Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Global problems need global solutions

Global problems need global solutions
by Susenjit Guha

Global solutions for global economic problems would also mean putting up firewalls against global financial institutions whose on-the-loose laissez-faire has proved to be grossly unfair.

Gordon Brown’s US visit may have been overshadowed by the Pope in the nation of prayers, but his attempts to mend and forge with Europe with some talk of a slip road from his host’s unilateral freeway despite sharing a ‘special relationship’ cannot be overlooked.

So what if the British media had dug up Carla Bruni’s dare-to-bare modeling past and when Sarkozy paid a visit? Obviously, Sarkozy’s needling of the sleeping, now infirm leviathan Great Britain, may have worked.

And not only did Brown shift gears on the infamous Blair doctrine---it had boiled down to pre-emptive action and the right of early intervention against rogue states and potential enemies---but he was also emphatic about his hope for a more consensual style of US leadership from either of the 3 White House hopefuls.

Gordon Brown weighed in with the need for global political and financial institutions to find global solutions for global problems

That would indeed be a change if it actually comes about. And where else Brown could have expressed his hope other than the John F Kennedy memorial library in front of Kennedy family members who are solidly behind Barack Obama whose call for ‘change’ set the campaign pitch?

That would also mean breathing life back into a near defunct UN and giving G8'greater’ voice than a unilateral US. Hadn’t the US helped set up those very global institutions after WWII which were later ignored by the Bush administration? Pre-emption was restricted to military invasions to snuff out imaginary WMD’s but not to predict and avert financial meltdowns.

Again, global solutions for global economic problems would also mean putting up firewalls against global financial institutions whose on-the-loose laissez-faire has proved to be grossly unfair. Brown advocated more political and inter-nation co-operations, so far resisted by the bankers who had US support for their free run. Brown wanted more US involvement for tackling climate changes.

Brown himself had undertaken the US trip without a clue about how to arrest the British economic slide down and avert a US-style housing crash.

But can the UK--- seen by Europeans as a conduit to the US---get to bear on future US administrations about the indispensability of a consensus? If required, will they hold their ground with major EU nations in case presidents across the Atlantic go ballistic?

Traditional US allies like Australia also smooth talked themselves out of total dependence on US security alliances in the last couple of months.

Brown also chipped in with US’ leadership indispensability during his meetings with the hopefuls and president Boosh---that was how he referred to Bush in his Highlander accent--- whose term ends in just 9 months.

And his speeches carried the word ‘global’ 69 times which made the Guardian wonder if its repetitive use would in itself shape a new order.

Tony Blair did an about turn in the US after hyping up EU hopes of an active UK involvement during the St.Malo summit in the late nineties. Getting the US to change its foreign policy and separating a traditional dependence was not easy as he found out. Even the quintessentially English Winston Churchill felt he too could have been an American to warm up to the US when the Germans just had to cross the channel from Dunkirk in the early years of WWII.

Perhaps Brown tried to achieve some of it by lobbying for emerging countries like China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa to get them on board. New voices are bound to be louder during debates on global solutions and help bolster the case for multi-lateral efforts.

But a lot depends on the next US president. A lot also depends how Great Britain, Brown or without Brown, can walk the talk and not be seen by the EU as only doing US’ bidding to solve global problems with only US' solutions.

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