Yesterday the UK was a generous host. We gave the President a great platform, and the pictures he wanted for back home. The President as a good guest gave the UK government the words of friendship they wanted. I have no wish to analyse the speech, as it was one of those occasions which did what both sides wanted.
Today as the leaders of the G8 meet in France they need to get down to discussing the areas of trouble and doubt. These include:
1. How much further can they go in bombing Libya, given the clear purpose of the intervention agreed by the UN is to limit attacks on civilians, not regime change? Shouldn’t they be reducing their military intervention?
2. How will they move from war to negotiation in Afghanistan, to try to create a more settled country as the troops leave?
3. How will the US improve its relationship with Pakistan?
4. What advice will they give the Eurozone about sorting out its problems before they threaten wider damage to the economy and banking systems of the west? Will anyone there point out that the bail outs are not working, and that new policy developments are needed if Euroland wants a single currency to work?
5. What actions are appropriate to head off further sovereign debt crises? When we faced a bank debt crisis the Heads of government were full of ideas,ever ready to blame malefactors, but now we face recurring sovereign debt crises they seem strangely silent. How do they intend to get western government levels of borrowing and debt under control so they do not destabilise economies and banking systems?
The summit is also scheduled to discuss internet regulation, counter terrorism, green growth, relations with Africa and development matters. They won’t be short of things to say.