Corridors of Power: A Shrinking Summit, Stolen Humvees and More

Corridors of Power: A Shrinking Summit, Stolen Humvees and More

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SUMMIT -- The Bush administration's announcement of an emergency financial summit on Nov. 15 in Washington ruffled some international feathers, notably in Spain and France, but in other countries as well. The meeting of global leaders to address the current crisis and bring a measure of control to the unruly financial world was originally proposed last week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He pushed for the United Nations as the venue, and encouraged the widest possible participation.

That's not what the White House announced Wednesday. To the more or less private annoyance of the French, the White House wants the summit to be held in Washington out of reach of the United Nations, and over the objections of Spain and some other countries, to have fewer participants. The summit is limited to members of the G8, that is, the seven Western industrial nations plus Russia, along with some 12 other emerging industrial nations, including China, India, and Brazil. Spain, which claims to be the world's eighth largest world economy, has strongly protested being left out.

The White House says the summit would be harder to arrange outside of Washington in the short time available, but that's hard to believe when the United Nations has both the facilities and the organization. In New York, President Bush would have to share the spotlight with both Sarkozy, as current president of the European Union, and U.N. Secretary General Ban KI-moon. In Washington, the Bush administration can exercise more control.

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