from G-20 faced high expectations to confront the festering European turmoil. Instead, the two-day summit in this Mediterranean resort largely resulted in more pressure on Europe to respond more forcefully before the crisis deepened. The United States, China, and others were worried that Europeans might fail to avert a collapse of the Greek economy, bringing with it sovereign default and corporate bankruptcies that would inevitably send shock-waves through the global financial system. Priority was placed to quickly resolve the evolving ...

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