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Not Pointing Any Fingers (Ah-Mer-Ric-Ka) But Someone's Been Making This Harder Than It Needs To Be

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Whatever illusion it was that suggested the presence of a common global agreement (or even a semi-regional agreement) on the best way to approach the present crisis faded quickly after the first mutual caresses of the appendages of state resulted in multiple charges of sexual harassment. Doubtless, Gordon Brown, who is facing his own political crisis on top of the economic weight already crushing his skull day in and day out, hoped matters would glide smoothly over the many financial surfaces covered with new found Anglo-American lubricant. Not so fast. That stuff dries out fast.

A rift between Europe and America over the crux of the G20 summit was last night threatening Gordon Brown's hopes for a deal to rescue the world economy.
The size of the challenge facing the British Government in bringing together world powers was emphasised in a candid admission by Britain's most senior civil servant that it was proving "unbelievably difficult" to liaise with the Obama Administration to prepare for the meeting.

Sheesh, what's the problem? Is Larry Summers too busy preparing his keynote for Wellesley ("The Inadequacy and Irrelevancy of Female Scholarship in the Modern age: A Question of Intelligence?") to pick up the phone or return a text?

A simmering row about the whole point of the G20 meeting on April 2 burst into the open when Larry Summers, chief economic adviser to President Obama, called on other countries to follow America's lead in pumping even more money into stimulus plans to revive the world economic system.

A certain amount of complexity, and a measure of delay while group dynamics form was to be expected, so is the Times just stirring up silt as a bit of payback for some perceived slight inflicted on Gordon Brown's last state visit? They seem to be biting down pretty hard if so:

Sir Gus O'Donnell said that No 10 was finding it "unbelievably difficult" to prepare with the US. The Cabinet Secretary was speaking about the advantages of a permanent civil service and the difficulties of dealing with a Government with hundreds of appointees. "There is nobody there," Sir Gus said. "You cannot believe how difficult it is."

You know, if you drift back to some of Brown's comments during his last state visit, he was laying it on awfully thick. Are we just joining the tin-foil hat crowd, or was this sort of thing already starting to look like an issue? Consider:

Alliances can wither or be destroyed, but partnerships of purpose are indestructible. Friendships can be shaken, but our friendship is unshakeable. Treaties can be broken but our partnership is unbreakable.
And I know there is no power on earth than can drive us apart.

Well, clearly he hadn't spent much time with Summers yet when the speech was drafted.
'Difficult' Americans hamper G20 efforts to secure a global deal [Times Online]
Gordon Brown's speech to US Congress [The Guardian]


Larry Summers Supposedly Too Rough Around The Edges To Be Named Fed Chairman

Who should replace Ben S. Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve when his term ends in January 2014? If anyone cared to ask us, we'd say no one: we like our Fed Chairman soft-spoken, bearded, and just as comfortable in dad jeans as they are in their bespoke Jos. A. Bank suits. But nobody asked and, according to Andrew Ross Sorkin, Bernanke has told "close friends" that regardless of whether or not Obama wins a second term, he's ready to move on. Apparently qualified successors are few and far between and while Larry Summers is said to be "at the top of the list," the fact that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner may finally be granted freedom from his own personal Guantanamo Bay and will also necessitate a replacement who will have to work closely with the new Fed Chair poses some staffing issues, on account of the perception that Summers is somewhat difficult to work with. ...[Summers is] a serious economist who knows his numbers and has a worldview that is similar to the president’s. He would be expected to continue the loose money policy of Mr. Bernanke. But one of the knocks against Mr. Summers is that he has a reputation for not playing well with others. He has had his own run-ins with the president. And if you consider the Treasury secretary and Federal Reserve chairman as a tag team, you would have to be confident that whomever you pick for Treasury secretary would get along well with Mr. Summers. So he called some former students assholes. So he'll cut a bitch for getting between him and his steady stream of Diet Coke. So he chooses to sleep through co-workers' particularly boring presentations. So he makes female colleagues feel like "pieces of meat." So he shoots people unequivocal death stares that say, "I could have you killed and no one would find out" for the mere suggestion he might want to consider wearing socks. Is all that to say he's not an otherwise affable guy who'd make a fine workmate and prized addition to an office softball team? Casting Dual Roles At Treasury And The Fed [Dealbook]