During his joint press conference with PM Brown, President Obama denied there is a rift between America and the world and urged leaders of the G20 countries to act in unison to find a way out of the global economic crisis. President Obama called reports of an international division “vastly overstated.”
“Nearly every country engaged here has done a fiscal stimulus. We can only meet this challenge together.” Obama said. Rather than play up their differences, Mr. Obama urged leaders to “focus on common ground.”
President Obama is under pressure to show that the US — which much of the world blames for igniting the economic crisis — can lead the way out. “I came here to put forward ideas but I also came here to listen, not to lecture,” President Obama said. “Having said that, we must not miss an opportunity to lead, to confront a crisis that knows no borders.”
Prime Minister Brown promised reporters that French President Nicholas Sarkozy would not walk out of the Group of 20 meeting on Thursday. President Sarkozy was quoted by officials in his government as saying he would walk away from the summit if it failed to meet his demands for measures to confront the crisis. His attitude reflected what he depicted as major objections by both France and Germany.
“I will not be associated with a summit that concludes by making false promises,” President Sarkozy told Europe 1 radio earlier today before leaving for London. “As things stand, the drafts that are on the table do not satisfy either France or Germany.”
President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel of Germany is expected to hold a rare joint press conference later today where they may present a united front against the American model of more stimulus spending.
German Chancellor Merkel is feeling historical emotional pressure and is afraid to offer a stimulus in her country that may cause inflation. During the early 1920s Germany was in the middle of a “hyperinflation” and many of its citizen’s life savings were wiped out. Adding insult to injury, in late 1929 the German economy fell victim to worldwide financial depression and industrial production, employment and sales fell and support for Adolf Hitler grew. As the financial crisis in Germany escalated so did Hitler’s popularity and he became Chancellor in 1933 and the rest is history. Chancellor Merkel who is up for re-election is afraid to side with Obama and Brown because German citizens believe that a stimulus will lead to inflation and Merkel is afraid that German citizens will have a flash back to Hitler and not re-elect her.