Washington, DC – Our head of state is now in Cannes, France, at the G-20 summit, gallivanting with elites from the planet’s most powerful economies. For the first time since his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama isn’t the center of attention. The stars of this week’s party on the French Riviera are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy – architects of a “bailout plan” to save the European Union’s artificial euro currency and keep the PIIGs (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) from going bankrupt. It’s all a sideshow, designed to convince us that governments can continue to binge on social programs without consequences.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou – not an official participant in the summit – has been handed the role of “skunk at the picnic.” Last Friday, Merkel and Sarkozy handed Athens a plan that required banks holding Greek government bonds to accept 50 percent losses while “new lenders” provide Greece with another $140 billion in loans - on top of the $153 billion they were given last year. Instead of inking the deal, Papandreou had the temerity to call for a public vote on the measure. Stock markets around the globe promptly plunged. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted nearly 300 points.
Not to worry. The “summiteers” have convinced Papandreou to re-think his crazy idea of allowing the people of the world’s first democracy to vote on the plan. And before the rest of the “world leaders” pose for their group photo on Saturday, they will create another faux “stay of execution” to sustain the fiction that elites at the International Monetary Fund and “cooperative measures” taken by the international community are capable of averting a global economic meltdown. The real goal, of course, is much simpler: to postpone the looming fiscal catastrophe until after Sarkozy, Obama and Merkel stand for election. Obama, exercising his now familiar “leadership style” and apparently convinced this is all above the ken of mere Americans, said through his White House mouthpiece, “It is a European problem that has to be addressed.”
That approach may even work for the next 20 months or so unless real world events intervene – the kind of things not even on the agenda in Cannes. Here are just three of the issues that won’t be addressed by those sipping French wine and munching on canapés during their revelry on the Riviera:
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.