On the third weekend in May, President Obama brought together eight of the wealthiest industrial nations in the world to develop a consistent plan to revive the global economy, and wind down the war in Afghanistan. The eight nations that include the G8 are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United States.

There are economic problems in Europe with no easy answers, and President Obama is concerned that the American economy can be impacted if there is not a definitive plan. Many of the countries are split on whether they should implement austerity measures and cut jobs and control spending, or develop stimulus plans and focus on growing their economy.

“We need to take action for growth while staying the course in terms of putting our public finances in order. Stability and growth go together, they are two sides of the same coin,” said European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

Many European countries are trying to recover from the global recession, and the G8 needs to discuss “a responsible approach to fiscal consolidation that is coupled with a strong growth agenda,” said President Obama. President Obama favors Europeans adopting a stimulus package similar to the one he implemented in the U.S. in 2009. He also wants to keep the eurozone intact, even though Greece is basically bankrupted and is defaulting on its global bills.

The new French president Francois Hollande agrees with President Obama, but the German chancellor Angela Merkel wants no part of a stimulus plan. Before the summit took place the German chancellor said, “There can be no growth through borrowing. That would just take us back to the start of the crisis.”

After the leaders sat down at the summit and discussed the options, they put out a position statement that put jobs and growth of their economies as their top priority.  It would appear that all the countries agree on the plan, but the future will decide what the best course of action to take is.

At this time, President Obama has won the chess match, but the world is watching, because everything is extremely unpredictable with the European economy. Our president is talking a good game, but he has very little leverage because the U.S. has opted against helping to bail out Europe.

Nevertheless, the eight leaders declared in the opening paragraph of their communication statement that, “Our imperative is to promote growth and jobs. The global economic recovery shows signs of promise, but significant headwinds persist. Against this background, we commit to take all necessary steps to strengthen and reinvigorate our economies and combat financial stresses, recognizing that the right measures are not the same for each of us.”

After the President completes the Camp David Conference, he will go to Chicago to participate in the NATO summit.  NATO will announce that it has met its target of raising $4 billion a year to fund a 228,000-strong Afghan army for 10 years. There will be no detailed timetable of the phased withdrawal of U.S. and other international troops. But American troops are coming home, and hopefully we can put behind us, a senseless war that cost us trillions of dollars.

This was an extremely productive weekend for the president, in terms of building global agreement with the powerful countries around the world. President Obama is taking the lead around the world, and the other countries are following.

Our president believes that a growth plan for the European economy will help their economies recover. There is a consensus with the G8, and now it is important to work together to make the plan work.  

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