The continued push for an interdependent world

Guardian
23.09.2009
By Ewen MacAskill, Luke Harding, Matthew Weaver

Obama to usher in new age of co-operation with UN

US cannot wall itself off, or solve world’s problems alone, president will tell assembly

Barack Obama will today seek to establish a new era for US relations with the United Nations in a speech to the general assembly, when he will warn that America cannot act alone in tackling the world’s problems.

After eight years of the Bush administration, Obama has already embraced many of the policies that his predecessor rejected, ranging from signing up for the UN millennium goals on poverty to paying millions owed by the US to the world organisation.

When he delivers the opening address of the 192-member general assembly at 9am New York time (2pm UK) today, Obama is almost certain to receive a warm welcome for a speech in which he will stress the value of multilateralism, in contrast with the unilateral approach often taken by Bush.

But the president will challenge world leaders to play their part in tackling global problems, according to an excerpt of the speech released by the White House.

“Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone,” he will say.

In the speech, Obama’s first to the UN, the president will demand something in return for America’s new international approach.

“We have sought in word and deed a new era of engagement with the world,” Obama will say, echoing the co-operative theme he promised as a candidate, and has since used as a pillar of his foreign policy. “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility.”

And he will list issues the world has collectively failed to tackle. “Extremists sowing terror in pockets of the world. Protracted conflicts that grind on and on. Genocide and mass atrocities. More and more nations with nuclear weapons. Melting ice caps and ravaged populations. Persistent poverty and pandemic disease.”

The president will add: “I say this not to sow fear, but to state a fact: the magnitude of our challenges has yet to be met by the measure of our action.”

Obama previewed his message to world leaders in a speech last night to the Clinton Global Initiative. “Just as no nation can wall itself off from the world, no one nation, no matter how large, no matter how powerful, can meet these challenges alone,” he said.

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Reuters
21.09.2009
By Alister Bull

U.S. to push for new economic world order at G20

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will urge world leaders this week to launch a new push in November to rebalance the world economy, but there are doubts national governments will bow to external advice.

A document outlining the U.S. position ahead of the September 24-25 Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh said exporters, which include China, Germany and Japan, should consume more, while debtors like the United States ought to boost savings.

“The world will face anemic growth if adjustments in one part of the global economy are not matched by offsetting adjustments in other parts,” said the document, which was obtained by Reuters on Monday.

The framework drafted by U.S. policy makers foresaw analysis of G20 members’ economic policies by the International Monetary Fund to figure out if they were consistent with better balanced growth.

“We call on our finance ministers to launch the new framework by November,” the document said, signaling a determined effort to maintain momentum for change created by last year’s global financial crisis.

The United States envisages the IMF playing a central role in a process of “mutual assessment” by making policy recommendations to the G20 every six months.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the G20 countries are due to meet November 7-8 in Scotland.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said persuading Europe, the United States and China to accept IMF advice on economic policy may be difficult. In the past, many countries have ignored suggestions the IMF dished out in regular reviews.

“The most difficult question is still open: Europe, America, China, are they ready to modify their macroeconomic policies in the future — by following the advice of the IMF and under pressure from their peers, for the common good, and world economic stability?” he said in the piece on Monday.

G7 sources told Reuters there was a renewed determination to cooperate because the crisis had driven home the interconnected nature of the global system. That said, governments would not allow themselves to be told what to do.

A top European Union official said that the euro zone, where 16 countries share a common currency, had to act as a collective.

“It is difficult to think about one country without taking into consideration what is the impact in the euro area,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters in New York.

Taxpayer money to the tune of $5 trillion has been pumped into the world economy to keep it from seizing up since the beginning of the crisis last September.

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